Archived Story

Moral issues reach boiling point

Published 8:59am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Those words are from the First Amendment of the United States Constitution….a document that although coming under attack from several fronts has stood the test of time for over 225 years.

As a newspaper journalist, I’m a staunch supporter of the First Amendment. The freedom of speech and freedom of the press supports my livelihood. However, while we, as Americans, all enjoy these freedoms, it seems we are becoming more and more belligerent with one another when we exercise those basic rights.

As expected, I received numerous phone calls and emails, and had several face-to-face conversations with individuals who wished to debate the merits of Thadd White’s personal opinion column from a few weeks ago. For those of you who missed it, Thadd took issue with Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy’s position over same-sex marriage.

Thadd made it clear that he has friends that are gay and is supportive of their rights. Due to Mr. Cathy’s decision to donate a portion of his money to anti-gay organizations, as is his right, Thadd went on the record to simply say he will not spend another dime purchasing food from Chick-Fil-A, which is his right.

Many referred to Thadd’s thoughts as an editorial. It wasn’t an editorial, it was his personal opinion. An editorial is the opinion of the newspaper as a whole. This newspaper has not taken a position on gay rights…for or against.

A few of you offered opposing views by way of a Letter to the Editor….opinions welcomed and printed by this newspaper because we believe in the First Amendment.

One caller canceled his subscription to the News-Herald because he apparently didn’t agree with Thadd’s opinion. When he asked me if I would allow Thadd to continue writing columns on such issues, I replied I would because it’s Thadd’s right to do so…whether I agree or not with his opinion. With that said the phone went dead as he hung up on me. Not only was that impolite, it was a very narrow minded way of thinking in my opinion. I’m now wondering if he canceled his contract with his cable TV or satellite TV supplier because they air FOX News or MSNBC.

As I told Thadd after reading his column prior to publication, he would perhaps be surprised, as well as others, to learn of the moral stance other companies had over the same-sex marriage/gay rights issue.

According to a list published by Yahoo News, Mr. Cathy hasn’t cornered the market on the issue of opposing gay marriage/gay rights. The list of those companies with anti-gay policies includes Auto Zone, Babies R Us, Cracker Barrel, Domino’s Pizza, Exxon Mobil, John Deere, Keebler, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Toys R Us and Walmart.

Are you planning to stop purchasing gas because the majority of OPEC nations do not hide the fact that they persecute gays?

Did you know that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, agreed to donate $2.5 million in support of a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington state, where the online retailer is headquartered?

Will the fact that Microsoft founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer each donated $100,000 in an effort to keep gay marriage legal lead you to boycott those products?

How ‘bout food giant General Mills? Will you keep their brand products – Cheerios, Wheaties, Hamburger Helper, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Green Giant veggies, Totino’s / Jeno’s pizza, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury baking goods – out of your grocery cart in light of Ken Powell, the firm’s CEO, publicly speaking out against Minnesota’s proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage?

How do you feel about shopping at J.C. Penney after they hired openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman?

Were you aware that super store retailer Target has launched a gay wedding gift registry campaign; or that they offer, through online sales, a t-shirt from where the proceeds support a repeal of the gay marriage ban?

What if the gay issue wasn’t even an issue and other personal lifestyles lead you to make radical decisions? Will you stop reading the words penned in this column by this writer because he’s left-handed; because he chooses to drive a Ford; because he supports NC State athletics; because he’s Southern Baptist?

When will we return to being the United States of America instead of the United States of the Offended?


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

  • Cal Bryant

    My personal opinion column was not written to defend Thadd’s opinion…nor was it written to question the patriotism of those standing for biblical moral decency.
    The purpose of my column was three-fold:
    (1) To explain the difference between a personal opinion column and an editorial;
    (2) To reveal my research into businesses that either oppose or support gay rights; and
    (3) An attempt to show that no matter which side of this issue you stand, that all opinions are welcomed and to encourage those voicing those opinions to make their point without offensive remarks.

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    • DrRaymond

      Mr. Bryant, In response to your response; Your wording appeared to defend your Managing Editor’s opinion. Also, you openly stated that he had the right to continue writing columns on “Such Issues” based on the first amendment. Point well taken! However, the three-fold purpose of your column was distorted by your question at the end, “When will we return to being the United States of America instead of the United States of the Offended?” It appears you need to start by questioning the offended rather than trying to intimidate your readers who responded to his opinion. Mr. White’s “personal opinion” (that appeared editorial) alarmed some local readers who simply wanted to exercise their freedom to defend Mr. Cathy and his views concerning biblical moral values . The public statement by a newspaper’s managing editor to boycott a business, for funding pro-family organizations must not be taken lightly. The fact is, Mr. Cathy’s Pro-family funding is not Hate Motivated. Mr. White’s opinion appeared to be a persuasion of the newspaper he writes for. You have now cleared that up. My advice; the next time Mr. White or other’s are offended they should read your “BOILING POINT” column.
      Final note: Your opinion, my opinion, nor Mr. White’s opinion is the final authority. God’s Word is the Final Authority! That may not be politically correct… but it is correct.

      Thank you,
      Raymond Faircloth Sr.

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  • DrRaymond

    August 21, 2012

    Dear Editor,

    In response to Mr. Cal Bryant’s “On The Record” defending Thadd White’s opinion to boycott Chick-fil-A. Sir, Mr. White was giving his opinion to a wide audience that received it as an opinion from an editor of your newspaper. He is listed as the News Herald’s Managing Editor.
    Next, there’s a whole lot of difference between what kind of car you drive, being left handed or right handed and the moral issue that Mr. White provoked your readers with. Remember, he started it!
    In your final question, “When will we return to being the United States of America instead of the United States of the Offended? I don’t know, maybe you should ask your Managing Editor that question.
    Do not question the patriotism of those that are standing for biblical moral decency. It’s not a matter of being offended as your Managing Editor seemed to be, it’s a matter of standing up and being counted as bible believing, commandment respecting Americans. What’s wrong with that?
    It’s true the gentleman should not have hung up the phone on you, and his action are deemed impolite, but you told him (according to your words) that your Managing Editor (Mr. White) had the right to continue writing columns, voicing his opinion on “SUCH ISSUES”. If he does, I trust the Bible believing readers of this community will get on their feet (STAND UP), pull out their pins, and write the editor. We’ve been silent long enough.
    We didn’t start this…, your Managing Editor did! It appears to me that as long as Mr. White and those of his opinion want to boycott a business and make it public…, it’s OK, but let a people group that believe in biblical moral values speak up and we’re considered offended and almost un-American.
    Let the record stand, I am NOT offended, I am a CHRISTIAN! I am an AMERICAN! Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they wrote the United States Constitution over 225 years ago, yet it is my opinion they would be heart broken if they knew the moral decline that has evolved in the past 50 years. As I said last time, The First Amendment does not amend or change the law of GOD. If you believe it does, that’s your opinion, thank you for allowing me this privilege to share mine.

    Raymond F. Faircloth Sr., Pastor
    Higher Ground Church

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