By Patrick B. Craine
Chick-fil-A has betrayed its Christian customers, and emboldened the LGBT mob. If you’re still defending them, then please, read on.
Chick-fil-A provoked the ire of the LGBT lobby in 2012 when its CEO Dan Cathy affirmed the Biblical view of marriage. But in the process they became a cultural icon for Christian conservatives, who flocked to the restaurant in droves. With their support, Chick-fil-A’s sales have more than doubled since 2012.
But after seven years of attacks from the LGBT mob, Chick-fil-A announced Nov. 18 that it would cease funding its remaining grantees that oppose same-sex “marriage,” including the Salvation Army.
Many of Chick-fil-A’s supporters, including LifeSite, have decried the decision as a capitulation.
At LifeSite, we have run countless articles over the years touting Chick-fil-A, and now we have taken a leading role in raising the alarm. We launched a petition to the company, garnering over 40,000 signatures so far. The American Family Association launched a petition that has grown even larger, with 102,000 signatures.
But Chick-fil-A has gone on the offensive, denying that it capitulated and claiming that its Christian mission remains as strong as ever. They managed to convince Franklin Graham, who sought to reassure Christians of Chick-fil-A’s commitments.
As a result, Chick-fil-A’s supporters have claimed the capitulation narrative is fake news, and have accused LifeSite and others of perpetuating a false story.
But that is wrong, and naïve.
Chick-fil-A did cave. Sure, they have kept God in their mission statement. Yes, they say they will remain closed on Sundays. They are keeping a soft Christian identity, for now. But where it’s hard – where the Gospel butts up against our culture of death and sexual licentiousness – they have indeed caved. And that’s where it counts.
Let’s remember that Chick-fil-A was clear when they announced the decision on Nov. 18 that defunding these groups was about rebranding in order to expand into new markets. The company’s president, Tim Tassopoulos, said:
There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are. There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.
The decision comes as Chick-fil-A is beginning to expand out of the U.S., into Canada and the U.K. Their new restaurant in Toronto faced immense backlash. And in London, England, the backlash was so severe that they are closing their first restaurant.
With a massive push from its Christian fan base, Chick-fil-A has skyrocketed to the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S. – behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks – with over $10 billion in revenue. Of course they want to expand now outside the U.S. But it appears they are willing to abandon their core customers to do it.
This was a flash point – a big cultural moment when the mob can declare victory in the public eye. But the reality is Chick-fil-A went off course very soon after Cathy’s comments in 2012, when they began withdrawing funding from the most ardently pro-family of the Christian groups they had been supporting, like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. In 2014, Cathy said that while he maintains his personal opposition to same-sex “marriage,” he had decided to keep quiet about it:
The bottom line is we have a responsibility here to keep the whole of the organization in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues.
Now, as supporters dig deeper, they’re seeing that Chick-fil-A has quietly been betraying their Christian customers for years. According to the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s IRS filings they have already been giving money to pro-abortion and leftist groups. Most shocking, as revealed Nov. 26 by pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger, Chick-fil-A donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a virulently anti-Christian group, and arguably one of the biggest agents of the soft persecution of faithful Christians in the U.S. today. It is famous for its “hate map” targeting pro-family groups that promote Biblical teaching on homosexuality.
In 2012 domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins cited their hate map as his inspiration after he entered the Family Research Council’s DC headquarters with the intention of gunning down its employees. In his backpack Corkins was carrying Chick-fil-A sandwiches, and intended to rub them in the faces of his victims. Thank God for the courage of FRC’s security guard Leonardo Johnson, who was shot while subduing Corkins.
And we learn now from the Family Research Council that Chick-fil-A never reached out to them even privately after the attack.
Yet five years later Chick-fil-A gave money to the very anti-Christian group that inspired the attack.
Chick-fil-A is continuing to tout its Christian values, remaining closed on Sundays, but as they abandon their principles, it’s beginning to appear that they are using the Gospel as a marketing tool.
This isn’t about the groups they are defunding. The Salvation Army, in particular, is not fully pro-life and I would not advocate giving them money. It’s about the message Chick-fil-A is sending by defunding them – and that is that they are distancing themselves from organizations that uphold a Biblical view of sexuality. They are capitulating to the LGBT mob, and emboldening them, showing that their persistence pays off. That we will cave if they come at us hard enough and long enough. And thus, Chick-fil-A is, in fact, encouraging the persecution of faithful Christians who cannot and will not capitulate.
The persecution is growing in Europe, North America, and around the world, and we need to be ready. It will take a heroic faith – deep conviction, and a willingness to give up everything. Christ is clear in the Gospel:
They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. … You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
You know what we should fear more than persecution? That the persecution would come, and we would miss it because of our own apathy. That our faith is so lukewarm that we’re not deemed worthy of suffering for it. We don’t seek out martyrdom – but we should make sure our conviction is worthy of it.