Gossage Owes Us an Apology

On invectives, Chick-fil-A, and politics
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Posted August 29, 2012 by RAMSEY SPRAGUE in News
Second

Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, offered some rather disparaging words for the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer community during Mike Huckabee’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” earlier this month. To his almost 14,000 Facebook friends and subscribers — hardly a “strictly personal” account — he wrote:

“I don’t eat chicken … because I’m allergic to it. But I’m going to Chick-fil-A today to show my support for the company. The attack from the left [on Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy] for having an opinion is totally inappropriate. It’s funny how libs think their ideas, no matter how disgusting and untraditional, should be heard, but others don’t have the same freedom. I think [most] Americans disagree. So I’m showing my support today and encourage you to do the same.”

Then he added, “I just remember liberals howling when conservatives chose not to support the Dixie Chicks. Many libs only want to be able to exercise their rights while hurling invectives at others when they exercise theirs.”

I guess to Mr. Gossage “disgusting” isn’t invective.

The Texas Motor Speedway receives massive subsidies from the taxpayers of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, stemming from a sweetheart deal that allows the track to pay nothing in property taxes for 30 years, a savings of an estimated $100 million. Add the $11 million in taxpayer money the city paid, the additional $5 million that the rest of Tarrant County’s taxpayers threw in, the tax money reinvested through its tax-increment finance district, and there’s a compelling public interest in what goes on there.

Cathy commented recently that he is “guilty as charged” when asked about his “defense” of “traditional marriage” — perfectly legal remarks to make. But the so-called “attack from the left” didn’t come about just because of those remarks. Chick-fil-A has a long, documented history of using its corporate money to campaign against basic constitutional protections for LGBTQ people in many more arenas than just “marriage equality.”

Does Eddie Gossage believe it’s “disgusting” that LGBTQ people be able to have custody of their own children? What about LGBTQ students being allowed to address the bullying and teen suicide epidemic by forming student groups? He should explain what’s wrong with a lesbian woman being permitted to visit her life partner of many years who is dying in the hospital. Should LGBTQ people be afforded housing protection at all? What about job protection? Does Mr. Gossage believe his LGBTQ employees should be fined or jailed for making love to their partners?

These are examples of all-too-common challenges facing LGBTQ people and situations in which Chick-fil-A’s “charitable” arm would have queer people powerless to defend themselves.

Chick-fil-A posted a statement on Facebook saying that the “tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation, or gender.” But according to the Human Rights Campaign’s assessment, there is nothing in their actual company policy to substantiate those claims.

NASCAR has a burgeoning LGTBQ base, as evidenced by openly gay drivers like Evan Darling and fan sites like Queers4Gears.com. “I am not a liberal,” Darling told me by phone. But, he said, “People like Eddie Gossage make it difficult for people like me to participate in the sport when he makes statements he knows nothing about.

“He’s the one with the agenda. I don’t have an agenda. I want to love my partner, race a car, be a good American, and pay my taxes.”

All this raises an important question: How fit is Gossage to lead the Texas Motor Speedway into its future? How can he use such distasteful language and still guarantee that the speedway will treat its equality-loving fans, patrons, and employees evenhandedly?

Here’s a suggested first step for Gossage from a “lib” as “untraditional” as they come: Apologize to the LGBTQ people of Tarrant County who subsidize your salary, then to LGBTQ NASCAR fans, drivers, and speedway employees for your bullying language. Nothing “disgusting” about that, really.

 

Lifelong Tarrant County resident and blue-collar taxpayer Ramsey Sprague can be reached at profe.ramsey@gmail.com.


15 Comments


  1.  
    Ted Parvomon

    Somewhere out there is a gay person who has been refused service or a Job by CFA, and until CFa proves there isn’t, then they are probably homophobic.




    •  
      Roy

      The Chick-fil-A owners are homophobic. They say so openly. They pour millions of dollars into homophobic organizations (most of which use the codeword “family” in their names). Eat at Chick-fil-A all you want. Hell, eat there every day. It’ll do your arteries a world of good.
      I, for one, will not.
      As for Gossage, good lord, what do you expect from white trash?




      •  
        John Stoutimore

        Most Christians believe cursing God’s name is a sin. It doesn’t mean they’re cursophobic; they oppose it because they believe it’s a sin. Likewise, many Christians believe homosexuality is a sin. L-G-T-B-Q (when was the Q added?) folks characterize Christians who oppose homosexuality as “homophobic” to belittle them. What did you say about tolerance?




    •  
      Billy Ray Valentine

      Ted are you now claiming that CFA refused service or a job to a gay person. You must be a member of the press, because only they could get away with wild claims with zero facts.

      Why does Chick-fil-A have to prove anything to anyone ???? Has someone with actual proof come forward that they have been harmed ????

      TYPICAL LIBERAL !!!! ALL MOUTH AND NO FACTS !!!




  2.  
    Matt

    Nobody owes anybody anything.

    I certainly don’t condone or support Chik-Fil-A’s actions and I’m in complete support of absolute personal freedom.

