Activist Faith

Activist Faith

The Great Chick-fil-A Debate

chickimages.jpgChick-fil-A recently donated food to an anti-gay marriage group and has been blasted in the media recently as a result. What should we make of this media uproar?

First, it would appear to me Chick-fil-A should be applauded for donating food to anyone. Businesses giving to others is are a big deal, regardless of the person, group, or reason. I don’t think anyone at corporate was thinking, “Let’s do something that will really offend gay activists.”

Second, the leader of Chick-fil-A has handled the media storm extremely well. In a video on Facebook, the company’s leader stated:


“In recent weeks, we have been accused of being anti-gay,” Cathy said
in a written statement last Saturday. “We have no agenda against

“While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of
marriage,” the statement continued, “we love and respect anyone who

What is interesting is the use of the word “agenda.” Chick-fil-A was doing something to help a group in their community. A local group affiliated with gay activism made a scene out of the donation. The agenda appears to be more on the side of the group who opposed the issue.

All that to say, I would rather be known for what I stand for rather than what I stand against. In this case, I stand for Chick-fil-A being able to give away food to whoever they want (I would gladly take some free waffle fries.).


Interestingly, my concern with the restaurant was that they still use Styrofoam cups and their food is not known for being organic, healthy, or the like. But that’s another topic for another day…


BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith.
Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has
investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books
include Undefending Christianity, Not in My Town (with Charles J.
Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at

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posted February 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I hope an openly gay organization asks one of their affiliates for free food. If they get it, we can maybe believe this guy. And I hope you’d applaud them for giving it.
And what about a meeting of, say, American Atheists? Think they’d give them sandwiches and fries?

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posted February 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

“I don’t think anyone at corporate was thinking, “Let’s do something that will really offend gay activists.”
I do. Maybe that’s because I can google. And read.
In part:
“the 2009 Marriage CoMission summit included guests like Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which has been among the most right-wing groups opposing gay marriage.”
“The New York Times reports a Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of a February marriage seminar by one of that state’s most outspoken groups against homosexuality has angered many who support gay rights.”
” Indiana University South Bend cut fast-food chicken patty wonder Chick-fil-A from its list of campus vendors after it was revealed that the restaurant would be supplying food free of charge for anti-gay event.”
“Southern fast food chain Chick-fil-A has caused an uproar with its support of anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family.”
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Florida – jeez Louise, how many examples does it take?
“While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage,” the statement continued, “we love and respect anyone who disagrees.”
Yeah, r-i-i-i-g-h-t. Let’s see them put their money where their mouth is and donate to a gay cause. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
“Chick-fil-A was doing something to help a group in their community.”
Yes, an ANTI-gay group! Odd that you failed to mention THAT! Speaking of an “agenda”. Your post is too selective by far. Sad to see in a “Christian”. Ain’t you supposed to be tellin’ THE TRUTH?
Read more:

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posted February 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Of course they have the right to give away food to whoever they like. But we also have the right to recognize it as a deliberate in-kind donation to a hate group, and to make our purchasing decisions accordingly. This wasn’t a case where a standing program of donated lunch to the Chamber of Commerce just happened to draw an anti-gay speaker one day. This was a company making a decision to take a strong position in a very divisive culture war issue, and one aimed at aggressively limiting the civil rights of a class of people. To my conscience, it is no different than supporting a white power group, and I will not spend my money as a consumer to underwrite such things. Others will disagree and that’s the genius of the free enterprise system.

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posted February 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm

kenneth, I haven’t eaten there in decades, but my wife, who likes to eat there, has given it up because of these actions of theirs.

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posted February 11, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I kind of suspected this, seeing as they’re the only fast food chain I know of that won’t open on Sundays. That’s pretty hardcore Christian, even for the South. But now that it’s been made so blatantly clear, I think I need to find some other place to eat. Plus, I’m trying to be more health-conscious lately and those waffle fries, delicious as they are, won’t help me lose weight.
“The agenda appears to be more on the side of the group who opposed the issue.”
I won’t deny it. We LGBT people have an agenda. But to paraphrase Mr. Cathy, we don’t have an agenda against anyone. We have an agenda for ourselves and others like us.

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posted February 12, 2011 at 7:32 am

Mr. Burroughs, I find it hard to believe you’re sufficiently naive to believe that Chick-fil-A’s donees such as Focus on the Family have less of an agenda than the anti-gays.
Heck, even the Chick-fil-A charitable arm has a definite anti-gay focus:

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not as good as YOU apparently

posted February 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm

from the link:
“Over the past few weeks, the restaurant chain’s deep ties to the anti-gay movement have been exposed and uncovered by a number of activists, most notably Jeremy Hooper at Good As You. Whether it’s Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, or Exodus International, Chick-fil-A ties run deep.”
“Chick-fil-A believes strongly that same-sex couples just don’t deserve equal rights.”
“Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, has been particularly active in the fight against marriage equality. They’ve hosted conferences with some of the leading opponents of gay marriage in this country. A higher up at WinShape has even praised the efforts of anti-gay activist David Blankenhorn for working against marriage equality, and for articulating a solid reason why American culture should reject same-sex couples.”
“WinShape Foundation’s Retreat Center — a center run by the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A — admits that they have a severe distaste for LGBT people.”
“We do not accept homosexual couples because of the statement in our contract.”
“Chick-fil-A is a restaurant where franchises frequently donate to anti-gay organizations like the Pennsylvania Family Institute, Focus on the Family and others. The restaurant’s charitable arm, WinShape, holds conferences for opponents of gay marriage and praises their work. And this charitable arm’s Retreat program puts a blanket ban on gay couples using their facilities, because they “do not accept homosexual couples.”
“Yet the President of Chick-fil-A still says that all people, including LGBT people, are treated with respect by the restaurant? Huh, what a funny definition of respect.”
Let there be NO MISTASKING: this is NOT just about ‘giving away food to whoever they want'; it’s about a company that is actively fighting against some citizens (and even some potential customers) not being treated equally before the law. This is beneath a group claiming the name of Christ who engtreated us to do to others as we would have done to ourselves, and to love our neighbors. This is NOT “love”. That you support them speaks volumes about YOUR ‘values’, DB.

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