Who knew the country’s favorite chicken sandwich could cause so much pain and suffering?
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, a team in the United Soccer League (USL), chose to cancel its planned promotion and sale of Chick-fil-A sandwiches at its home games during the season after backlash from opponents of the restaurant. The group explained in its decision that it wanted to make people feel “more welcome.” Those against the promotion cited Chick-fil-A’s history of donating to Christian groups such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), two organizations which believe in a biblical view of marriage – as does Focus on the Family.
“We believe God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman to complement and complete each other,” one point in FCA’s statement of faith reads. “God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”
This line is the primary reason why many people and organizations are against FCA and, in conjunction, Chick-fil-A. The majority of media coverage on these organizations explain that people oppose them because of their “anti-LGBT” policies or donations to groups that promote an “anti-LGBT” doctrine. But more accurate media coverage would not explain that they are opposed because of this, but rather because the organizations are pro-Christian, which includes standing up for God’s view on social issues, no matter how unpopular it may be with the rest of the culture.
In November 2019, Chick-fil-A chose to pull funding from these groups and refocus its charitable giving among other organizations such as local food banks, Junior Achievement USA and Covenant House International – which many have misunderstood as Chick-fil-A permanently shifting away from Christian organizations. The company additionally quadrupled its donations to African-American non-profits in 2020.
However, neither of these moves have garnered the support nor the forgiveness of those ideologically opposed to Chick-fil-A. A partisan split emerged on plans created by the New York Thruway Authority (NYTA) regarding the establishment of Chick-fil-As in New York rest stops. One New York State assemblyman tweeted his opposition to the move, implying in a subsequent tweet that to add Chick-fil-A to the rest stops meant that the NYTA was ending its commitment to civil rights. As of today, the Thruway Authority has not backed down on its plans.
Students at the University of Notre Dame have also expressed both disdain and support for the news of Chick-fil-A being added onto their campus. Those against are opposed for a couple of reasons, such as the desire for more vegetarian options, and due to it donating “significant sums to groups that oppose LGBTQ+ rights,” citing FCA, the Salvation Army and the Paul Anderson Youth Home as examples. We are left to wonder, however, how these students cope with attending a university which desires to adhere to the Catechism of the Catholic Church – which disapproves of homosexual acts and states that “homosexual persons are called to chastity.” The University of Notre Dame has expressed that it will be continuing its plan to add Chick-fil-A to the campus.
“Notre Dame has examined the concerns surrounding Chick-fil-A’s charitable giving, discussed them with company representatives, campus partners and students and believes that Chick-fil-A has responded to these issues in a satisfactory manner,” the University said in a statement. “Our students have overwhelmingly expressed a desire to have a Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus, and we look forward to opening one early next year.”
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