Comments: What does 'free speech' mean to you? Chick-fil-A debate strikes nerve
Eduardo Cisneros, left, and Luke Montgomery kiss in front of a Chick-fil-A in Hollywood on Friday.
August 3rd, 2012
08:47 PM ET

Comments: What does 'free speech' mean to you? Chick-fil-A debate strikes nerve

Editor's note: You may be familiar with the Overheard on CNN.com series, which looks at thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. In that same vein, we're trying something new by providing a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Happy Friday. We're taking a look at five of the most talked-about stories yet again. The topics are pretty diverse:

  • Chick-fil-A
  • Gun culture
  • Unemployment numbers
  • Mars rover Curiosity
  • Parisian catacombs

Scroll down to read what people are saying about the news.

1. Chick-fil-A 'kiss day'

There’s a lot of heated discussion about the “kiss day” demonstration against Chick-fil-A, which follows up on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Will it have political impact come November? Does it matter what a corporation supports?

Most of our readers are once again expressing support for Chick-fil-A, including many gay readers. Check out iReporter Matt Zieminski's take on political gray areas. He is a young gay man with some very nuanced beliefs that have gotten a good response from our readers.

CVNeutron: "Whether you read this as a liberal or a conservative, LGBT or straight, Christian or atheist or any other religious belief, I want you to take from this a very simple message: We are all Americans and we all care about the same things. We all want equality, we just don't yet know the right way to achieve it. I am gay and I can tell you without a doubt I fully support those like me as well as those completely different from me because that's what makes our country better than most. We can disagree online and in person and on air as much as we want and at the end of the day nobody is hung for what they said and we all still can be united as people. This country faces serious issues and it's time that we get serious answers. I don't give a damn what Chick-Fil-A or The Home Depot or Gap or any other corporation thinks about gays. I care what my leaders think about equality. It's time to stop dancing around the issue and ask our leaders to give us real cohesive answers to this question: When? When will we have true equality in this country?"

Meanwhile, Thursday's piece on chicken with a side of politics garnered more than 5,000 comments. If you see Chick-fil-A demonstrations in your area, share your story on CNN iReport.

Gay rights activists plan 'kiss day' at Chick-fil-A restaurants

On the stories, we can see a powerful dialogue about same-sex marriage supporters' image, as well as views of gay and lesbian people.

warrior2007: "It's funny how gay rights activists want us to respect their free speech when they protest Chick-fil-A but don't respect the free speech of Chick-fil-A. ..."

RichHappyLib: "I don't like chickens who live their whole lives in a cage ... but enough about conservative bigots."

How do you define free speech? Is the gay community forcing its views on the world?

blogwriter: "This is exactly what repulses heterosexuals and why homosexuals are disliked. They insist on trying to force their sexual values on the rest of society instead of keeping them to themselves. By doing this they only make me dislike them that much more!"

mauiwaui: "It's over-the-top yes, but they're trying to make a point. And on this issue they're not really forcing their sexual values on society, they're asking you not to force yours on the law, in order to deny them rights. Rights that have no bearing on your life."

icowrich: "Chick-fil-A is one of those rare companies that sources their chicken from certified humane operations. It's one of the reasons I ate there, until this stuff happened."

Do flamboyant stereotypes really hold?

krozareq: "I suggested when this began that GayDays stop at every CFA they come across. I experienced that myself at a restaurant on one of their stops. Stood in line behind a guy in a Speedo and the guy behind me was in pink leather with a whip and high heels (in 100-degree Florida heat). They were about as colorful as you get and it was a hilarious time. Don't know why people are so scared of those different from themselves. It's not the gays running up the deficit; it's not the gays selling this country down the river; it's not the gays shooting people, etc., etc."

ronjayaz: " 'They were about as colorful as they get and it was a hilarious time.' Of course, times have not changed one iota for the so-called 'straights.' It's the only way they can accept gays, like minstrel show folks. I recall when I was a kid going to the Automat and seeing a group of 'gays' demonstratively talking loudly, laughing and flirting with the male customers. We all laughed derisively at them. Things have not changed obviously."

2. Gun culture

iReporters sent us more than 400 stories of gun ownership, so CNN's Daphne Sashin posted some of their quotes as shareable pins on Pinterest and wrote about them in a full story. We in turn got more than 1,000 passionate comments in response.

