ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Salvation Army has released a statement boasting of its service to the “LGBTQ community” as information came to light this week that the popular chicken chain Chick-fil-A decided last year to discontinue giving to the organization, as well as to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Some outlets suspect that Chick-fil-A pulled its funding following pressure from homosexual advocates who deemed The Salvation Army and others to be anti-homosexual, but the company asserts that it simply decided to “deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger.”
However, it was reported in March that Chick-fil-A discontinued giving to the Paul Anderson Youth Home two years ago over a blog post deemed to run contrary to “Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
The Salvation Army argued in its statement on Monday, which was shared with the preface “We love all. We serve all,” that it believed the company was being mischaracterized in terms of its relationship to those who identify as homosexual. The organization, founded by evangelist William Booth in 1865, contended that it provides more assistance to homosexuals in poverty than any other charity.
“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,” The Salvation Army wrote. “We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population.”
“When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk,” it continued. “We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”
The organization also linked to a page on its website that is dedicated to information about its efforts surrounding those who identify as homosexual or transgender.
“Almost one-third of transgender people have been rejected from an emergency shelter. The Salvation Army created a dorm in Las Vegas to offer safety and shelter to this group, which is statistically more vulnerable to assault,” it reads.
“LGBTQ Americans are more likely to be poor. Many face disproportionate job and housing insecurity due to discrimination. Your donation could mean rental and utilities assistance,” the page also outlines.
Chick-fil-A had released a statement on Monday announcing that the company would be taking “a more focused giving approach to provide additional clarity and impact with the causes it supports,” and that a result it would “deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger.”
It noted that donor partnerships for 2020 will include Junior Achievement USA, Covenant House International, and local food banks.
The outlet Bisnow also published a report claiming that “the chicken chain plans to change which charities it donates to after years of bad press and protests from the LGBT community.”
“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos was also quoted as stating. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
However, the Christian Post released an article the same day with the headline “Chick-fil-A denies capitulating to LGBT activists; Christian groups won’t be excluded from donations.”
“Beginning in 2020, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will introduce a more focused giving approach, donating to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education,” the company told the site. “We have also proactively disclosed our 2018 tax filing and a preview of 2019 gifts to date on chick-fil-afoundation.org. The intent of charitable giving from the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to nourish the potential in every child.”
“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,” it added.
As previously reported, the controversy over Chick-fil-A began in 2012 when owner Dan Cathy told Baptist Press that he is “very much supporting of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit.”
“We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” he said. “We give God thanks for that.”
According to the Washington Post, Cathy had also stated on a radio broadcast that he believed that the promotion of homosexual “marriage” was evoking the wrath of God upon America.
Following initial uproar about the matter, including assertions that the company donates to organizations that oppose same-sex “marriage,” Chick-fil-A issued a statement outlining that it had never sought to donate to groups that speak against homosexuality, and that “[g]oing forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
In a document entitled “Who We Are,” the company also noted that “[t]here are many diverse viewpoints and opinions among those associated with Chick-fil-A,” and that “[i]f someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone.”
The company additionally 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,” and “Developing youth and family/marriage enrichment programs and supporting our communities.”
As various entities continued to deem Chick-fil-A as being anti-homosexual, the company again contended that it was being mischaracterized.
In March, Think Progress reported that Chick-fil-A had advised the outlet that “[i]n 2017, a decision was made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation to no longer donate to the [Paul Anderson Youth Home] after a blog post from 2010 surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
It repeated that it does not have the intent of backing any particular “social or political agenda” with its donor practices.