Chick-Fail-A: Sundays And Minds Closed At Delicious-Yet-Intolerant Chicken Chain

on 2 November, 2011

NYU has, as we all know, the only Chick-Fil-A in New York. It’s delicious. It’s also owned by a company that has a pretty heavy Christian grounding, part of which apparently involves donating $2 million to various anti-gay groups in 2009. Uh-oh. It’s been a pretty established fact that Chick-Fil-A’s Christian agenda skews into “sanctity of marriage” territory, but the level of donations in 2009 were more than 2003-2008 put together, which is really inexcusable.

The LGBT advocacy group Equality Matters did a little audit of Chick-Fil-A’s donations, recorded via IRS forms, and discovered that Winshape, the chicken chain’s charitable donation arm, spreads around cash to Christian groups like they spread salt on my waffle fries. Turns out, a lot of those Christian groups have names like “Focus on the Family” and “Marriage & Family Legacy Fund” with histories of anti-gay activism. So about those waffle fries?

It could be argued that some of the organizations, such as Fellowship Of Christian Athletes or National Christian Foundation, are not explicitly anti-gay in their primary agenda, but rather in resultant ideology—i.e., Christian first, anti-gay second. That doesn’t excuse the $994,199 donation to Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, which is explicitly anti-gay, and also owned by the senior vice-president of Chick-Fil-A. (Come on!)

Those kinds of shenanigans have led to national student protests, calling for their schools to boycott Chick-Fil-A as anti-gay. NYU didn’t really participate, owing to the fact that we really, really like our Chick-Fil-A. Even WSN‘s fiery op-ed accusing them of “financially supporting bigotry and hate” backed off of calling for a boycott or any kind of real action; unrelated, the author’s favorite sauce is “Polynesian, but the honey mustard is a passable second.” (That was in the op-ed.)

The family-owned company’s president, Dan Cathy, disagreed with the characterization a few months ago, saying “While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.” But he can’t speak for the rest of the franchise. When an organization injects ideology into its corporate philosophy, it risks it being implemented in controversial ways. Cathy might not be intolerant of gays himself, but his organization has tacitly and openly accepted those who are, and the most we can do is not eat their chicken. Their delicious, crispy chicken.