Often, I’ll get an email or message with a very attention-getting headline. Due to such headlines, though, rarely delivering once I read the story, I’ve gotten to where I don’t give them a whole lot of notice at first. We live in a world where being loudest is seen as more important than being correct.
So was my initial response when I received an email yesterday proclaiming that Chick-fil-A had caved in to liberal pressure on the subject of marriage. In particular, the Georgia-based company had made the decision to disassociate itself from two organizations – The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes – that LGBTQ groups had deemed “anti-gay” in their practices.
As this was, of course, big news for Index readers, we posted a short story yesterday with some basic facts on the case. In order to provide context, it’s important to review those facts.
Yesterday’s news began with Chick-fil-A announcing through its online press room, The Chicken Wire, that it was reshuffling its approach to charitable giving. Namely, it would be committing $9 million toward concerns over education, homelessness, and hunger. Prior to that, the restaurant had been receiving backlash for its financial support of FCA and The Salvation Army.
The statement released by CFA made no mention of its discontinued support for those organizations. However, in a story posted at Bisnow.com, that was cleared up:
The new initiative will no longer include donating to organizations like The Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home, Chick-fil-A says, all of which sparked criticism in the past from the LGBT community due to the organizations’ stances on homosexuality.
The article went on to cite the company’s efforts to expand its brand internationally and how its connection to the subject of marriage hindered those efforts.
Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos was quoted throughout the article, saying “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are. … [W]e thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
Tassopoulos later said the multiyear commitments to The Salvation Army and FCA had simply run their course and now the company would move to annual grants that would be reassessed each year.
But then the Bisnow article has a line that’s very important to this whole conversation, saying that “future partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBTQ positions” (emphasis mine).
Bisnow later quoted a Chick-fil-A representative as saying the restaurant had for years been “taking it on the chin” because of the protests.
One thing I’ll admit: I’d never heard of Bisnow – which describes itself as a news site for the real estate industry – and so wasn’t sure if I could trust the story itself. However, I’ve been waiting for some kind of clarification from Chick-fil-A leadership on this. I just checked their press room, Twitter, and Facebook feeds. Still nothing. We can’t assume the people at Chick-fil-A are ignorant to this controversy or dragging their feet in responding. That’s not how they work.
The issues of marriage and homosexuality are nowhere to be found on the central platforms for FCA or Te Salvation Army. Yet, they are now apparently unworthy of partnership by a company conservative Christians have supported to the point of making them the third-biggest chain in the country.
Reading through my social media feed on this has been an education in itself. People are either very disappointed, upset, or telling others to stop letting themselves get played by the liberal media, that this is a false controversy meant to attack a Christian company.
My own opinion after reading through everything and waiting for an explanation that (checks again) still hasn’t come? Do I think Chick-fil-A caved?
Yeah. Sure seems so.
Like many, I’m disappointed. I think it’s a huge mistake. I think they’ve alienated the majority of their customer base. I don’t think they’re going to placate groups who even yesterday were still saying Chick-fil-A “should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents.”
And while I think their sales will go down, people will still go there. I will, but probably not as much. It’ll be different. Now, they’re just another restaurant.
No one is faulting Chick-fil-A’s continued commitment to charity. Other restaurants have been doing that for years. I have friends who have benefitted from staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their little girl was undergoing cancer treatments.
In bending the knee to the culture, however, Chick-fil-A has made it that much more difficult for other groups to operate according to their faith. Five years ago, no one would have labeled the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or Salvation Army as “anti” anything. Yet, that’s what headlines across the country felt was appropriate to do yesterday.
Kanye West’s album “Jesus is King” contains the song “Closed on Sunday.” You may know it as the Chick-fil-A song. The message is about being true to God no matter the pressure to conform.
Chick-fil-A’s president has said, according to the Bisnow article, that the company will no longer partner with groups seen as “hav[ing] anti-LGBTQ positions.” Apparently, that includes The Salvation Army and FCA. One has to wonder who that will include in the future.