Several years ago in driving by a Chick-fil-A, a question on its marquee was so striking that I turned around, drove back and took a picture. It said: “The battle is coming. What side are you on?”
Every loyal Chick-fil-A patron knew what that question meant. We had stood with Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family in 2012, when they were viciously attacked by anti-American efforts designed to shut down their business because S. Truett Cathy dared to stand boldly for timeless Judeo-Christian principles.
People of faith, as well as Americans who had never ventured into the culture war but loved Chick-fil-A chicken and knew coercion when they saw it, poured into Chick-fil-A restaurants. The crowds overflowed onto the sidewalks, and lines snaked around the eateries in a massive show of solidarity for the company. A very close bond was cemented between the customers and the business, as families fell in love with a modern American hero that was Chick-fil-A.
Moms and dads of faith have long pointed their children to Chick-fil-A with hearts full of gratitude for their adherence to a faith that causes them to close each week in honor of the Sabbath. Even people who don’t go to church admire the business for the practice. It is unusual, to say the least, when the fight to the top is often marked by greed.
Mr. Cathy and Chick-fil-A became symbols of courage at a time in America when foundational principles are increasingly under attack by leftists. When Mr. Cathy refused to buckle to political correctness and instead continued to boldly but lovingly promote the timeless principles of faith, freedom and family, Americans rallied to his cause.
Mr. Cathy knew he was on the cusp of the growing culture war over basic American tenets, and he ran his company not only as a victor, but in a manner that taught others how to take a stand and win. Always placing principles and people first, he proved that you can still succeed when you provide a great product that people want, in a manner that honors God.
When the news recently broke that Chick-fil-A has decided that The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are no longer worthy to receive Chick-fil-A’s funding specifically for espousing the values that Chick-fil-A itself once famously and successfully defended, the nation was shocked.
As the disturbing facts have continued to unfold, it is becoming painfully evident that the company is in the midst of collapsing from within. What the enemies of Chick-fil-A and freedom could not do, Chick-fil-A is rapidly doing to itself.
IRS records show that Chick-fil-A started abandoning S. Truett Cathy’s principles several years ago as it began quietly funding LGBTQ and abortion activists, along with the radical, hateful and divisive Southern Poverty Law Center.
Chick-fil-A’s ceasing to fund The Salvation Army is just the final step in declaring which side of the culture war Chick-fil-A is now leaning.
As Salvation Army bells ring this Christmas season in a mighty chorus across the nation on behalf of feeding and assisting the needy, every toll of every bell will cause people to ponder the current sad state of Chick-fil-A.
When driving by one of their restaurants over the years, I would often whisper a prayer of thanks for the bold example of Christian faith that S. Truett Cathy and later his son, Dan Cathy, displayed before the world.
In a time when Christian business men and women are routinely attacked and sued for simply living out their faith, the Cathy family has inspired millions with their courage and humility. Now we feel abandoned and hurt.
President Ronald Reagan taught us “personnel is policy.” Today, my earnest prayer is that Dan Cathy will see his way clear to rooting out employees within the company who are destroying its Christian legacy and all that his father worked so hard to build. Since the problem has obviously been festering below the surface for several years, it won’t be easy.
But Dan Cathy can count on his loyal base to again rally to his side if he chooses to do the right thing. It’s not a question of supplying a great product, because everyone knows that Chick-fil-A chicken is delicious. But it’s never been just about the chicken for Chick-fil-A’s most fervent fans.
The only question now is one for Dan Cathy: “The battle is coming. What side are you on?”
⦁ Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected].
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