After accusations that it's caving in to gay activist pressure in exchange for opening a restaurant in Chicago, Chick-fil-A is seeking to clarify its position.
The fast-food restaurant, on the cusp of replacing KFC as the nation's largest chicken chain, has been in the national spotlight this week, once again concerning their stance on same-sex marriage.
As Charisma News previously reported, Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno confirmed that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations, and he will no longer block construction of the restaurant in his city.
This news angered many conservative Christians who turned out in droves for “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in August, setting company sales records. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee started the campaign after the company's president, Dan Cathy, confirmed his views on biblical marriage in July.
Citizen Link, a Focus on the Family affiliate, reports that Chick-fil-A and its charitable giving arm, WinShape Foundation, have not agreed “to stop making donations to groups that support the biblical definition of marriage in exchange for being allowed to open a franchise in Chicago.”
The fast-food restaurant released a statement Wednesday, but it did not confirm or deny Moreno's reports. The chicken chain released a second statement on its website Thursday:
“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.
“A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.
“As we have stated, 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. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators.
“For better understanding of our corporate giving, please click here to download the PDF document titled 'Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.'”
Detroit Free Press reports that Moreno spokesman Matthew Bailey says Chick-fil-A officials showed Moreno IRS 990 forms to prove they hadn't been giving to anti-gay groups in a meeting three weeks ago. Bailey said this, along with the company's pledge to treat all people with respect, prompted the alderman to drop his opposition against the company's building plans.
Although some were quick to criticize the 66-year-old restaurant for “caving” to political pressure, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly said that is not what happened.
“Dan and Bubba Cathy are my Christian brothers and good friends. They and their company have long shared Focus on the Family’s commitment to helping build strong and thriving families—and they have in no way deviated from that deeply held and biblically inspired passion while working with the city of Chicago to open Chick-fil-A restaurants there,” Daly says.