Current Issue: Volume 3, Issue 3/4Updated March 1, 2014
In August 2012, thousands of Americans traveled to their local Chick-fil-A restaurants to participate in the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and the National Same Sex Kiss Day, two demonstrations designed to show support and opposition, respectively, to the company’s public endorsement of the “biblical definition of the family unit.” This essay draws upon Richard B. Gregg’s theory of the ego-function to analyze the important persuasive functions the protests served for the participants involved. An analysis of the messages shared among members in the groups’ respective Facebook pages shows that the participants promoted a message of victimage, virtuousness, importance, strength, and unity. The participants in both groups disputed their opponents’ claims that they were “haters” or “bigots,” and instead portrayed themselves as righteous advocates for equality or freedom. The protests, then, not only functioned to show support for or anger at Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A. They also empowered the participants and enhanced the legitimacy and importance of their respective causes. Keywords: Culture Wars, Ego-Function, Gay Rights, Protest Rhetoric, Same-Sex Marriage.
“Fortnight for Freedom” was the first organized campaign directly appealing to Catholic laity that the US Catholic bishops developed since making religious freedom a lynchpin issue in 2012 election year. This essay is a micro-stylistic analysis of two principal rhetorical strategies employed by Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori in his opening homily. The homily’s central goal was to provide a rationale for the Catholic Church’s “Fortnight for Freedom” initiative by arguing for the conflation of religious freedom with personal political freedom, which I demonstrate ultimately failed. First, the archaic diction of “fortnight” reinforced unpopular perceptions of the Church’s Magisterium as antiquated and out of touch with the moral priorities of contemporary American Catholics. Secondly, false analogies in the form of enthymematic allusions erroneously compared opponents of the Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate to Catholic martyrs and President Obama to King Henry VIII. Keywords: Analogy, Archaisms, Fortnight for Freedom, Rhetoric, US Catholic Bishops