No other fast-food chain pisses people off quite like Chick-fil-A. This week, the chicken chain has drawn the ire of Christians on Twitter who are upset with the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s decision to stop donating to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two organizations who have histories of making controversial statements about homosexuality.
Yesterday, Chick-fil-A announced it would “deepen its giving to a small number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness, and hunger,” and end its multiyear commitments to past charities, instead choosing to reassess their philanthropic partnerships on a yearly basis, a move that some Christians and conservatives see as caving to public scrutiny.
— Culper III (@CulperSpyRing) November 18, 2019
#ChickFilA shafting #SalvationArmy and #FellowshipOfChristianAthletes is a slap to any and all of us who have stood with them as they faced pressure and criticism. For them to buckle under pressure now is a sad and infuriating thing. I pray they find clarity.
— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) November 19, 2019
Does #ChickFilA understand it's now saying the @salvationarmy is a hate group by kowtowing? Does the management realize this? Did they not see the surge in sales as they held their ground against hate? https://t.co/OhtxoHNO0s
— Joe Pags Pagliarulo (@JoeTalkShow) November 18, 2019
In response to Chick-fil-A’s announcement, the Salvation Army released a statement writing, “We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education, and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed… We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.”
In fairness to The Salvation Army, they do, in fact, have a section on their website dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, however, the organization’s handbook has included references to biblical passages that could be interpreted as condemning sexual intimacy between members of the same sex in the past, according to Snopes, and has discriminated against transgender families on at least four occasions. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes on the other hand, requires employees to sign a purity statement that reads, “Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God,” and explicitly states on its website that “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”
Responding to the Twitter backlash, Chick-fil-A said in a statement to Market Watch “Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger. No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith-based.”
In contrast to those upset with Chick-fil-A’s decision, many on Twitter celebrated the announcement, ending their personal boycotts of the fast-food restaurant.
— Arby Em (@arby_em) November 19, 2019
— Fred-E-Bear (@EbearFred) November 18, 2019
It’s easy, when we see people on Twitter or in the media talk about boycotting brands because of their donation policies, to call them “keyboard crusaders” or act as if they’re missing the bigger picture. And yet clearly this sort of “voting with dollars”-based action can work. In this case, rather than “caving”, Chick-fil-A is actually helping create a more welcoming, inclusive world for us all. And in a time where chicken sandwiches are causing literal riots, a little extra inclusiveness is much appreciated.