- (Photo: Courtesy of First Baptist Dallas)
Evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress is asking members of his First Baptist Dallas church to show their support for restaurant chain Chick-fil-A's religious freedom to support traditional marriage.
"This is not about bashing gays. That is not what this is about. This is about Americans and Christians standing up and saying 'enough is enough,'" Jeffress told congregants during his sermon Sunday, according to the33tv.com.
The Texas pastor was referring to Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's recent statements against same-sex marriage, after which many gay activists and supporters are urging people to boycott the chicken sandwich restaurant because of his "hateful" remarks.
"The liberals have gone into a frenzy," said Jeffress. "Their first response was to try to stop the expansion of businesses with which they disagree. That should be of great concern for every American," he added.
The pastor, who last year made headlines for saying Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a Christian and Mormonism is a cult, also urged his church members to support the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Aug. 1.
"Let's go to Chick-fil-A this Wednesday to support religious freedom in America,'" said Jeffress. Supporters of traditional marriage and fans of Chick-fil-A are expected to head to their nearest chain restaurant on Aug. 1 to encourage Cathy.
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate, has also rallied his radio listeners to come out in support of Chick-fil-A on Wednesday.
In response, gay activists have designated Aug. 3 as a "kiss-in" protest Friday against the restaurant chain.
The mayors of Chicago and Boston have also said they don't want Chick-fil-A to expand in their cities.
Last week, a Chicago alderman threatened to block Chick-fil-A's plan to build a restaurant in his ward. "There are consequences for one's actions, statements and beliefs. Because of this man's (Cathy's) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward," Alderman "Joe" Moreno wrote in an article in the Chicago Tribune last Thursday.
In a recent interview with the Biblical Recorder, Cathy was asked about the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," Cathy told the Recorder. "We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
The fast-food chain has denied that it discriminates against any group of people. It assured it strives to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender." But Chick-fil-A continues to face opposition.