Why it isn't okay to eat Chick-fil-A if you support LGBTQ and Women's Rights

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Chick-fil-A, a fast food chain with over 2,200 stores nationwide, has come under fire, once again, for making contributions to anti-LGBTQ organizations.

The controversy is part of a growing movement of evangelical leaders and organizations claiming that companies, often organized as S-Corps or LLCs, also have religious beliefs and can therefore claim religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws and provisions requiring coverage of contraceptives and reproductive health care.

But where this controversy gets murky and harder to immediately point out is that Chick-fil-A funnels contributions through a charitable foundation, a separate organization setup to award and distribute charitable contributions. To make it more confusing, the charitable contributions also go to nonprofit organizations, which requires further investigation on the part of the interested party.

So often people are unawares, on the surface, of where money is flowing. And that’s where digging into Chick-fil-A’s history and contributions is important.

In 2017, Chick-fil-A gave nearly $2 million to anti-LGBTQ organizations

In tax filings that was “proactively” realised (according to one of their statements), Chick-fil-A gave $1.8 million to organizations that have a record of taking anti-LGBTQ stances or having discriminatory policies. Here’s a breakdown of the organizations in question:

Fellowship of Christian Athletes received $1,653,416

In defense of their contributions to this organization, Chick-fil-A notes that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes uses the funds for sports and school programs for inner-city youth. Sounds great, right? How can anyone not support such an organization? That’s where we need to look for the devil in the details (no pun intended).

The goal of the organization, as listed on their website, is “challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful platform of sport to reach every coach and every athlete with the transforming power of Jesus Christ.” This is accomplished through “ministries,” a fancy word for Christian programs.

But again it takes a little more digging to figure out what exactly this means, especially as it relates to their anti-gay beliefs. In their Statement of Faith, two very important paragraphs have to be parsed:

We believe God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the context of marriage. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9)

We believe that God created all human beings in His image. Therefore, we believe that human life is sacred from conception to its natural end; that we must honor the physical and spiritual needs of all people; following Christ’s example, we believe that every person should be treated with love, dignity and respect. (Psalm 139:13; Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 22:37-39; Romans 12:20-21; Galatians 6:10)

For non-profit organizations, statements like these are developed through an arduous process of board meetings and careful, intentional drafting. These often are the opening paragraphs of lettes asking for funding and grants to support the organization’s mission in frutherance of its vision and the values they promote.

So, here, they believe that (1) marriage is between a man and a woman and (2) that life begins at conception and therefore a woman does not have a right to bodily autonomy.

The further you dig down, the more you’ll dig up. In a 2014 post, one of their contributors wrote:

I’m sick of soft, spineless Christianity… Jude knew Satan had certain people creeping into the church who were denying the sole authority of Christ and perverting the grace of God into sensuality, much like those in Sodom and Gomorrah who perverted God’s design for sexual intimacy (between a married man and woman) to homosexual misconduct (which God refers to as unnatural).

This sinful mindset exists today as homosexuality and sex outside of marriage have crept into the church’s thinking, often labeling mature Christians standing firmly for Biblical truth as unloving intolerants.

For students who want to be leaders in the ministry programs, FCA requires that they conform to the Sexual Purity Policy in their application, which states:

The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.

Underlying these policies is the oft-repeated stigma that homosexuals are perverts and pedophiles and that they have no place anywhere near our students and kids. In addition, they argue that you can “love the Sinner and hate the sin,” meaning that you can disagree with a person being LGBTQ while somehow also being able to love them for who they are.

But who you are attracted to and who you love isn’t a choice. It isn’t something that you can partition from a person.

One of the ways in which they try to paint being queer as a choice is by painfully trying to draw a distinction between “Love” and “Sexual Relationship,” painting sex as an action and a choice.

But Love is also an action and, for many, sex can be and is an act of love when it is on the basis of mutual respect, consent, safety and communication. The response from evangelical circles to this is that homosexuality is unhealthy and unnatural and therefore harmful and thus harming another person is not love.

But this is an appeal to the extreme. Are there some health consequences? For sure. HIV and STDs are problems LGTBQ people deal with, too. But they’re not limited to LGBTQ people.

When sex can be and is an act of love when it is on the basis of mutual respect, consent, safety, and communication. Being LGBTQ or having sex outside of marriage, when coupled with consensual and safe sex practices, is in fact healthier to a persons pyshiological and psychological well-being than forcing or brainwashing a person to believe that abstaining from who they are is better for them.

But back to the topic at hand, Chick-fil-A has made donations to other anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Other organizations received $156,000

According to a ThinkProgress report, the Paul Anderson Youth Home “teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is ‘rage against Jesus Christ and His values.’” That organization received $6,000.

Like it or not, when you buy Chick-fil-A, your money is supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Think twice before you buy that chicken sandwich or meal at Chick-fil-A. Does giving your money to a business that uses some of that money to support homophobic organizations really taste that good?
It may seem like a small issue to you if you are a straight and cisgender person, but that’s the privilege talking. As a straight and cisgender person, you don’t have worry about being targeted. So all LGBTQ people are asking is that you be an ally and #BoycottChickFilA.