Chick-fil-A is speaking out after reports that it donated $1.8 million to anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2017 sparked outrage.
In a lengthy statement shared to its website on March 21, the Georgia-based chicken chain addressed the “inaccurate narrative” sparked by a ThinkProgress report citing 2017 tax records showing that the chain donated nearly $2 million to three separate organizations – Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Salvation Army – all of which are accused of having a history of LGBTQ discrimination.
“To suggest that our efforts in supporting these organizations was focused on suppressing a group of people is misleading and inaccurate,” the fast food chain’s statement read. “It is well-known that our Founder S. Truett Cathy used biblical principles to guide our business in its formative stages, and that we still uphold those same principles today.”
“We believe that the ethos of, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ accurately describes how we live and work every single day,” the statement continued. “These principles are lived out at our corporate Support Center in Atlanta and our more than 2,400 restaurants across the country. Some ongoing reporting, despite our efforts to earnestly provide the facts, implies a misleading narrative."
Rodney Bullard, Chick-fil-A Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, stated that the chain’s intention is to “have a positive influence on our communities by donating to programs that benefit youth and education and are welcoming to all.”
Addressing the three organizations that it donated to, the chain stated that the $1.6 million donation to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which requires employees, but not participants, to sign a “statement of faith,” which includes a “sexual purity” policy prohibiting “any homosexual act,” Chick-fil-A said the donation was “used to fund sports camps and school programs for inner-city youth in various locations across the country.”
Slammed for having a long history of LGBTQ discrimination, Chick-fil-A said that it’s $150,000 donation to the Salvation Army “funded several programs, including camps for kids and the Angel Tree program in Atlanta,” and as a result, “11,000 children in need throughout the Atlanta area received gifts during the holiday season.”
Addressing its $6,000 donation to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which reportedly teaches boys that same-sex marriage is a “rage against Jesus Christ and His values,” the chicken chain explained that the donation supported “a bike ride fundraiser, operational support, an annual Christmas dinner theatre for local children as well as a technology capital campaign.”
The chain added that following 2017, it had decided to no longer donate to the group “after a blog post surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
The backlash against Chick-fil-A in relation to the surfaced tax records has been fierce, with the chain being banned from two separate airports within a week of the first reports.
As a result, some have urged for an investigation into the ban, with legal group First Liberty Institute alleging that the bans are possible “religious discrimination.”