The son of Chick-fil-A’s founder has responded to the concerns of a Christian ministry that defended two other well-known ministries that were dropped by the Christian-based fast food chain.
“We inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years,” Dan Cathy wrote in the letter to Tim Wildmon, who leads the Mississippi-based American Family Association.
Cathy’s letter, dated December 5, addresses the backlash that came in mid-November when the public learned Chick-fil-A’s non-profit foundation was ending donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as part of a new “charitable giving structure” approved by the foundation’s board.
Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A’s president and COO, made the announcement to Bisnow.com, a business website, and the story was picked up by the well-read Drudge Report and quickly went viral.
Founded in 1946 by Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A already stood out from its fast food competitors for its Christian-based corporate culture, but the Atlanta-based company became a hated enemy of the Left in 2012 after Dan Cathy shared his personal biblical views about marriage with a reporter. Since then, LGBT activists and liberal public officials continue to fight the company’s expansion onto city blocks, college campuses, and even airports.
An unnamed Chick-fil-A executive told Bisnow the corporation has been “taking it on the chin” ever since Cathy’s remarks went public, and now the country’s most popular fast food chain is attempting to expand into new markets where it is unwelcome.
AFA and other conservative groups predictably viewed the announcement as surrendering to the culture, with The Salvation Army and FCA becoming the first victims of a left-wing turn.
“We understand Chick-fil-A can support whatever groups it wants but we wanted to protect the reputation of FCA and the Salvation Army,” Ed Vitagliano, an AFA executive vice president, tells OneNewsNow.
Pointing to Cathy’s letter, the AFA spokesman says it was important that Cathy referred to “outstanding organizations” that were wrongly discredited.
“Because that means [Cathy] understands, and Chick-fil-A understands,” says Vitagliano, “that these two organizations are not hate groups and that was important for a lot of evangelicals.”
OneNewsNow has reported, in fact, that The Salvation Army devotes an entire section of its website to helping homosexuals, lesbians, and transgenders with temporary shelter, job training, substance abuse counseling, meals, and teen suicide prevention.
Wildmon, in an “Action Alert” sent to AFA supporters, called Cathy’s defense of the non-profits a “welcomed clarification” and echoed Vitagliano’s comment that his defense of them means a lot to evangelical Christians.
Wildmon also told supporters that AFA will continue to “monitor” the corporate giving after Chick-fil-A chose to partner with Covenant House International, which helps homeless youth.
“We do not believe Covenant House has a biblical view of sexuality,” Vitagliano explains, “and so that was pretty surprising to us that Chick-fil-A would be sponsoring an organization that is affirming of homosexuality.”
Cathy’s letter to Wildmon stated that Truett Cathy was “deeply committed to his Christian faith,” and said his children share that “deep conviction” to live out their faith “by serving with generosity and humility in the marketplace.”
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