If you’re sick of hearing about Chick-fil-A I don’t blame you, so if you keep scrolling, no hard feelings.
But a new development has come up, and those of us who’ve publicly criticized the company need to consider it seriously. If we’ve been wrong, we should admit it. If we’re still convinced of our position, we should reiterate it. Either way, if it’s of interest to you, then let me explain the latest, and my take on it.
(If you missed Episode One, here’s a link to my post from Tuesday. Read that before you read this.)
This morning Franklin Graham posted that he spoke with Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s CEO, who assured him that the company “remains committed to Christian values,” has “not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” and “haven’t changed who they are or what they believe.” In light of this, Graham wrote: “I hope all those who jumped to the wrong conclusion about them read this.”
I read it. Since there are few people I respect as much as I respect Franklin Graham, when he speaks, I listen, and I take his words seriously.
But “seriously” and “reassured” are two different things, and at this point, however seriously I may take this great man, I’m still waiting to be reassured. Here’s why.
First, Cathy didn’t say anything we haven’t been hearing since Monday. “Chick-fil-A will still support faith based organizations.” Yeah, we get that. Nobody said they wouldn’t.
But will they, or will they not, support faith based organizations that hold to a traditional Biblical view of marriage and sexuality? That is the simple question no one from Chick-fil-A, at this point, has been willing to answer.
Second, Cathy said “We haven’t changed who we are or what we believe.” OK, we get that, too. But anyone who professes to be a Christian, yet has switched to a pro-gay view, (or is shying away from standing for the traditional view) can say that. Dr. Tony Campolo, Jen Hatmaker, and the Episcopal Church are good examples, all of them claiming a Christian identity (“we haven’t changed who we are”) but also adopting a gay-affirming view. Has Chick-fil-A done the same?
Third, Cathy claims the company has not bowed down to LGBT demands. Yet he says nothing to explain the reasons many of us (continue to) believe they have done just that. Those reasons, sadly, remain unaddressed.
- The fact that Chick-fil-A’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos referred to the “many articles and newscasts” about CFA as a reason for them to be “clearer about who they are”, which, in turn, motivated them to change the companies they donate to. Since the “many articles” about Chick-fil-A have been about their stance on homosexuality, and since their recent donor change has been from at least three companies holding the traditional view on marriage (see here) towards at least one (Covenant House) holding an openly affirming pro-gay view, exactly what do they expect us to think?
- The fact that Cameron Spearance, the journalist from BISNOW who interviewed Tassopoulos, cited the COO as specifically saying that “Future partners (who CFA would support) could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBT positions.” (See here) If that was a misquote, Tassopoulos has done nothing to correct it.
- The fact that as of today, Chick-fil-A has made no clarification on its willingness or unwillingness to support an organization which is not gay-affirming. It has only made general statements about it’s intention to support faith-based organizations, which tells us little.
So with all due respect to Franklin Graham, at least as of this writing, I don’t see how we’ve jumped to the wrong conclusions about Chick-fil-A.
But I’m an expert at being wrong. I should, in fact, have a PhD in the subject by now, and when I’m wrong about something I want to be wrong about, then I’m delighted to say so.
That’s why I hope to say, very soon, “Boy, did I blow it! I was totally wrong about Chick-fil-A!” That would, as my buddy Eastwood famously said, “Make my day.”
All it would take for that to happen would be for someone in authority at CFA to answer this:
“If a faith based organization holds and states the viewpoint that homosexuality, like many other behaviors, falls short of God’s will, would that make you unwilling to financially support that organization?”
Simple question. A brief “yes” or “no” will suffice.
So, gentlemen? You have the mic.