Ask the Grumpies: How bad is Chick Fil A really?

Debbie M asks:

I would like to know more about the Chick-Fil-A controversy. Here is where my knowledge has been over the years.
* First – Wow, they are so dedicated to their religious morals that they are closed on Sundays. That’s got to be costing them money. So I respect that. Also, the secret to their lemonaid deliciousness is that it is made with lemon juice, water, and sugar. No garbage.
* Later – Yikes–they’re funding de-gayification torture. Okay screw that. I mean it’s one thing to have different beliefs from me (I’m an atheist-leaning agnostic), but quite another to torture people, even in a misguided attempt to help them get to heaven. Not something I want to help fund.
* Recently – they’ve decided to stop funding anti-gay charities, but one of them was the Salvation Army. Is there something I don’t know about the Salvation Army? (Of course they are claiming they actually help more gay folks than most other charities, if for no other reason than that they’re gigantic.) Neither of these seem like the de-gayification place. Then I heard they stopped funding that one already, years ago.
* Then a bunch of Christians decided to boycott them for stopping this funding.
* Now they’re backtracking.

So how bad are these charities? Do the anti-gay beliefs of these charities infiltrate their work? Also, is Chick-Fil-A a bad place for gay people to work? (I mean worse than for other people? Though at least they pay more than minimum wage.)

People in our town like Chick Fil A because they don’t tend to screw up catering orders and they have playgrounds.  I have not eaten there in over 10 years because they taste like Hate and are also just super salty and greasy and once when one of our kids was still in diapers someone (I think my in-laws, see above re: playgrounds) fed hir chick fil a and I have never smelled a more disgusting poo.  We don’t eat at any national fast food chains (except occasionally Subway or similar regional chains), so our boycott really means nothing.

teresa says:

Chik fil a has been/still is openly opposed to marriage equality. As far as the organizations they are not contracting with anymore [ed:  actually, their “not contracting” lasted a day– they backtracked]:

The fellowship of christian athletes requires members to pledge that they will not “engage in homosexual activity.” Which is pretty openly discriminatory.

Salvation Army is openly a fairly conservative evangelical christian organization. They hold the position that it’s not sinful to *be* lqbtq+ but it is unacceptable to *act* on it (or have anything but heterosexual married sex) and also opposed marriage equality. Telling a group that they don’t deserve a full human life and basic civil rights is maybe not the same kind of overt torture as conversion therapy but it’s still not okay.
It seems like in recent years they took down the formal position page on their website that explicitly states this but have not made any statement about changing their beliefs. Their more recent statements are along the lines of “wellllll we love all sinners so we also provide charity to people even though they’re lgbtq+” and formal statements that they “don’t lobby to roll back marriage equality because we don’t employ lobbyists” and extend benefits to employees’ same sex spouses “because the law says we have to right now.” People have also still reported being turned away or discriminated against at Salvation Army facilities for being trans (apparently with the excuse that it makes other clients uncomfortable to have a trans person around).
It’s not the issue under discussion but they’re also still openly anti choice.
There’s probably more nuance I don’t know.

delagar adds:

They have also donate to Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International, all of which are anti-LGBTQ groups. They’ve promised before to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ groups, and then backtracked and resumed donating.

Vox has a pretty good article, here: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/5/29/18644354/chick-fil-a-anti-gay-donations-homophobia-dan-cathy

And an older one here: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/3/21/18275850/chick-fil-a-anti-lgbtq-donations

Here’s what a recent (and well-worth reading) Forbes article says about being an LGBT patron at Chick Fil A (the article also has more detail about the organizations they fund):

I will admit I was once a patron of Chick-fil-A. And I have had earnest conversations with local franchisees about the company’s funding of anti-LGBTQ groups. Those conversations were a lot like the one I had with my local Roman Catholic church pastor, who assured me I was welcome, and that they would always welcome me, no matter what was said by the corporation (or in the church’s case, the bishop or pope).

She is now eating elsewhere and is no longer Catholic.

Back in 2012, Chick Fil A said they would stop donating to political causes… and they did, sort of.  They donated to organizations who had hate as only one of a few objectives, or that specifically excluded LGBTQ beneficiaries, rather than organizations whose only objective is to promote hate.  Of course, there’s some discussion in the twitterverse about whether or not the owners who are getting rich from Chick Fil A profits still donate to the hate-only causes with their own wealth.  I don’t know, but I would not be surprised.  I’d rather not have intolerant people getting rich and having all the political power that comes with wealth.

Even if they made the best chicken sandwich under the sun, I do not want money I’m giving a company to go towards funding anti-LGBTQ groups.  There is zero benefit to funding hate and so much harm.  So, no, don’t eat at Chick Fil A, and let people know why you don’t.

These white Christian people seem so nice.  So genuinely likeable.  And yet… they thinkingly or unthinkingly do these things that encourage hate on a large scale.  In person and individually they’re so nice.  But eating at an organization that sponsors hate is not a politically neutral act.

13 Responses to “Ask the Grumpies: How bad is Chick Fil A really?”

  1. Leah Says:

    It’s not that hard to make delicious homemade lemonade. And Wendy’s, KFC, and many regional chains have good fried chicken sandwiches.

    Skipping CFA is easy for me; there’s only three in my state. But I definitely skip it when traveling too, just like I won’t shop at Hobby Lobby. I try not to shop at Walmart much, but that’s significantly harder given that Walmart is the only big box in both my town and that of my in-laws.

