Which came first: the chicken, or the anti-LGBTQ organizations the chicken donates millions to every year?
The privately owned chain, long associated with anti-LGBTQ causes, publicly pledged not to “have a political or social agenda” after its billionaire CEO, Dan Cathy, stoked outrage and a boycott in 2012 publicly decrying gay marriage.
In 2017 (the most recent tax filing available), Chick-fil-A donated $9.9 million to charity, of which roughly $1.8 million went to three groups known to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Of the three, Chick-fil-A gave the most, $1.65 million, to an organization called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Per Chick-fil-A’s website, the cash funded “sports camps and school programs for inner-city youth.”
A laudable goal, for sure. Save for the fact the group requires camp leaders to sign a “statement of faith” prior to being admitted. The nine-point contract includes a “sexual purity statement” that prohibits “heterosexual sex outside of marriage” and “any homosexual act.” A second bullet on the contract states that “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”
Chick-fil-A notes that camp participants ― unlike camp leaders ― aren’t required to sign the pledge. But that’s hardly an argument for giving $1.65 million to the group, which harbors and preaches anti-gay sentiment.
The company also donated $150,000 to the Salvation Army, a charity that has drawn increased scrutiny for its long history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
In 2012, a Salvation Army media relations director in Australia told a group of queer journalists that gay people deserve death. (The charity hastily backpedaled from the statement.) And in 2017, the same year as Chik-fil-A’s donation, the New York City Commission on Human Rights charged the Salvation Army with discriminating against transgender patients at four of its substance abuse centers.
A third charity with anti-LGBTQ policies that received funds from Chick-fil-A has since been cut off, the company told HuffPost. Tax filings show a $6,000 donation in 2017 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Georgia-based “Christian residential home for troubled youth” that teaches boys that same-sex marriage is a “rage against Jesus Christ and His values,” according to ThinkProgress.
In an emailed statement, Chick-fil-A said its foundation ceased donating to the youth home after determining it “does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
Chick-fil-A pushed back on reports its donations continue to advance anti-LGBTQ policies in a separate statement to HuffPost, claiming the “sole focus” of the company’s charity is “to support causes focused on youth and education.”
“We are proud of the positive impact we are making in communities across America and have been transparent about our giving on our web site,” the company said. “To suggest our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading. To view Chick-fil-A’s full stewardship report, please click here.”