    But we have to get over this insane idea that there is are invisible lines that you shall not cross. Just as I support the right for anyone to live any lifestyle that chooses them, I also support the right for anyone to share their opinions on any subject, no matter how trivial the subject or how moronic the opinion.

    And if a business is stupid enough to voice divisive and inflammatory opinions like Cathy’s, the powers of economics should prevail to hand out swift justice. That is all that is needed. Stand aside and let economics work its magic.

    Instead, we choose to waste countless hours bullying each other. The fact that this inane “debate” consists of nothing more than lobbing invectives and mischaracterizing the other side is just a sad commentary on the inability of our country to engage in reasoned debate.

    In short, everyone just shut the hell up.




    •  
      Keith

      Remember, Matt, that homosexual activists like Sprague are saying that it was NOT Mr. Cathy’s words in an interview that stirred all the controversy, but his donations to certain organizations. So, was Sprague and nearly the entire bloc of homosexual activism lying to us about that (but why should this surprise anyone?)




      •  
        Diane

        I believe he was pointing to both the words and actions of Mr. Cathy and the Huckabee anti-equality initiative.
        I don’t know where you got your idea that a whole ‘bloc’ of people are lying about everything they campaign for from one article.
        If you didn’t understand the article, it’s basically calling attention to the fact that a prominent local man (who directly benefits from public taxes) has made comments that isolate and disparage a whole section of those tax payers based on their sexual orientation.




  3.  
    Don Young

    Super kudos to Ramsey Sprague for this heartfelt and intelligent response to Gossage’s hate speech. Ramsey’s commitment to bettering FW is not only admirable, it’s vital to FW hopes of becoming a livable city.




  4.  
    Vince

    I’m open to correction so feel free to correct me if my thoughts are misguided. Doesn’t this article just prove what Gossage was saying? Does he have the same freedom? He has an opinion/observation, and since someone disagrees with it he should apologize because TMS gets a tax break??
    And that tax break is in place because it’s a business that brings close to 200,000 people to the area, who infuse a lot of money in the DFW economy for the weeks they have events. Hard to dispute using tax dollars to create a better economic scene for hotels, restaurants, museums, and every little store along the way…which creates jobs, which creates tax dollars.
    Again, I’m open to a different view, but right now I feel he has that freedom.




  5.  
    David Salih

    Chick-Fil-A has funded groups that are trying to take away the rights of gay and lesbian people. If we all walk away from this conversation, you get to go on without your rights being in jeopardy. I don’t. For you to support Chick-Fil-A even though you don’t eat chicken is a statement that you don’t think I should have the same rights as you.
    No one is questioning Chick’s right to speech. This is about much more than that. It’s about people’s rights being threatened. You are either supporting that or supporting people being given equal rights, equal protection under the law. You are kidding yourself if you think gay and lesbian people have that now.




  6.  
    Evan Shannon

    Keep in mind that we ARE talking about someone involved in stock car racing, the most redneck sport ever invented.




  7.  
    Keith

    I think Mr. Gossage just made me a NASCAR fan just by his statement. He, like Mr. Cathy, expressed the view of the vast majority of Americans. Way to go, Eddie!

    As far as this pathetic article, Sprague tries to make the laughable case that it wasn’t Cathy’s “guilty as charged” interview, but because of his donations over the years to “anti-gay” causes that angers homosexual activists. Sprague ignores the fact that it was EXACTLY this statement that got activist homosexuals hot under their… er… collars (Barney Frank was certainly hot under his in Charlotte.)

    It’s no secret that Dan Cathy has donated for over a decade to Christian organizations which bolster the Christian ideal of natural, traditional family – they’ve actually been “boycotting” CFA for years. This recent statement by Cathy was just another imagined slight (how can defending man/woman marriage be a “slight” to any sane person?) in their long list of concocted grudges.

    And now the ugly masks are off, for everyone who previously wasn’t paying attention, to see what ugly and militant fascists homosexual activists are, as sympathetic mayor expressed their outright threats to bar Chick-fil-A’s in their jurisdictions.




    •  
      Diane

      “Vast majority”? I think you are misguided.
      New generations of mixed race, mixed religion and various sexual and gender orientations are all growing up in this lovely country..
      I have personally met few people under 35 who want anything but equality for everyone.
      Honestly I can’t understand the issue. I can only see Judeo-Christian arguments as the basis for such narrow minded beliefs, but certainly there was a separation of Church and State?
      Certainly we are allowed a freedom of religion and religious practices?
      I’ve not been arrested for coveting or working on a Sabbath, so why make laws out of an anti-gay policy directed toward a religious sect of people in a small part of Middle East thousands of years ago?




    •  
      Evan

      Wow your ignorance is amazing! You must be a closeted homosexual yourself with anger like that…all my straight friends know they are attracted to the opposite sex…if you had to choose then you have bigger problems. Just come out and stop hating! Normal people that are not brainwashed understand that Homosexuality is not a choice. If it was there would be none.





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