Last Monday, conservatives almost forgot about impeachment when Chick-fil-A announced it was ending donations to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Salvation Army, and Paul Anderson Youth Homes. Many see this as the family-owned restaurant chain founded on Christian values kowtowing to the LGBTQ community. Let’s slice through this controversy and get to what has really happened here.
Business reporters quickly jumped on Chick-fil-A’s new policies for donations by its non-profit foundation this past week. Every year, the company’s foundation donates millions of dollars to worthy charities, mostly those that support the needy and disadvantaged. The new donation criteria for 2020 excludes certain organizations that oppose the LGBTQ/gay marriage/transgender rights agenda.
Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy, declared the new corporation’s purpose 50 years ago: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Cathy, a faithful Southern Baptist, was never shy about his belief that homosexuality, gay marriage, and transgender lifestyles were sinful. Since its inception, the company has been constantly derided by the LGBTQ community, often involving large demonstrations and boycotts.
Upon Truett Cathy’s death in 2014, his son, Dan, took the reins of the corporation as CEO. Since then, he has been virtually silent on LGBTQ positions, while continuing to donate to prominent charities that are outspoken against those positions. Even before his father death, Dan Cathy declared he would stop engaging in the national debate over marriage equality. He stated that even though his views hadn’t changed, he realized talking about them publicly was bad for business. One can only conclude that his removal of faith-based groups that support heterosexual relationships and traditional marriage from his foundation’s donation list was considered good for business.
This past week, evangelist Franklin Graham called Dan Cathy to determine his objectives in this turn-around. Graham reported that Mr. Cathy “was very clear” in saying that the company “did not bow down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community.” Cathy said his company will continue to support whomever they want to support and that they haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Mr. Graham went on to argue that the LGBTQ community will never be satisfied with Chick-fil-A because of the founder’s strong stand for biblical traditional values and his desire to honor God.
Franklin Graham is right about the LGBTQ radicals not being satisfied. Over the last few days, social media has been filled with comments like, “A public apology is needed here, not just saying they stopped,” and “When Chick-fil-A apologizes directly to the LGBTQ community and begins to donate to pro-LGBTQ causes, then I will eat there. Not one second before.” The company can expect Dan Cathy’s initial peace gesture to the gay crowd to be incentive for them to press for more.
So, where does all this leave us who crave that delicious chicken sandwich meal, enjoy the restaurant’s wholesome Christian atmosphere, and love the positive, friendly service? As for me, I plan to continue to patronize Chick-fil-A. If I abandon a Christian family business that is stumbling over some of its biblical principles and choose to patronize its competitor with no known connection to my faith, what have I gained? However, I plan to share my concerns with the company, both locally and at corporate level, and will watch closely for any signs of its further departure from its Christian roots. Finally, I will include Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy in my prayers from time to time, particularly before enjoying my grilled chicken sandwich.