A prominent pro-family organization is seeking clarification from Chick-fil-A in the wake of the company's controversial decision implying that a couple of well-known faith-based charities are, in fact, "hate" groups.
As reported last month by OneNewsNow (see sidebar), Chick-fil-A announced it will no longer make multi-year commitments and will reassess its partnerships with faith-based charities. This means, at least for now, that Chick-fil-A isn't giving money to The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Chick-fil-A's contributions to those ministries is among the reasons why people and politicians have objected to Chick-fil-A's expansion efforts in cities such as San Antonio, where some city council members argued that both The Salvation Army and FCA have a history of being anti-LGBTQ.
American Family Association is sending a letter to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy seeking more information. AFA executive vice president Ed Vitagliano talked about the letter Monday on American Family Radio.
"We are asking Dan Cathy to clarify this whole situation by answering two questions – two very simple questions," said the AFA spokesman.
"Because The Salvation Army and the FCA have been accused by these homosexual groups as being 'hate groups' because of their Christian, biblical beliefs, we are asking Dan Cathy to publicly state that Chick-fil-A and the Chick-fil-A Foundation does not believe that FCA and the Salvation Army are hate groups," Vitagliano described.
"And that even though they've made a decision not to give money to them right now," he continued, "they would have no problem giving to those groups in the future because they're not hate groups. Just answer those two questions."
In the hours immediately following Chick-fil-A's announcement, evangelist Franklin Graham said on Facebook that he'd had a conversation with Dan Cathy, during which the restaurant's CEO explained that Chick-fil-A had (in Graham's words) "not bowed down to anyone's demands" and that "Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values."
On November 30, Graham tweeted that there has been "a lot of concern & criticism regarding @ChickfilA's charitable giving - & maybe rightly so." His tweet continued:
"For Christian schools, businesses, & organizations, there's always a danger of drifting to the left. My prayer is that God will lead & direct @ChickfilA & the Cathy family, & that they will continue to honor their late father Truett Cathy's strong stand for biblical values - all to the glory of God!"
'Shocking things' among CFA's own 990s
An author and pro-life activist decided to do his own research into Chick-fil-A's donations to liberal organizations.
"[It was] not exactly the most exciting thing to do, but I was so tired of hearing the public rhetoric and I wanted to find out [if] their funding [is] actually reinforcing what they're saying,'" Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation said Monday on the "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" radio program.
"That led me to their [IRS Form] 990s and the discovery of some really shocking things and the groups that they're funding – the pro-abortion, the pro-LGBT groups that Chick-fil-A wouldn't publicly profess that they're funding. But they've been doing it for years." (Read Bomberger's related column on Townhall)
Who are these groups?
"They funded YWCA, which is radically pro-abortion and continually partners with Planned Parenthood," Bomberger noted. "[They also funded] the New Leadership Council, which is this progressive hub of millennial thought leadership; [and] you have the Pace Center for Girls, which is a pro-abortion organization out of Florida – and the list goes on and on."
Chick-fil-A has also donated money to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a Montgomery, Alabama-based organization that has named Family Research Council a hate group.
"The SPLC is the one that put the hate map up that lists a number of organizations, including the FRC, which was used by the gunman who came into our building with Chick-fil-A sandwiches on the heels of the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," said host Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. "It's baffling to us that Chick-fil-A would fund that organization."
"I love Chick-fil-A," said Bomberger. "I love a lot of things about Chick-fil-A, so this was really disheartening to find this out, especially as someone who stood in long lines back during the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Days because I believed the organization was actually speaking the truth about what it believed. And so to see this finding over the course of years, it's really shocking."
Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day began in 2012 after then-Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy publicly supported traditional marriage. Liberal people and organizations accused Cathy of bigotry and urged people to boycott the restaurant chain – but former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee urged people to eat at Chick-fil-A.
Huckabee recently expressed disappointment in Chick-fil-A for changing it philanthropic structure to the point that, at least for now, does not include money for The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
Comments from Ryan Bomberger added after story originally posted.