Chick-fil-A may now be having second thoughts after departing from Christian organizations like The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes after LGBTQ activists branded them as homophobic.
In a December fifth letter to Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy expressed some regret after the business “inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations” after shifting gears on its corporate giving strategy this past November.
“As you have seen, recently we announced changes to our giving strategy at the Chick-fil-A Foundation. These changes were made to better focus on hunger, homelessness and education,” wrote Cathy. “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 also questioned if our commitment to our Corporate Purpose was waning. Let me state unequivocally: It is not,” he added.
Cathy went on to say that Chick-fil-A never had any intention of weighing into political or social movements, asserting that it will simply be focusing on ways to fix hunger, homelessness, and education.
“The intent of our corporate giving has always been to have impact — not to make a statement or support a political or social agenda,” wrote Cathy. “In the future, our company will seek to make a greater impact by addressing the challenges of hunger, homelessness and education. Chick-fil-A will give to faith based and other organizations that we believe to be highly effective in a particular area.
“Grant recipients will likely rotate, as we assess from year to year partners who help us meet our stated goals,” he continued. “Also, our operators in your community will continue to invest in local causes that are meaningful at their discretion. Additionally, our family will continue to fund and operate our family foundations and give to other charities of our choice.”
Though Wildmon said that Cathy’s letter was a “welcomed clarification,” he still expressed caution for people reading deeper. He cited the fact that Chick-fil-A donated to organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Covenant House, which has supported “drag queen story hour” in public libraries.
“It appears that Mr. Cathy understands how many evangelicals perceived the company’s decision, as he stated that these Christian groups were ‘inadvertently discredited,’” said Wildmon. “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,” continued Wildmon. “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.”
“As a result, AFA will continue to monitor Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving, at least for the foreseeable future,” concluded Wildmon. “We believe our supporters rely on us to do so.”