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FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will be buying chicken sandwiches for faculty, staff and students on Aug. 1 to show its support for Chick-Fil-A as part of a nationwide initiative launched by former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m. Central time, the Fort Worth seminary expects to purchase more than 200 sandwiches at the local Chick-fil-A in Fort Worth.

In light of harsh criticism and calls for boycotts of the company after Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy recently stood for the biblical definition of marriage, Huckabee is urging people to visit the restaurant on Aug. 1 for "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day." Huckabee, who was honored as a distinguished alumnus by Southwestern Seminary in June, created the website ISupportChickfilA.com where people can "RSVP" that they intend to participate Aug. 1. More than 125,000 have signed up.

"No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate," Huckabee wrote on the site. "The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1."

Southwestern Seminary, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of the largest seminaries in the world with more than 3,500 students, faculty and staff. The seminary affirms the biblical definition of marriage and is in full agreement with the Southern Baptist statement of faith, The Baptist Faith & Message 2000, which says in its article on the family: "Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime." Additionally, the seminary's administration supports Cathy's First Amendment rights.

"Southwestern Seminary wants to encourage Chick-Fil-A's support of the traditional family and the First Amendment right of Dan Cathy to live out his religious beliefs," said Thomas White, the seminary's vice president for student services and communications. "We gladly partner with organizations like Chick-fil-A who take a stand for faith, and we will also be providing all of our students with Chick-Fil-A sandwiches during our all-campus picnic in September."

Keith Collier is director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary www.sbts.edu/campusnews.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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