NRO’s Shaffer: Chick-Fil-A’s Anti-Gay Donations Are No Big Deal
June 03, 2011 2:27 pm ET by Carlos Maza
In a May 31 National Review Online article, Matthew Shaffer attempted to dismiss the overwhelming evidence that Chick-fil-A is actively involved in the fight against LGBT equality. Throughout his piece, he consistently misrepresents, understates, or outright ignores the company’s deep organizational ties to some of the country’s leading anti-gay groups.
Shaffer begins by casually dismissing Chick-fil-A’s financial contributions to a number of anti-LGBT groups, citing only a one-page GetEqual flyer about the company’s past donations:
But the dirt that activists have dug up on Cathy isn’t really that incriminating, even from a pro-gay-rights perspective. His top sin, according to the agitprop flyers produced by getequal.org, is financial support for the National Christian Foundation and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Also among Cathy’s anathema affiliations is Campus Crusade for Christ. (When you think Campus Crusade for Christ, you think homophobia, right? Me neither.)
Unsurprisingly, Shaffer tries to downplay the donations by refusing to describe what any of Chick-fil-A’s beneficiaries actually do.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes promotes the myth that gays and lesbians can be “delivered” from homosexuality by God and requires its ministry leaders to sign a “purity statement” which condemns homosexuality as an “impure lifestyle.” The organization holds an annual college conference during which God apparently frees “some people from homosexuality, sexual sins, addictions and even ushered newcomers into His Kingdom.”
If you don’t think “homophobia” when you think of the Campus Crusade for Christ, maybe you should. The group includes Family Life as one of its ministries. Family Life has hosted promoters of ex-gay therapy, encouraged parents to warn their kids about the “homosexual element” in our culture, and provides advice on how to “make sure our children aren’t led into the sin of homosexuality.”
Shaffer also claims that Chick-fil-A hasn’t donated to any explicitly anti-gay groups:
There is no evidence that Chik-fil-A has funded groups that are primarily devoted to opposing same-sex marriage, such as the National Organization for Marriage (which is not to imply that such a donation would demonstrate anti-gay animus).
Incorrect. The company has donated money to the Alliance Defense Fund and the Family Research Council, both of which have made the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of the country’s most influential anti-gay groups. The company has also donated to the Georgia Family Council, a traditional anti-gay group that has argued in favor of California’s Proposition 8 and claimed that marriage equality poses a threat to children.
Shaffer then casually names a number of Chick-fil-A’s other anti-gay ties:
Judging by the arguments put forth on lefty blogs, there are three additional justifications for singling out Chick-fil-A for protests: The first is a local Chick-fil-A catering for a Pennsylvania Family Institute marriage retreat at which, PFI president Michael Geer says, “At no time . . . was the subject of same-sex marriage discussed or presented” (despite what was erroneously reported elsewhere). The second is relatively small donations to the group Focus on the Family (which, despite its reputation among bien pensants, actually devotes most of its funds to charitable efforts outside of the culture war, as David French has pointed out). And the third is Chick-fil-A’s ties to WinShape, a charity with dozens of projects, one of which is a marriage retreat limited to legally married, opposite-sex couples.
Shaffer’s description of Chick-fil-A’s ties to WinShape is extremely misleading at best.
The WinShape Foundation is Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm and receives millions of dollars every year from the fast food chain. Every year since 2003, WinShape has worked with the Marriage CoMission, a coalition of anti-gay groups, to host a summit on “traditional” marriage at WinShape’s Georgia retreat center.
The summit has served as a meeting ground for some of the country’s most notorious anti-gay activists, including NOM's Maggie Gallagher , the Ruth Institutes' Jennifer Roback Morse, Institute for American Values' David Blankenhorn, and Focus on the Family president Jim Daly.
Shaffer concludes his misinformed rant by asserting that “no reasonable person can see proof” of Cathy’s anti-gay bias:
So the facts show Cathy to be a generous philanthropist who devotes millions to uncontroversial education charity; who gives some thousands more to Christian groups; who admits that for theological reasons he opposes the legal institution of same-sex marriage, but isn’t preoccupied by it; and who doesn’t exclude from his charity socially conservative groups. Reasonable people can disagree with WinShape’s requirements for couples on its marriage retreats and dislike aspects of Focus on the Family’s research and advocacy. But no reasonable person can see proof of frothing anti-gay bigotry in Samuel Truett Cathy’s donations, especially when his own words convey “love and respect” for same-sex-marriage advocates.
Either Shaffer is being intentionally dishonest to his readers or he truly did fail to do any serious background research before deciding to write his piece.
Considering that the only resource he cites in the entire article is a one-page GetEqual flyer, I’m willing to chalk this one up to willful obliviousness.
Don’t be like Shaffer. Get the facts about Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay agenda.