Dan Cathy: “We inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years.”
American Family Association (AFA) President Tim Wildmon has released a letter sent to him by Chick-fil-A (CFA) Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy in response to questions surrounding the restaurant’s changes in giving to charities last fall.
Specifically in question was CFA’s decision to phase out giving to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two groups deemed anti-gay and at the center of protests by LGBTQ activists. Conservatives responded in asking for a clarification as well as pondering how it would affect the restaurant’s standing in the evangelical Christian community, which constituted the backbone of the restaurant’s support regarding previous protests by activist groups.
CFA responded that the changes in support were simply part of a regular cycle in switching funding among various groups. The restaurant chain’s corporate leadership had already phased out giving to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, an organization located in Vidalia whose position on sexuality had factored into the protests.
The Index joined the AFA and other conservatives in asking CFA for a clarification. In a personal letter, Wildmon asked Cathy two questions:
- Will Chick-fil-A publicly state that it does not believe the Salvation Army and FCA are hate groups because of their ministries’ beliefs about sexuality, marriage, and family?
- Will you publicly state that Chick-fil-A will not hesitate to fund these two ministries again, should the opportunity arise in the future?
Cathy’s response, dated Dec. 7, 2019 to the AFA, included the statement: “We understand how some thought we were abandoning our longstanding support of faith-based organizations. We inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years. Some have questioned if our commitment to our Corporate Purpose was waning. Let me state unequivocally: It is not.”
In his response last week, Wildmon thanked Cathy for the letter, but added a caveat.
“This response was a welcomed clarification. It appears that Mr. Cathy understands how many evangelicals perceived the company’s decision, as he stated that these Christian groups were ‘inadvertently discredited.’ The fact that Dan Cathy called these two Christian groups ‘outstanding organizations’ will mean a lot to evangelicals.
“However, I also mentioned in my initial letter that Chick-fil-A stated that the company would support Covenant House, a ministry to homeless youth, including homosexual young people. While it is admirable to help hurting youth in desperate circumstances – including those who are LGBTQ – Covenant House also openly promotes homosexuality as normal, natural, and healthy. This was evident in Covenant House’s participation in the NYC gay pride parade and a number of other efforts that make it clear the ministry does not hold to a biblical view of human sexuality.”
Wildmon further stated that AFA would “continue to monitor Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving, at least for the foreseeable future.”
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.