Last week, USA Today reported that the fast-food chicken chain received criticism on its Facebook page about “caving in” to pressure from a Chicago-based group The Civil Rights Agenda.
TCRA reportedly told the media that Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno had confirmed that the company would no longer donate to anti-gay organizations.
Chick-fil-A responded by releasing a statement that didn't explicitly declare whether its policy had changed, saying only that it was committed to “treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation,” the newspaper reported.
Talk of the company possibly backing away from giving to what some see as controversial, faith-based organizations drew the ire of some supporters on Facebook.
Reports in the media and the subsequent backlash prompted Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy to release a statement clarifying the company’s intent on former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s website.
“There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago,” Cathy said. “That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”
Both those who support Chick-fil-A and others who don’t weighed in on Facebook about Cathy’s statement.
“Chick fil a has every right to say what they believe. They can even donate money where ever they feel like. That is what makes a free country which is no government control. Other groups/people can disagree and not eat at chick fil a. If your a liberal or conservative keep this in mind. The more government controls the worse it gets,” wrote Alex Idk.
Paul Komar, Jr. wrote that Cathy should keep his views to himself.
“Never ate at chick-fil-a, Never will! Cathy, keep hiding behind Jesus, I'm a Christian, too and I'm sick and tired of folks like Cathy thinking that they have "all the truth" on this or any other matter. Let him hold his views, but quit telling the world that "his views," are the views of the Christian Faith. It ain't so, Mr. Cathy, NO college campus or tolerant city will have you!”
The most recent debate regarding Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay marriage comes nearly two months after statements Cathy made about the company supporting marriage as defined in the Bible. That sparked calls for a boycott from gay rights activists and prompted a one-day “buy-in” in which supporters of the company lined up around Chick-fil-As to purchase food.
Below is the recent statement Chick-fil-A released concerning its corporate donations.
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.