Yesterday, we reported that a group of students from West Linn High School in northwest Oregon staged a walkout to protest the presence of a Chick-fil-A food truck at their football games. Although school administrators said the truck would continue to show up during the remainder of the football season, it was nowhere to be seen at kickoff.
Now, it seems that Chick-fil-A is making a major change to its business.
The food truck at West Linn football games wasn’t the only thing Chick-fil-A removed recently. On Monday, the third-largest restaurant chain in the United States released a statement that they would no longer be funding Christian charities that have contributed to controversies within the LGBTQ community.
Chick-fil-A President and COO Tim Tassopoulos said, “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are. There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
The company understands that it must make some changes in order for all communities to feel comfortable with a franchise being placed in their area.
“When there is a tension, we want to make sure we’re being clear. We think this is going to be helpful,” Tassopoulos remarked. “It’s just the right thing to do: to be clear, caring and supportive, and do it in the community.”
Chick-fil-A will no longer be supporting charities such as the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Instead, they want to focus on three other important issues—education, homelessness, and hunger.
According to Bisnow.com, Chick-fil-A is committed to contributing $9 million to organizations like Junior Achievement USA and the Covenant House International. It also promises to donate $25K to local food banks each time a new location opens.
“This provides more focus and more clarity,” Tassopoulos said concerning the restructuring of their charitable operations. “We think [education, hunger, and homelessness] are critical issues in communities where we do business in the U.S.”
Tassopoulos also said that “No organization will be excluded from future consideration—faith-based or non-faith based.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee immediately posted his disappointed with Chick-fil-A in a recent tweet:
“In Aug 2012, I coordinated a national @ChickfilA Appreciation Day after they were being bullied by militant hate groups… Today, @ChickfilA betrayed loyal customers for [money]. I regret believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey. Sad.”
The interesting thing about this quote is that ever since Chick-fil-A first boycotted the LGBTQ movement back in 2012, their sales have doubled. Governor Huckabee’s remark about betraying loyal customers for money isn’t supported by facts.
Although President Tassopoulos’s comments are still somewhat vague in regard to why the shift in donations is being initiated under the current climate of hostility, he has not once recanted the company’s position on homosexuality.
It’s probably wise to refrain from judgment until further information is available. Restructuring how a company distributes its charitable funds isn’t something that formulates overnight. It’s quite possible that Chick-fil-A had plans to cease funding organizations like the FCA and the Salvation Army long before the LGBTQ community started poking the fire.