Right-wingers are saying Chick-fil-A has chickened out by announcing its foundation will (maybe) not be donating to anti-LGBTQ charities.
The fast-food chain is getting roasted by the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and more.
Company officials said Monday that they had fulfilled multiyear commitments to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, both of which have anti-LGBTQ views or histories, and would concentrate on organizations addressing hunger, homelessness, and education. It has already ceased giving to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which teaches that homosexuality is a sin. President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow that none of the groups now under consideration for grants have anti-LGBTQ policies.
The decision appeared to have economic motivations. The company has been denied franchises in various municipal airports and on some college campuses due to objections to its grants to homophobic and transphobic organizations, and uproar over its first U.K. location caused the business to lose its lease. LGBTQ activists and allies have also been outraged by statements that executive Dan Cathy made against marriage equality several years ago.
Tassopoulos then appeared to backtrack a bit in a statement given to Vice, saying, “No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith-based,” without addressing if an organization’s stance on LGBTQ rights would be a concern. The Advocate has requested clarification from Chick-fil-A but has yet to receive a response.
But as far as the far right is concerned, the damage is done. The notoriously anti-LGBTQ AFA has started a petition to the company, stating, “It looks like you are abandoning Christian values and agreeing with homosexual activists who say believing the Bible makes you a hater. Please clarify that you still hold to biblical teachings regarding human sexuality, marriage, and family, and reinstate these Christian ministries.”
In a note accompanying the petition, AFA President Tim Wildmon wrote, “The company says its contracts with the ministries have simply expired, and they’re moving on. Frankly, I don’t buy it. For all practical purposes, it looks like they have caved to the LGBTQ activists and their illegitimate complaints.” The petition has received nearly 89,000 signatures since it launched Tuesday.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, took Chick-fil-A to task in a column published Wednesday. “Some of you might argue that walking away from the Salvation Army or Fellowship of Christian Athletes isn’t an endorsement of an LGBT agenda,” he said. “But it is exactly that. And here’s why. Chick-fil-A didn’t just switch their giving practices, they broadcasted it. They made a conscious choice to draw attention to this very public divorce from two Bible-believing charities. And then, in a calculated move, announced their support was going to an organization that, on its website, openly and proudly supports everything about the LGBT community.” That group is Covenant House, which serves homeless youth and has an LGBTQ-affirming policy.
Huckabee, who once sought the Republican presidential nomination and now hosts a show on the Christian TV network TBN, tweeted that Chick-fil-A had caved to hate groups:
On the National Review website, John Hirschauer wrote that Chick-fil-A had “abandoned their principles and betrayed the consumers who buoyed their rise from relative obscurity into the multibillion-dollar colossus that it is today.” Discussing Tassopoulos’s statement about future giving to faith-based organizations, Hirschauer expressed doubt that there were any that “will help it expand into ‘new markets’ in more-liberal parts of the country,” when in fact there are many liberal and LGBTQ-inclusive faith groups that run charities.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ groups such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign urged consumers to be cautious, as Chick-fil-A has made promises before about backing away from donating to anti-LGBTQ groups but kept doing so. And the company does not have an inclusive antidiscrimination policy either.