5 things gun owners want you to know

Some of the readers had their own take on the "5 things" structure of the story.

John: "My house is protected by the Second Amendment. I'm content and will never change."

HawkJ: "Five things ANOTHER gun owner wants you to know:
1. Not everyone owns a gun.
2. Not everyone wants to own a gun, and not everyone should be allowed to own a gun.
3. People kill people, and using guns they kill more people, in greater numbers, than with poison, knives or explosives combined.
4. Banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and mail order sales of ammunition does not impede any responsible gun owner from owning, using and enjoying his weapon.
5. Opposing reasonable gun restrictions on the grounds that it won't stop ALL gun violence makes no more sense than abolishing all traffic laws and signs because they clearly don't stop all traffic violators."

Andrew Martin: "My doors are locked, not to protect me from the criminals outside, but to protect the criminals from what is inside."

Charles Garcia’s opinion article about the NRA's political clout is also getting people fired up.

Politicians hammered by the NRA

Leo818: "The background check argument is just plain baloney. Every gun show I go to or auction where firearms are sold require our state's handgun purchase permit or a background check."

Vivek Saxena: "They're not comprehensive enough. At the moment, I could buy a gun. I refuse to because I know I'm not mentally stable enough, as per autism, to handle one. And yet, if someone else with autism decided, 'Oooh, let me get a gun,' they'd be able to."

3. Unemployment numbers

Stocks rallied Friday after a stronger-than-expected July jobs report. Readers are talking about what this means.

tor5: "You gotta love Republican spin: If the jobs report is bad, Obama’s a failure. If the jobs report is good, the report is bogus. It’s “Obama’s economy” when anything bad happens, and “the president has no influence” when anything good happens. Blah, blah, blah. Fortunately, Obama will win in November because things are gradually getting better and Republicans have no coherent plan other than a return to the disastrous Bush policies."

hoapres: "Things are NOT getting better but Obama will win."

dfeaster: "Things are getting better and Obama might win."

July jobs report: Hiring picks up, unemployment rises

CNNMoney readers are unhappy with persisting unemployment, and they’re split over whether President Barack Obama or former President George W. Bush are to blame.

A12825766: "It's so pathetic that 'discouraged workers' aren't accounted for in the unemployment rate. Just be legitimate for once and tell it like it is. Our unemployment rate is easily 17%."

ApointHilary: "At this rate, Obama will keep his jobs promise by the year 2032."

4. Mars rover love

The rover Curiosity will land on Mars early Monday morning, just as the traditional can of peanuts is opened back on Earth. People are excited about this NASA mission and what it means, and we’ve got a really hardcore group talking about this story, including the complex landing. One of our readers, who says they were a member of a group called "LASA" (the “Local Aeronautics and Space Administration”), had poignant comments about the future of the much larger NASA.

Mars landing: It could be crazier

Capt36: "I was a member of LASA, Local Aeronautics and Space Administration. We designed and built our own rockets. We had a launch control complex, made from my old soapbox derby racer frame. We learned the math to figure the final height, using protractors and coat-hanger tubes to sight from three sites. We learned how to do things in committees, and work as a group. If nothing else than causing 10 kids to be successful in life, the mere existence of NASA inspired a whole 'Kennedy generation' of scientists, doctors, engineers, and yeah, even lawyers. NASA may be the best, 'wasteful' in some folk's eyes, federally sponsored program that has even been! The spin-offs of technology are too numerous to imagine. Yes, if NASA had not existed, we probably would not be communicating so easily these days. I am giddy about Monday's upcoming landing. I feel it is the only thing to look forward to from a scaled back NASA. I hope they measure up to the task! But, to believe that a non-NASA world would have erased poverty would be idealistic, at best."

Some were less optimistic.

rockshow: "8 GB of memory? With the high-resolution cameras they use, that's about three pictures. I really hope this works but the odds aren't good. Unless they have SUPERB engineering, it sounds like their landing will fail. Too many technical pieces to control remotely and to have to work perfectly. A safer landing would have been airbags and stadium-big chutes, or even wing based horizontal landing."

Others felt a deep connection to the engineering.

TomGI: "I've been excited for a year waiting for this landing. My employers had some electronic parts on Spirit. We really enjoyed watching its success. Now we get to watch the adventures of Curiosity. Sweet!"

