Evangelist Franklin Graham has revealed that he personally called Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy to seek assurances after the restaurant chain announced it would be ceasing charitable donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
While critics have accused Chick-fil-A of caving to LGBT activists, Graham insisted that, off the back of his call with Cathy, it was clear that this was not the case. “Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” Franklin wrote.
“They will continue to support whoever they want to support. They haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values. Dan Cathy assured me that this isn’t going to change. I hope all those who jumped to the wrong conclusion about them read this.”
Despite Graham’s claims, Chick-fil-A has not issued any official statements regarding the specific reasons for why they dropped The Salvation Army and FCA in particular, nor have they expressed a view on the group’s Biblically-informed positions on sexuality.
From the little information Chick-fil-A has released on the decision, it appears that they were simply sick of the negative press.
“We need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told BizNow of the company’s controversial decision. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
On the company’s future donations, the BizNow report noted that “partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBT positions.” It is unclear what BizNow, or Chick-fil-A for that matter, would define as “anti-LGBT.”
The chain did explicitly state that it would be refocusing charitable funds toward the tackling of issues such as “hunger and homelessness.” That’s a confusing assertion in itself, not least because the Salvation Army is internationally renowned for its work in helping the poor and homeless — something the charity honed in on when responding to the controversy.
Arguing in defense of Chick-fil-A, Graham went on to suggest that “the gay movement wouldn’t ever be happy with Chick-fil-A unless they were open on Sunday, gave all of their charitable donations to LGBTQ organizations, and flew the rainbow flag over their stores!”
The preacher concluded that the LGBT crowd’s “hatred for Chick-fil-A is rooted in founder Truett Cathy’s strong stand for biblical “traditional” values and his desire to honor God,” values that he insists are still very much alive at the highest echelons of the company.
“No fast-food chain does a better job,” Graham concluded. “I went through the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A yesterday morning, and I thought I might get dinner there—but a whole lot of other people had the same idea! A Chick-fil-A sandwich with waffle fries sounds really good right now!”