Chick-fil-A is in the news again. The popular fast food chain is facing the intolerance of those who disapprove of their past moral stands on issues. Tolerance is a one-way street.
Virtue-signaling at Airports
On March 25, 2019, the San Antonio City Council approved a contract to provide food service in the San Antonio International Airport in Texas. In the real world, agreements like these are written and passed without notice or fanfare.
This contract vote was different because it contained a clause that prohibited the opening of a Chick-fil-A outlet. The Georgia-based chicken sandwich purveyor was not excluded because of its food quality. There is no evidence of any shady financial dealings. Nor was Chick-fil-A’s pricing model too high or its customer service standard too low.
Chick-fil-A was excluded for only one reason, summed up by Councilman Roberto Treviño in an NBC news article, “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
San Antonio’s action was linked to a report from the progressive group “Think Progress.” It stated that “In 2017, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave more than $1.8 million to a trio of groups with a record of anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The donations — $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and $150,000 to the Salvation Army — actually represent a slight increase from the previous year.”
The city council gave the company no opportunity to explain or defend its position.
Less than a week later, the authority running Buffalo’s airport in New York also denied passengers the opportunity to purchase Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Neither the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority nor its concessionaire, Delaware North, directly connected their action with the activists. They preferred to call it a business decision.
The Origin of the Conflict
Truett Cathy founded the Chain in 1946. Like most businesses at the time, their locations were closed on Sunday. Unlike its competitors, the Cathy family maintained that standard to allow for Sunday worship and family time. Eventually, this stand caused conflict with mall managers who insisted that they operate seven days a week. Chick-fil-A refused to back down, and because the chain was so popular, the mall managers acquiesced.
The growing chain was noted for its generous corporate giving, much of it faith-based. This pattern attracted little notice until 2011 when homosexual activists realized that the receiving charities opposed homosexual practice. Pro-homosexual and liberal activists decided to flex their muscle by boycotting the restaurants in 2012.
The boycotts failed miserably and provoked a massive backlash unlike any ever seen. Without any serious national co-ordination, August 1, 2012, became “Chick-fil-A Day” throughout the nation. Customers, including some who had never eaten there before, waited in long lines to show their support for the company’s right to take a stand on marriage. Receipts for the day hit a company record.
Conservatives also have never forgotten the stand of Chick-fil-A, and many still patronize the outlet for its pro-family, pro-America positions.
The Company Tries to Mend Fences
In 2014, Dan Cathy, the son who took over the running of the company after his father’s retirement and subsequent death, tried to take a misguided middle position. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed him.1
“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…. By recognizing the mistakes that you make, [you] learn from those mistakes.”
Despite the outpouring of support for the company’s position, Mr. Cathy wrongly believes one of those mistakes was supporting opposition to same-sex “marriage.” He added that his personal views had not changed, “I think the time of truths and principles are captured and codified in God’s word and I’m just personally committed to that.”
In 2015, the Daily Beast reported that a Nashville area franchisee helped to sponsor a “pro-gay film festival.” Apparently, there were no repercussions from the home office.
The current company statement differentiates between the restaurant’s and the family foundation’s activities, “While some have questioned the motives behind our donations, we want to take a moment to reiterate the mission and focus of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, which has always been and always will be to donate to programs that support a diverse array of youth and educational programs nationwide.”
Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A has prospered to the point that it can easily survive rejection by a couple of airports and municipalities. In 2018, it reported $10 billion in revenue, up from a reported $9 billion in 2017 and just under $8 billion in 2016. Owning a Chick-fil-A franchise is highly profitable, the 2017 average gross income being $4.4 million, according to The Daily Caller. Business Insider attributes this success to a commitment to employee training and willingness to help those employees achieve their career goals, both inside and outside of the company. Happy employees create happy customers.
So What’s the Problem?
However, the pro-homosexual lobby has never forgiven Chick-fil-A for its earlier stand in defense of marriage. Even Dan Cathy’s efforts to soften this stance by referring to it as a mistake have gone unrewarded by liberals. They still hate Chick-fil-A, even though they have found nothing illegal or discriminatory on the part of the company itself.
Those charitable donations can explain only part of this animosity. Consider the contributions listed by the “Think Progress” to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Salvation Army. Their statement mentions all three. It points out that the youth home got only $6,000 out of a total charitable budget of $9.9 million, and had since been dropped from their list, “after a blog post surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
The problem is that neither the Fellowship of Christian Athletes nor the Salvation Army is willing to accept the practice of homosexuality. As the name implies, the FCA is primarily an organization that promotes morality and sportsmanship to student-athletes. The Salvation Army is best known as an organization that helps the homeless. Within both organizations, their objections to homosexuality are consistent with a rejection of any sexual relationship outside of marriage.
All of this proves that the pro-homosexual agenda demands nothing short of total support for every item of their radical agenda. The only way Chick-fil-A could have redeemed itself would have been for it to grovel and beg for forgiveness for past “sins.” The outlet would also have to donate to pro-homosexual causes and issue regular statements of support. A couple of open and avowed homosexuals should have been appointed to the board of directors of both the company and the foundation to ensure that all future decisions would be in line with their politics and supposed ethics.
For these people, there is no middle ground. They will never forget past offenses. Only unconditional surrender will be tolerated by those who demand the tolerance of others. This used to be called hypocrisy. Now it is known as social justice and “compassion” and should be totally rejected.