Is Chick-Fil-A Really Changing Their Stance On Anti-LGBTQ Donations?

by | Nov 22, 2019 | QUEER RVA

We have reason to believe that the religiously-guided chicken sandwich chain is being given more credit than they deserve. If you read this article, you’ll see why.

Back at the beginning of this week, you couldn’t escape discussion of the fact that Chick-Fil-A would no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ donations. That, in fact, was the headline of the article CNN ran on Monday, November 18: “Chick-fil-A will no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ organizations.”

This was cause for both joy and sorrow. Advocate proclaimed this decision by the chain a victory for LGBTQ activists. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who earlier this year signed the “Save Chick-Fil-A” bill to force San Antonio’s airport to accept a Chick-Fil-A franchise, publicly declared his intention to boycott the fast-food chain over their decision. A lot of social media users proclaimed themselves to have made the same decision on Twitter.

But what’s really going on here? Did Chick-Fil-A really ever commit to making no more donations to groups with anti-LGBTQ policies? As you could probably predict, it’s way more complicated than that. What Chick-Fil-A said in the statement all these articles were based on was that they were “introducing a more focused giving approach… Staying true to its mission of nourishing the potential in every child, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger.”

As a result of this change in policy, they would be focusing donations in the immediate future on the education-focused Junior Achievement USA and the homelessness-focused Covenant House International. Those donations and $25,000 donations to local food banks on the occasion of each new Chick-Fil-A location opening would be the the sole donations the fast-food chain would make in 2020.

This wasn’t done specifically to end donations to anti-LGBTQ groups. Indeed, as a result of this decision, Chick-Fil-A ended donations not just to the three anti-LGBTQ organizations they’d previously donated to, but to over 80 organizations that had received donations from the chain in the previous year.

In a statement quoted by Fox Business, Tim Tassopoulos, President and COO of Chick-Fil-A, said that the new fundraising decisions were based on more strictly targeted goals. “Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger,” he stated. He further refused to rule out any future donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations.

“No organization will be excluded from future consideration – faith based or non-faith based,” stated Tassopoulos.

Therefore, despite the effect of their changed donation policy being that they will give no money to anti-LGBTQ groups in 2020, there’s no reason to see this policy change as indicative of any change in their anti-LGBTQ stance. That’s true regardless of whether or not they plan to give any more money to anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — who, let’s not forget, has received over $2 million from Chick-Fil-A in the past two years.

Meal from Chick-Fil-A
Photo via Chick-Fil-A

No less an anti-LGBTQ authority on the evangelical right than Franklin Graham confirmed this with a post on his Facebook page Thursday. Beginning the post with the question, “Has Chick-Fil-A caved?” Graham went on to describe a phone call he’d had with Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A — the one whose commentary back in 2012 made everyone aware of the fast-food chain’s anti-LGBTQ beliefs and policies.

“Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” Graham wrote in the post. “They will continue to support whoever they want to support. They haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values. Dan Cathy assured me that this isn’t going to change. I hope all those who jumped to the wrong conclusion about them read this.”

Did you jump to the wrong conclusion? Did you think maybe you could stop ordering your chicken sandwiches from Popeyes and go back to the fast-food chain that claims to have started it all?

Look, it’s your money, and no one at GayRVA is going to tell you how to spend it. But what we will tell you is that, if you were avoiding Chick-Fil-A due to their anti-LGBTQ stances before, you have no reason to stop doing so now.

Top Photo via Chick-Fil-A

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.

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