Editorial: Chick-fil-A could do more


Sue Gleiter, Penn Live | TNS

Chick-fil-A will no longer donate to Christian charity groups that have been accused of being homophobic.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A has long been criticized, especially by LGBTQ+ rights groups, for its stance on gay marriage. The company has had to directly contend with this criticism this year as plans for expansion in Buffalo, New York, and the UK have been cancelled due to local resistance.

In reaction to the negative press it has received recently, the company will no longer donate to Christian charity groups that have been accused of being homophobic. This move is a step in the right direction, although it certainly comes across as a bid for good PR. Chick-fil-A could also do more if they want to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, such as donating to charities that actively support this group.

Chick-fil-A has a history of donating to anit-LGBTQ+ organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which is a nonprofit that requires students leaders to sign a “Statement of Faith” that bans “any homosexual act” and describes heterosexual marriage as “the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society.” Chick-fil-A also used to donate to the Salvation Army, a Christian charity that has taken some criticism for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The company released a list of organizations its foundation had donated money to this year, and the list did not include either of these charities. Multiyear commitments that Chick-fil-A had made to these organizations ended in 2018. Now, the foundation plans to donate more to smaller organizations that focus on problems of hunger, homelessness and education.

Chick-fil-A President Tim Tassopoulos seemed to say in an interview earlier this week that the change in which organizations the company funds had something to do with the criticism the company has received.

“As we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Tassopoulos said. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that Chick-fil-A will permanently discontinue its relationships with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army. In a separate statement, Tassopoulos said “No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith-based.”

Contrary to what Tassopoulos said in his statements, the act of not donating to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations doesn’t actually clarify the company’s message. It makes sense that Chick-fil-A might do so to make up for the bad PR it’s received in recent years and it’s a good step in the right direction, but it doesn’t fix the fact that the company has for a long time come across as very homophobic.

If Chick-fil-A actually wants to make amends for past statements and deeds, its foundation could and should donate to charities that help members of the LGBTQ+ community. Violence, homelessness, poverty and workplace discrimination are all problems currently faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and there are organizations dedicated to helping members of the community with these problems.

Chick-fil-A will do whatever best fits the beliefs and attitudes of those in charge of it. However, for the sake of clarity, those people might consider going a step further and putting their money where their mouth is.

Leave a comment.