Chick-Fil-A Responds to Boycotts, Makes Promise to Stop Donating to Anti-LGBTQ Organizations

Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

Following the recent boycotts surrounding Chick-Fil-A and their longtime support of organizations that discriminate against those in the LGBTQ+ community, which led to the first Chick-Fil-A in the UK being shut down mere days after its opening and a major loss of revenue and customers from the company, Chick-Fil-A has announced that they will halt all donations to any organizations which raise eyebrows among the LGBTQ+ community.

The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes have been met with much controversy because of their beliefs and practices. The Salvation Army has become more tolerant of LGBTQ+ individuals and the community in recent times, as per their current Mission statement on their website:

“The Salvation Army stands against homophobia, which victimises people and can reinforce feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair. We want to be an inclusive church community where members of the LGBT community find welcome and the encouragement to develop their relationship with God … Our international mission statement is very clear on this point when it says we will “meet human needs in [Jesus’] name without discrimination”. Anyone who comes through our doors will be welcomed with love and service, based on their need and our capacity to provide.”

There is also a web page on their site which discusses how they welcome LGBTQ+ individuals with open arms and are willing to serve them, citing statistics about homeless transgender youth and more. 

However, despite their changing mindset, not every branch of the Salvation Army has lived up to the Mission statement. The Salvation Army’s website fails to mention that not every single one of their shelters is as accepting or tolerant of LGBTQ+ people as the organization as a whole. They also have had a long and rocky history of carrying out acts that seemed anti-LGBTQ+ whilst denying any of those acts ever happened in their official LGBT statement, referring to such events as “urban myths.” In New York City, one branch subjected “transgender people to humiliating physical examinations and discrimination in housing at a substance-abuse treatment center — in violation of their public service contracts” in 2017, according to James Finn in an article he wrote for Medium. The Salvation Army also refused to support an anti-bullying Safe Schools project in Australia with a focus on being more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals, calling it “toxic” and saying that “the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, on the other hand, outwardly displays homophobia. Their “Statement of Faith” contains the following lines:

“God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”

Chick-Fil-A realized they were in the wrong for supporting these organizations because of how strongly the backlash hurt their company and image, trading in their donations to the organizations with anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments for donations to organizations that help combat “hunger, homelessness, and education”, as per a statement by the AP. This change led to much positive feedback from social media users. But some, like Martin Cooper, the chief executive of Reading Pride, the organization that led the UK protest, still feel like Chick-Fil-A needs to do more for their organization to forgive them. “It is only a step,” said Cooper in a New York Times interview. “It’s not an action that allows us to fully forgive.”