Do Not Leave Your Friends in Battle: Chick-Fil-A and the Culture Wars

Written by on November 20, 2019

By Rhett Burns

Chick-Fil-A announced this week it is restructuring the company’s charitable giving. Instead of donating to more than 300 organizations, the company will give to three partners focusing on three specific issues: education, homelessness, and hunger.

Among those organizations no longer receiving funds from Chick-Fil-A is the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two organizations that have drawn ire from the LGBTQ+ lobby in recent years. As Chick-Fil-A has expanded into new cities and regions it has fought off sharp and increasing criticism for its association with these groups. 

Apparently, they’ve had enough fighting.

To be fair, neither the Salvation Army nor FCA is entitled to money from Chick-Fil-A. The company fulfilled their multi-year agreement with both organizations and is free to direct its charitable giving where it pleases, with no obligation to continue to fund any organization indefinitely. Further, Chick-Fil-A maintains they will not exclude faith-based charities from donations. 

Even taking all that into consideration, it’s hard not to believe they caved. In fact, they caved in the precise way one would expect a large profitable Christian organization to cave: very respectably and with a polished cover story. They raised a white flag of surrender in such a way as to offer plausible deniability to their base: See, it wasn’t a rainbow flag.  

Or was it? One of Chick-Fil-A’s new partners is Covenant House International, an organization that helps 70,000 homeless, runaway, and trafficked youth each year. But where does Covenant House stand on the issue in question? From their website: 

“It’s critical, then, that Covenant House, the largest provider of services to youth facing homelessness in the Americas, ensure that our houses are welcoming, affirming, and safe for LGBTQ youth and all youth experiencing homelessness.”

The key word there is affirming. The Salvation Army, the largest social services provider in the world, already welcomed and provided a safe place for homeless LGBTQ persons. But they were not doctrinally affirming. They will not receive funding while Covenant House will.

Let that sink in. The Chick-Fil-A Foundation is now funding the affirmation of dishonorable passions among children (Rom 1:26). Someone please tell me how this is not caving, especially from a company that built its reputation by promoting and adhering to Christian values.

Or has compliance become the dominant Christian value nowadays?

Courage is in short supply and cool-shame is at a surplus. In such an environment, nice, compliant Christians are easily embarrassed and, thus, easily steered. This is not an uncommon phenomenon these days. 

But I did not take Chick-Fil-A to be among the compliant. Despite choosing to honor the Sabbath by closing on Sundays and enduring consistent smear-campaigns by leftists, the company has grown to be the third-largest chain in the country. In fact, it has doubled its sales over the last decade since first being attacked as “anti-gay.” While they did halt political donations after the controversy heated up several years ago, the company has mostly stood firm, all the while smiling and making delicious chicken. 

No more. 

Chick-Fil-A gave way at the very point it was demanded they do so. They caved at the precise cultural pressure point. Spokesmen have tried to spin it as a restructuring. They’ve tried to carve out a space of neutrality, a half-way house where they only offer a pinch of incense to the gay emperor, while trying to convince the rest of us they’ve only become localists.

But there is no neutrality. It was not enough to stop donating to politicians who opposed same-sex marriage. It was not enough to stop donating to groups who opposed gay rights. This latest move will not be enough either, as GLAAD made clear. Chick-Fil-A will not satisfy the LGBTQ+ mafia until it becomes Sprite, airing commercials with teenage drag queens.

Chick-Fil-A may not want war, but war wants them. Sometimes we do not get to choose our battles. This is just part of living in God’s world, where he writes the stories. Our job is to be faithful characters when we find a sword in our hands and enemies at our gates.

Our job is not to leave our friends in battle. That is what Chick-Fil-A has done. The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes have paid a heavy price for its convictions about sexuality, and have done so, in part, because of their connection to Chick-Fil-A. Now, the company has abandoned them in the middle of the fight because, presumably, it was not profitable to stand by their friends.

But these charitable organizations are not the only friends they have deserted in battle. They have also left their loyal customers, the very ones who rallied to their defense during previous seasons of economic bullying. These loyal customers see compromise and decay everywhere they look. Everything is woke and gay—business, government, media, even religion. For them, Chick-Fil-A carried the mantle of sanity in an insane public square. They stood firm and they dominated the market. And they dominated the market because their customers were loyal because they stood firm. With this latest move, they turned their back on their friends.

Chick-Fil-A was known for its courage, kindness, and profitability. Now, all three are in question.

And it is not my pleasure to say so. 

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