Chick-Fil-A Ends Donations to Anti-LGBT Organizations

The Salvation Army and the FCA will no longer receive support from Chick-Fil-A.

A+Chick-Fil-A+storefront.

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A Chick-Fil-A storefront.

Cameron Foley, Columnist

The Chick-Fil-A Foundation is a separate branch of Chick-Fil-A that wants “to lead the company’s commitment to support organizations dedicated to the issues of hunger, homelessness and education,” says their website. According to their website, they have donated $52 million in support of several charities and groups in need, including the Girl Scouts of Atlanta, Junior Achievement, City of Refuge, and more. But, they have also donated to some organizations with controversial backgrounds. In 2018, the Chick-Fil-A Foundation donated $115,000 to The Salvation Army, and $1.65 million to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). However, according to Business Insider, Chick-Fil-A will no longer donate to either organization as of 2019.

Both the Salvation Army and the FCA have been criticized for their assumed anti-LGBT views. The FCA says on its website that “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,” clearly stating their belief that gay marriage is against the Bible, and should not be practiced. A report from Outsports says that FCA members are encouraged to “save” LGBT peers in reference to their sexuality or gender identity as late as January of this year.While the FCA clearly espouses anti-LGBT views, the Salvation Army’s biases are less public. The Salvation Army claims that they are not anti-LGBT. They even go so far as to have an article attempting to dissuade any suspicions. The Salvation Army, upon learning of the end of donations from Chick-Fil-A, stated, “We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which the Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed,” according to CNN.

One reason Salvation Army is criticized is because the Salvation Army interprets the Bible in a way that is hostile to the LGBT community. They have been quoted as saying “Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment and also by clearly implied disapproval. The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal… Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society,” by Huffington Post, and they have had several prior incidents with hostility towards the transgender community. During July of 2017, in one center in New York City, The Salvation Army was found to be assigning rooms according to gender assigned at birth, and “subjecting patients to physical exams to determine gender identity,” according to a press release by the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Addtionally, according to an article by LGBTQNation, the Salvation Army said that sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage,” and that “Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.”

Chick-Fil-A has often been criticized for being anti-LGBT itself, particularly due to controversial statements by CEO Dan Cathy. In an interview with Baptist Press, Cathy stated that “We are very much supportive of the family… the biblical definition of the family unit.” and, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about,” on the “Ken Coleman Show.” While both previous quotes were from 2012, he reaffirmed his stark belief in “biblical marriage” as recently as 2018 in an interview with WSB-TV by saying, “I personally express a view of support of the biblical definition of marriage.”

Chick-Fil-A has purged its donation list of anti-LGBT organizations twice now; they also ended donations to some organizations in 2012. Before that point, Chick-Fil-A had provided millions in support, according to HuffPost, including the Family Research Council, which was deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

While many see this announcement as a win for the LGBT community, GLAAD, an LGBTQ rights organization, said to, “greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism,” according to CNN. Drew Anderson, GLAAD’s director of campaigns and rapid response, said, “In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents,” according to CNN

Chick-Fil-A still has a rocky relationship with the LGBT community, but perhaps this is a step in the right direction. Ending financial support for two homophobic organizations should provide some comfort to those who have criticized Chick-Fil-A in the past, and perhaps in the future the LGBT community can feel welcomed by a company that once felt like an enemy.