The Salvation Army says it is “saddened” by the Chick-fil-A restaurant foundation’s decision to halt funding to the charity and urged the public to “seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment” about the organization’s position on LGBT issues.
“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,” the Alexandria, Va.-based charity said.
The Salvation Army said it serves more than 23 million people a year, including those in the LGBT community.
“In fact,” it added, “we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population.”
The statement was issued following reports Monday that Chick-fil-A’s charitable foundation was ending a multi-year funding commitment to the Salvation Army and other organizations perceived to be hostile to gay rights. The foundation said it was streamlining its charitable activities “to provide more focus and more clarity.”
The restaurant chain, now the third-largest in America behind only McDonalds and Starbucks, has been under fire for years following comments from its CEO, Dan Cathy, against gay marriage in 2012. The president of the chain, Tim Tassopoulos, told a commercial real estate newsletter, Bisnow, that it needed to clear the air in order to continue its rapid expansion.
“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Tassopoulos told the publication. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”
Gay activists hailed the decision as a win for equal rights, but conservative commentators have criticized the chain for what they call a capitulation to political correctness.
Please read the articles by @roddreher (several) in @amconmag to understand the significance of @ChickfilA surrendering to critics and betraying loyal customers to appease those who despise them. https://t.co/1lCttKCykw— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) November 19, 2019
In a statement released to The Christian Post following the backlash, Chick-fil-A denied the charge.
“Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger. No organization will be excluded from future consideration – faith-based or non-faith based,” a spokesman told the publication, noting, “I also wanted to add that Chick-fil-A will not be opening on Sundays.”