The Pen

Salvation Army and Conservative Twitter Throw Chick-fil-A Under the Bus

“We don’t claim to be a Christian business.” Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A

Today Chick-fil-A announced through its Chicken Wire news platform the 2020 philanthropy priorities of the Chick-Fil-A Foundation. Those priorities include promoting education and alleviating homelessness and hunger, particularly as experienced by young people. Chick-fil-A is partnering with some newer charitable partners to meet its philanthropic objectives and cutting giving to others to whom it donated previously. Instead of being congratulated for its civic-mindeness, Chick-Fil-A has been met with scorn and spin. Media outlets are reporting that Chick-fil-A is caving to LGBTQ pressure by ceasing its giving to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Previously, Chick-fil-A had weathered harsh public criticisms from the LGBTQ lobby for its donations to Christian groups and the Christian beliefs of its ownership.

The outrage of popular (nominal) Christian commentators quickly found it’s way to social media, where Chic-Fil-A was accused of capitulation and betrayal.

It didn’t take long for the Salvation Army to release a statement of its own:

We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed. We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population

How quickly the Salvation Army has bit the hand that once fed it. But is all of this outrage justified? Has Chick-fil-A capitulated to the LGBTQ? We simply don’t know. We should consider what we do know, however.

Chick-fil-A is a privately held company. As such it is considered a “pass through” entity for tax purposes. In other words, Chick-fil-A does not pay taxes. As such, Chick-fil-A does not receive a tax benefit for its donations. All income earned and donations given by Chick-fil-A are passed through to its owners, members of the Cathy family. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy is, according to Baptist Press, “fully involved in New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga.” There is no indication that the personal donations (those which aren’t run through their business) of any member of the Cathy family have changed. The public simply doesn’t know if Dan Cathy and the other owners of Chick-fil-A have ceased to give donations, out of their considerable wealth, to Christian or otherwise ‘Anti-LGBTQ’ organizations such as their local churches.

Donations done in the name of Chick-fil-A equate to marketing. When companies give, they expect their donations to garner goodwill with the public. There was a time when supporting the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes garnered public goodwill. That time is gone. Should Chick-fil-A be forced to continue to give to Salvation Army (which is a heretical organization) to satisfy the politics of men like Mike Huckabee? Furthermore, Chick-fil-A may think that giving to smaller, less bureaucratic organizations is a better use of their money.

If you like Chick-fil-A’s food and service, then eat there. If you don’t, then don’t. Give your money where you want and maybe don’t get so outraged about where other people give theirs…that’s generally what leftists do. Until Chick-fil-A starts giving to Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, let’s save our stakes, gasoline, and lighters.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant