I don’t believe I’ve seen a fast food chain make the headlines as much in a short span of time as Chick-fil-A has this past summer. And with an upcoming campus forum to discuss student feelings about the addition of the franchise on campus, it’s clear the controversy is still present.
The controversy arose when the company’s president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy gave an interview to the Baptist Press in which he affirmed the company’s Christian beliefs and stated he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting traditional marriage. The interview helped to bring the spotlight back to Chick-fil-A’s contributions to anti-gay groups, resulting in boycotts, threats to block future franchising options and an outpouring of support from the chain’s most vocal supporters. The supporters of the chain have painted those opposing Cathy’s views and actions as attacking his and the chain’s Christian beliefs. However, in this case the opposition may have the higher ground.
For the record, Chicago mayor Rham Emanuel and Boston mayor Thomas Menino are in the wrong for suggesting legislation should be introduced barring the chain from opening new franchises in their cities. This comes off as a knee-jerk reaction that has unsettling implications. Luckily, this hasn’t come to represent all those who oppose the company’s actions. Even the American Civil Liberties Union, frequently painted as a liberal organization, has voiced their willingness to fight such bans. While there may be no place for such bans, there is a need for people to take a close look at this company’s track record of supporting hate-groups.
Imagine, if you will, a major restaurant or shopping chain making monetary donations to the Westboro Baptist Church. Would you necessarily be comfortable patronizing these establishments after learning of these donations? Chick-fil-A hasn’t been too far off. The WinShape Foundation, started by founder Truett Cathy and financed almost primarily on the chain’s profits, has made charitable donations to many faith-based groups, including the likes of the Family Research Council.
The Family Research Council is a group that has been labeled a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and it’s not hard to see why. The organization has frequently preached the mongrelization of homosexuals. The following are quote is from FRC President Tony Perkins
“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. It is a homosexual problem,” said Perkins in 2010. This is not an isolated quote either.
Dan Cathy can have whatever beliefs he wants to on same-sex marriage. But when he and his company unabashedly support groups like the FRC, they and their supporters ought to accept that people will voice their opposition to them. This isn’t about Chick-fil-A supporting religion. This is about Chick-fil-A standing up against human rights and the values of this country.
Reach columnist Rob Nielsen at