Chick-fil-A defended its donations to Christian groups which have been accused of being hostile to the LGBT community.
The two organizations the Chick-fil-A Foundation has been criticized for supporting are The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Both groups support the traditional view of marriage and reportedly exclude LGBT individuals from leadership positions, according to Business Insider.
The Salvation Army’s website states that it does not discriminate against people who identify as LGBT in their hiring practices or in who they serve. Further, it does provide marriage benefits to same-sex couples.
“Our mission is to the preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human need in His name without discrimination,” the website reads.
Rodney Bullard — executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation and Chick-fil-A’s vice president of corporate social responsibility — told Business Insider its contributions to The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes are directed at helping young people.
“The calling for us is to ensure that we are relevant and impactful in the community, and that we’re helping children and that we’re helping them to be everything that they can be,” Bullard said.
“For us, that’s a much higher calling than any political or cultural war that’s being waged,” he continued. “This is really about an authentic problem that is on the ground, that is present and ever present in the lives of many children who can’t help themselves.”
The foundation supports the Salvation Army’s camps for kids, as well as its Angel Tree Christmas gift program for families in need.
“The company’s support of Fellowship of Christian Athletes goes toward summer sports camps the Chick-fil-A Foundation has hosted for years to introduce inner-city Atlanta youth to new sports, such as golf, tennis, and archery,” Fox News reported.
In an October 2018 news release, Chick-fil-A said its foundation donated $1.6 million to FCA in 2017 and $150,000 to fund multiple Salvation Army programs.
“Our intention both at the corporate and restaurant level is to have a positive influence on our communities by donating to programs that benefit youth and education and are welcoming to all,” Bullard said at the time.
“We are proud of the impact we’ve been able to make so far, and we have a lot yet to do.”
The foundation partners with over 300 organizations, many of which are directed at helping low-income youth, according to Fox News.
The anger of some in the LGBT community directed against Chick-fil-A stems from CEO Dan Cathy voicing his support for traditional marriage in 2012.
“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,’” Cathy said at the time.
“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.”
At the time, the foundation had supported political groups which opposed same-sex marriage, including the Family Research Council, Business Insider reported.
In July 2012, as the controversy regarding Chick-fil-A was reaching a crescendo, the company announced, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” the statement added.
The company’s corporate purpose is: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
The Atlanta-based chain’s founder, the late S. Truett Cathy, once said, “We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.”
Story cited here.