BobPhxville: "I think NASA forgot the No. 1 rule of successful engineering – KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. I am not saying that this will not work. However, it is such a Rube Goldbergian solution, they certainly tilted the odds against themselves."

Cheeko: "The problem is that this really IS the simplest solution. Short of a MASSIVE retro rocket (ie massive fuel and cost to launch from Earth) there is no technology currently to get large payloads onto Mars easily. The problem is the superthin atmosphere, you can't slow a payload like you can on Earth. Additionally the massive weight meant the airbags (used in previous missions) would need to be so big we couldn't launch it from Earth. Also its first bounce would possibly be tens of kilometers high. The only way to decelerate it to a slow enough landing speed was using a combination of methods."

5. Going underground.

Some of our readers have already heard of the Parisian catacombs, but others were just learning about them or exchanging information with other readers. Commenters told us about their adventures and explorations there and at similar sites around the world.

Loving life in Paris' Empire of the Dead

TheH0LYT0AST: "$73 fine IF they catch you? That's cheaper than a day at Six Flags and way more fun."

AnnieMiami: "I visited the portion of the Paris catacombs one can enter legally. Walked the paths through bones laid carefully in great mounds as high as my shoulders, yes. Stunning, yes. All together a spiritual experience of sorts and humbling. So many people. So many lives lived. I felt like I was paying my respects to ancestors who each played a part in creating the world I was born to. Guards check purses and bags coming out, as well they should. Apparently some people try to steal bones for curiosities or Halloween shenanigans."

VeritasK: "Have been to the ones in Paris and Rome. Totally different experience. The ones in Rome have no bones in them anymore, those are indeed stored in the Vatican. (Note the plural, there are many, not just one big one.) The Roman ones acted as churches as well, until Christianity was accepted. The endlessness of the ones in Paris, as well as the artistic laying of the bones. ... The majority of the skeletons were not intact as such. There is nothing like walking in a row surrounded on both sides by bones up to your shoulders."

Some people like WayOutThere missed out on the catacombs while they were closed. Indeed, many readers had seen other sites while traveling.

texdoc78154: "There is a church in Czech Republic that is decorated with human bones. It's not just stacked up, but arranged into chandeliers, crests, wall displays, chairs, altars, etc. Ossuary Church, check (pun intended) it out."

bobpit: "My wife and I visited the catacombs in Lima, Peru, they are located under the cathedral, I have no idea how big they are, but they had tons and tons of skeletons down there. Most of them are sealed so you can't enter them, but the ones under the cathedral are open to tourists."

Have you ever traveled underground? Got strong feelings about Chick-fil-A? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Murdoch Supreme

    Ah, gross, man. I don't like seeing anybody kiss in public.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Liberal

    Free speech means to me that we have freedom to speak our minds and republicans should be shot.

    August 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. M

    Abraham, are you going to marry your cat?

    August 7, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. newbie

    Is anyone else having trouble posting this morning?

    August 7, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Harviele

    Free speech is written or oral statements. When you put the speech into action then it is no longer protected as free speech. Actions are not free speech. I could think of many examples but I am sure everyone capable of reading this can think of their own.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • max3333444555

      freedom of expression. you can express with actions

      August 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. max3333444555

    a big "who cares" from me. so the owner of a business has a opinion about something. ive owned businesses and i dont see why my opinion would have any more bearing than anyone elses. people would be free to not do business with my company if they didnt like it. thats america.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. max3333444555

    cnn should have put two women kissing. would get more views

    August 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jerry

    I am so disgusted that Nasa spends so much money sending a craft to Mars. What do they expect to find. They will not be satisfied until thay can leave their junk on all of the planets. Have you heard of any good that has come from all of this. Little boys playing with toys at our expense. The latest failuret cost millions of dollars. Leave the planets alone they have survived so far with out our help.Guess it keeps these idiots having a job. They will never find life on these planets.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brandon Donavan

      Dear Religion,

      While you were discussing which chicken sandwich to eat, I just landed on Mars.

      Sincerely,

      Your Pal Science

      August 10, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. ns

    I never heard of Chick-fil-A before this controversy.
    I nw know it s ells chicken sandwichs, and it's head is a blasphemng liar.
    There is NO BIBLICAL definition of a family, the Bible reports "polygamy", but doesn't require it.
    Like many evangalists, this one makes up his blaspheming lies as he goes along.

    January 29, 2013 at 10:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
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