  2. Ally Says:

    Re: Salvation Army – what people don’t realize is that they are a church, a Protestant denomination, who happens to be way more well known for their charitable work than their church services. Which to me says they can’t be trying to force their own particular brand of Christianity on people, or more people would know this. Does it mean people have to be happy with them, no, but I think it gives a perspective people forget. They want the Salvation Army to function like a secular charity when they are in fact a church. People may not like what the Catholics or the Baptist’s or whomever are doing, but they generally aren’t as surprised by that as they are the Salvation Army.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      This medium article https://medium.com/the-radical-center/why-you-shouldnt-donate-to-the-salvation-army-ever-f2cb2e43a2c addresses that very point:
      “The only reason the Salvationists are not as open as their good friends at Focus on the Family, is that they, unlike FOTF, rely on naïve, charitable people for their donations. In a way, that makes them worse. At least Focus on the Family is upfront about their political agenda and only people who support that agenda donate to them. But the Salvation Army has their agenda hidden behind a wall of “human needs” which allows them to dupe a lot of well-meaning individuals to fund an agenda they would not normally support.”

    • delagar Says:

      If you want to give money at the holidays — and it’s a good thing! You should do it! — I encourage people to give money to their local food banks. Especially here in my town, kids are home from school and hungry. They need the food banks, and money goes a lot further than canned goods.

  3. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    We refer to Chick-fil-a as Bigot Chicken and donate cash to the food pantry instead of eating there!

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Here’s a question for anyone reading the comments:

    If a white lady blogger that you otherwise enjoy regularly mentions that they eat at Chick Fil A, and when people have mentioned in the past that’s not cool she says she never pays attention to politics and never boycotts anything (and most of her readership is fundamentalist), which is the same response she gives to people who hated on Michelle Obama’s biography when she mentioned she read it… should one continue reading and interacting with that blog?

    Should one never bring up politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

    Or is that a privilege of white CIS people that we should not use?

    What do you think?

    • Jenny F. Scientist Says:

      For.all three of those, I think it’s unreasonable to insist everyone boycott the same things, because each moral calculu varies – we have only wal.m@rt here, for example, buy it there or online or literally go without toilet paper! – but there’s also a line for each person where it crosses from “Aunt Edith sure is annoying” to ” Uncle Wilbur is saying real Nazi stuff and if we all keep quiet now it’s a table with 10 Nazi supporters. “. My personal limit is ethnic slurs and, er, presidential supporting. I don’t think I’m going to change one single racist relative’s mind but maybe I can shame them into silence. (I would probably let it go with the blogger but make thanksgiving dinner real uncomfortable.)

      Related: I really need to get my mom to switch from “illegal” to ” undocumented “.

    • Debbie M Says:

      1) Should one continue reading blogs of people who don’t boycot? I’d say this depends on whether you enjoy them enough to ignore the troubling behaviors or whether the troubling behaviors feel like attacks that ruin the experience. It may be possible to guess which posts you would and wouldn’t like and improve your odds that way. Another angle is whether you feel that reading is supportive and that’s a thing you don’t want to do.

      2) Should one continue interacting with bloggers who don’t boycot? In the case you mentioned, it sounds like she is not boycotting in either direction and has already thought about this issue, so I wouldn’t bring up boycots again unless it seems like something may have changed in her life. Interacting on other issues sounds good to me if it’s still fun for you. No one can be perfect in every way. We can’t even follow all of our own strongest ideals. We are all doing the best we can. So if it’s triggering, then don’t go there. But if you enjoy the blog of an imperfect person, then go for it.

      3) Should one never bring up politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table? I’m lucky enough that I eat with the choir, so I don’t really face this question myself. My general strategy is to point out things that trouble me, and if they seem amenable to discussion, then to discuss. But if nothing profitable is happening (which is usual), then agree to disagree.

      4) Or is that a privilege of white CIS people that we should not use? I rarely bring up politics or other important topics, but only react to what other people are saying. That’s definitely a privilege. I’m not sure how I’d change that; I don’t have great social skills. Speaking of speaking up, “Knives Out” is an engaging, well-done movie, but besides most of the characters being icky, the classism/anti-immigrant thing going on is disgustingly realistic feeling. The family is constantly telling the grandfather’s Latina nurse that she’s like part of the family–but it’s one of those things they have to say all the time because you’d never know it otherwise. You can tell she knows she’s not like part of the family and that she has her place and stays in it. And there are a bunch of other ignorant, self-serving things these family members do to her.

      • Solitary Diner Says:

        I wonder if we’re thinking of the same blogger…I used to read a blogger who eats at Chick-Fil-A regularly, and when I called her out on it, her response was – “I don’t boycott anyone, because every company has its flaws”. I stopped reading her blog and stopped linking to her on my blog page after that.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Good for you speaking up! I haven’t… but I haven’t been able to go back and post since the blackface pic, which I also didn’t speak up about—by the time I got over my initial shock others had complained and she’d taken them down. She’s so nice, and yet…

  5. Debbie M Says:

    Thanks for this blog post. I already never happen go to Chick-fil-A for other reasons, but if it comes up, I will vote against going there and I won’t defend Chick-fil-A to people who are boycotting. It’s especially easy because they are backtracking.

  6. Link love | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] the blogger responded to solitary diner’s note about disliking all the free advertising for openly anti-LGBT-Chain Chick Fil A by noting that her conservative readers don’t like the free advertising she does for […]


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