A popular talk show host and former presidential candidate is reporting that he had a personal conversation this week with the president of Chick-fil-A regarding alleged promises made to Chicago officials in order to distance the company from arguments over the issue of homosexuality. However, questions still remain surrounding Chick-fil-A’s recent statement and its repeated notation that its “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.”
Mike Huckabee, who masterminded last month’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” states that he talked with company president Dan Cathy yesterday to inquire about “new reports that Chick Fil-A had capitulated to demands of the supporters of same-sex marriage.”
“The company continues to focus on the fair treatment of all of its customers and employees,” Huckabee advised, to note that the company has always believed in non-discrimination against people of all beliefs and sexual orientations.
He explained that Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy provided the following statement:
“There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”
The statement surrounds the hubbub that has been swirling this week regarding claims from Chicago officials and a homosexual advocacy group that the company had added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy and adjusted its donor practices in order to “not engage in political or social debates.” Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, who had previously opposed Chick-fil-A’s expansion in Chicago, said that the company sent a letter to the city, which stated in part, “The WinShape Foundation is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”
Jacob Meister, Chairman of the Board of the homosexual group The Civil Rights Agenda, told Christian News Network that the company advised that it would make an adjustment to Chick-fil-A’s non-discrimination policy in July in order to remain neutral on the issue of homosexuality.
“They had made some indication this summer that they were going to adjust it, and issued a statement to Alderman Moreno,” he explained.
He said that the statement, which included mention of sexual orientation, was also issued to all franchisees and stakeholders.
Meister claimed that Chick-fil-A provided the notification around the same time it issued a public notice on Facebook that it would no longer discuss the issue of homosexuality as a company.
As previously reported, on July 19th, the company posted the following on its official Chick-fil-A Facebook page:
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
Chicago officials say that the statement they received is very similar.
However, there still remains confusion over whether reports are truthful that Chick-fil-A’s Winshape Foundation will discontinue donating to groups that it has in the past.
Chick-fil-A did not respond to numerous phone calls placed by Christian News Network this week seeking clarification. Nonetheless, the company issued a public statement on Thursday.
“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized,” it stated, referring to the hostility it has received from pro-homosexual groups that have rejected the fast food restaurant by claiming that it gives donations to organizations that oppose same-sex “marriage.” “Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas.”
“Our intent is not to support political or social agendas,” it further clarified, noting that the company’s giving has always been focused on positive charities and outreaches, but not necessarily any particular social issue, such as homosexuality.
It then again repeated, “As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.”
In doing so, Chick-fil-A sought to note that its policies have not changed regarding its treatment of homosexuals. However, it is unclear as to whether its statement refers only to service of customers or also employment practices. Many Christian companies nationwide have been fearful of anti-discrimination laws and policies in certain states that mandate the hiring of those that espouse beliefs and lifestyles that are contrary to the company’s sincerely-held religious beliefs.
Chick-fil-A then pointed visitors a document it had created entitled, “Who We Are.”
It then repeated for the third time, “The Chick-fil-A culture and 66-year tradition in our locally owned and operated restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We are a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality; our intent is not to engage in political or social debates.”
“There are many diverse viewpoints and opinions among those associated with Chick-fil-A, including our independent owner/operators and their team members, Chick-fil-A corporate staff, suppliers and business partners,” the company continued. “Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family, who own the company, value and respect all of these differences. If someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone.”
The company then outlined its donor practices, noting that its charitable outreaches are focused in three areas: “Creating educational opportunities for our team members and youth across America,” “Food donations for those serving or those in need,” “Developing youth and family/marriage enrichment programs and supporting our communities.”
Among the many charities and organizations that it lists as supporting, such as The United Way, The Salvation Army, the Grady Hospital Burn Center in Atlanta, Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Junior Achievement, the PGA Tour Charities, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and others, certain other organizations that have been reported in the news in recent months are not listed. For instance, while Focus on the Family released an article this week in defense of Chick-fil-A, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Alliance Defense Fund and other similar Christian organizations that are known to vocally oppose homosexuality are not noted in the document.
WND reported this week that Family Research Council has not received a donation from Chick-fil-A since 2010. The National Organization for Marriage also told the news agency that they have never received a donation from the chicken chain.
“Despite recent news articles claiming Chick-fil-A’s Winshape Foundation donated money to our organization — this is false. The National Organization for Marriage has never received funding from them,” it stated. “We support Chick-fil-A’s philosophy that every person is treated with ‘honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.'”
Therefore, some are contending that Chick-fil-A’s statements and donor policies are nothing new, as they have generally stayed away from the issue of homosexuality.
Earlier this month, the Huffington Post also claimed, “Dan Cathy, the fast food chain’s president, ‘welcomed campus leaders to a private luncheon in Atlanta on Thursday to discuss diversity, hospitality and the opportunity to find common ground.'”
While details remain sketchy on the purported meeting, many remain confused about where the company actually stands from this point moving forward, only knowing as per company statements that its “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.”