Chick-fil-A capitulation to LGBT activists causes PR chaos

28 November 2019

Carys Moseley comments on the recent news that Chick-fil-A has stopped donating to explicitly Christian charities and started capitulating to the LGBT lobby.

Last week, American fast food chain Chick-fil-A issued a statement stating that it would stop donating money to the Salvation Army USA, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home: groups that have upheld the traditional Christian definition of marriage. Not only that, but Chick-fil-A has now given money to Covenant House, a charity working with homeless young people, which clearly supports the LGBT agenda.

This has been greeted with widespread criticism by many Christians and resulted in ongoing media coverage. However, some of the discussion has been confusing, with even some Christians arguing that it is not true that Chick-fil-A has capitulated to the attacks on it by LGBT activists in recent weeks.

British branches targeted

Whilst Chick-fil-A has long been targeted by LGBT activists in the USA due to CEO Dan Cathy’s support for traditional marriage, the most recent attacks have been due to its having opened its first UK branch in the Oracle shopping centre in Reading last month. Local LGBT activists called for it to be shut down. The result was that the Oracle said that it would not renew Chick-fil-A’s six-month lease once it was up.

Local LGBT activists in Reading were inconsistent however, in that they did not protest against Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the companies that partly owns Reading Oracle shopping centre. It is based in Abu Dhabi – not a part of the world which even tolerates homosexual behaviour. This hypocrisy was widely highlighted on social media but not in the press.

Reading election candidates divided over Chick-fil-A

The dispute over whether Chick-fil-A should be allowed to stay in Reading Oracle recently reached the UK general election campaign. Yemi Awolola, the candidate for the Christian People’s Alliance in Reading East, started a petition calling for Chick-fil-A’s six-month lease to be extended. The petition was attacked by Labour’s candidate Matt Roda, who was Reading East MP until recently, as well as by Liberal Democrat candidate Imogen Shepherd-Dubey. Mitchell Feierstein, the Brexit Party candidate, said that a private company should have the right to choose to whom it donates money, and that Reading Oracle should have the right to choose to which companies it would lease space.

Long history of slow capitulation

There is in fact evidence that Chick-fil-A has been slowly capitulating to the intimidation of LGBT activists for several years now. This started in 2011 when it stopped donating to organisations that were obviously orthodox and Biblically-based in their sexual ethics, such as Exodus International and Family Research Council in the USA. In 2012, Chick-fil-A had been attacked for donating more than 5 million US dollars to the Family Research Council.

Stopping donations happened then and it has just happened now. The difference now is that Chick-fil-A actually publicised the fact, and even announced proudly that they were now donating to pro-LGBT causes.

Chick-fil-A hires Canada’s premier gay lobbyist

In an interview with OneNewsNow, Charles McVety who is the president of the Institute for Canadian Values pointed out that Chick-fil-A was reported back in September as partnering with Navigator, a Canadian lobbying firm that is also Canada’s ‘number one gay lobbying firm’. The reason for this bizarre move was that Chick-fil-A had opened a store in Toronto, a very liberal-minded city, and faced protests. It needed help in order to produce positive PR to ensure its business success.

McVety sees this as a retrospective clue to Chick-fil-A’s now-complete capitulation to LGBT intimidation tactics.

Salvation Army statement shows up Chick-fil-A dishonesty

Chick-fil-A’s professed aim to concentrate on donating to charities that work on homelessness and hunger is unconvincing. This is because the Salvation Army is the largest social service provider to homeless and starving people in the world. In a statement released on 18 November, it said this:

“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. We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population.”

To say that you are focusing on helping the homeless and hungry whilst making a deliberate choice not to give to the Salvation Army is utterly disingenuous.

You cannot serve God and Mammon

Writing in the National Review John Hirschauer puts his finger on the ultimate problem here, which is that you cannot serve both God and Mammon at the same time. He rightly says that Chick-fil-A’s decision makes little financial sense, given that for many pro-LGBT people its past stance means it is irreversibly tainted, and that it is now getting on the nerves of Christian and conservative customers.

The fact is that Chick-fil-A saw a massive upswing in revenue after Dan Cathy’s stance in favour of traditional marriage in 2012 precisely because of that stance. The company seems to think that it can kick sand in the faces of all these new customers. It has given out mixed messages to Christians, not helped by the fact that someone as prominent as Franklin Graham has believed its narrative of sincerity. The result has been PR chaos for Chick-fil-A, perhaps well-deserved given its arrogance.

What lessons can be drawn from this unfortunate fiasco?

The freedom to give to Christian causes is at risk

Christians are called to give money to charitable causes, in particular Christian ones. The important question here is the attitude involved. In the ninth chapter of his second letter to the church in Corinth the Apostle Paul speaks effusively about giving to those in need, taking Christ’s incarnation as the model. He says that though Jesus Christ was rich he became poor for our sake, alluding to God becoming a man to die in our place.

Paul then says this:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

It is hard not to escape the conclusion that Chick-fil-A has changed its donation priorities under compulsion, perhaps more of an inner than an outer compulsion born of fear of yet more LGBT activists’ intimidation and shaming. God has promised that He will bless those who are generous in His Kingdom. He has never promised to bless giving to causes that attack Him as the creator. Christian businesses, take note.

Meanwhile, the fact that this controversy hit the general election should cause Christians across the UK to wake up. LGBT activists do not want businesses to give to organisations that uphold Biblical teaching on marriage and the family which are based on the book of Genesis and the teaching of Jesus Christ. This is a fundamental attack on the freedom of Christians, especially Christian organisations, to give money. The opposition will never stop there. There are plenty of businesses, especially large corporations that support Pride events. What was the point of one of the few corporations that donated to the Salvation Army and other Christian organisations to cave in in this manner? LGBT ‘allies’ in politics have now ensured that this is a political issue in the UK. We must fight to ensure that coercion to prevent Christians giving to godly causes does not win the day, and that Christians are never coerced into giving to ungodly causes.

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