Last week, prior to the Peach Bowl college football game in which the University of Florida played The University of Michigan, a writer for SB Nation sports blog’s LGBTQ extension, Outsports, attacked Peach Bowl sponsor Chick-fil-A and its foundation for supporting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes while sponsoring the Peach Bowl. The piece’s title snarled, “Chick-fil-A’s participation in sports is still a big ‘F-you’ to LGBTQ people.”
The writer, Cyd Zeigler, posited, “Years after Chick-fil-A family man and CEO Dan Cathy tried to distance his company from the anti-gay positions he and the Chick-fil-A brand had taken, promising to make changes, Chick-fil-A has doubled down on the support of anti-LGBTQ causes, one of which takes direct aim at gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer athletes.”
Before he got down to attacking Chick-fil-A, Zeigler admitted, “To be sure, Chick-fil-A has recently made at least one positive step. By offering support for Covenant House, the organization will indirectly help LGBTQ youth.”
But that was only a momentary glitch; Zeigler continued: “Chick-fil-A gives millions of dollars to an organization that actively demeans LGBTQ people, invalidates our relationships and brings untold mental harm to gay, lesbian, bi and queer athletes. Fellowship of Christian Athletes is an anti-gay organization.
Zeigler quoted the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ nine-point “statement of faith”:
We believe God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the context of marriage. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.
Zeigler then offered his own interpretation, arguing that FCA didn’t want gay people to even exist: “Again, FCA tells gay people they are not worthy, their self-expression in sex is not OK, their relationships are not valid… and they should stay far away. The organization feels so strongly that the very existence of gay, bi and queer people is wrong that they listed this as one of their top-nine beliefs of faith. Not up for debate. Written in stone.”
Zeigler completely ignored the ninth point in FCA’s “Statement of Faith.” It reads:
We believe that God created all human beings in His image. Therefore, we believe that human life is sacred from conception to its natural end; that we must honor the physical and spiritual needs of all people; following Christ’s example, we believe that every person should be treated with love, dignity and respect.
I want to watch this game above all other non-playoff college football games this holiday season. But I won’t. Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship presence at this game precludes me from watching one second of this game. And that’s a shame. Sports should bring us together, not divide us. Until Chick-fil-A abandons its financial support of anti-LGBTQ groups like Fellow of Christian Athletes, and instead state the Foundation’s support of equality, I simply will not watch that bowl game. It’s a shame that the Peach Bowl, and the powers in college football who have elevated the profile of the anti-LGBTQ bowl game, would subject an entire community to this prejudice.