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

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.

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  1. Abe Gutierrez says

    So the don’t eat the damned chicken and get on with it. No one is forcing you to eat it, and if you don’t support the mindset behind Chik-Fil-A, well then less waffle fries for you. Boycotting Chik-Fil-A would be dumb, as there are plenty of people here at NYU as well that do not support gay marriage, and should not be penalized for being the minority. It isn’t too difficult to do, and while I realize I am probably going to be attacked via the following comments, I stand by my decision. Let those of us who don’t care about Chik-Fil-A’s ideology eat what we want, and those of you who don’t support the organization have a myriad of options at other dining halls, as well all over the city. Don’t ruin it for everyone else.

  2. Kyle Zinn says

    Two comments,

    1. “Christian first, anti-gay second”

    So everything that is Christian is anti-gay? How about the thousands of churches who are open and accepting of gays, or the hundreds more that are ran by openly gay clergy? There’s a huge array of beliefs on homosexuality under the umbrella of Christianity, and to create such a causality is either ignorant or intentionally misleading. There are plenty of of Christian organizations that are providing great services to society without having any influence or opinion on the the topic of homosexuality. Should we also boycott anyone who supports Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, World Vision, AA.. etc?

    2. I’m with Abe. Let the free market decide. The owner of a business can give any money to whoever they see fit, and we all have the choice to patronize them or not. If a large enough percentage of consumers chose not to support the business based on its ideological divestitures, then that company will fail to be profitable, and therefore will be unable to further support the cause in question. I don’t see why a group of students (presumably smaller than the aforementioned percentage) lobbying to the administration is in any way democratic, free, or fair.

  3. Hilary G says

    Thanks for putting this information out there. Lots of students at NYU would not choose to support such a franchise if they knew their money was going to oppressive efforts. I think it’s important to remember that the “free market” isn’t exactly deciding what NYU students eat, the university grants concessions to corporations to sell food to students on campus, and assuming that students have any say at all in the decisions the university makes (which is allegedly the case, i’m told) we should be making informed decisions and, if we choose, we are well within our rights to pressure the university to get rid of the franchise.

  4. Nikki S. says

    I don’t like Chic-Fil-A anyways. There’s nothing great about it in my opinion. We don’t have it back home and I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything by not eating their chicken or other products. The waffle fries are pretty good I’ll give them that.

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