Editor's note: This column was authored by Patrick Hauf.
Eating a chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A makes you hateful, bigoted, and anti-gay.
At least, that’s the shocking narrative progressives decided to push last week after ThinkProgress detailed 2017 tax documents from the Chick-fil-A Foundation revealing $1.8 million worth of donations that went to “anti-LGBTQ” organizations. This included groups like The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two Christian organizations working for Christian causes. Once again, baseless accusations of bigotry are merely progressive outrage that further current cultural divides—and distract from real prejudice.
ThinkProgress, a project of the progressive advocacy organization Center for American Progress Action Fund, notes that over $1.65 million of Chick-fil-A’s $1.8 million total donations went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). This amount, of course, is the overwhelming majority of the donations, but ThinkProgress only dedicates one sentence in the entire article toward describing the FCA, deeming it “a religious organization that seeks to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes.” I worked for FCA for six years, and I can assure you that this isn’t true.
If ThinkProgress had performed even a minimal amount of research, they’d have found that FCA trains thousands of student-athletes (starting in middle school, not college) across the globe in becoming strong Christian leaders. I was an FCA “Huddle Leader” from 7th to 12th grade at my Maryland public school. I hosted weekly Bible studies, attended summer camps, and volunteered at fundraising events. Not once did I hear or witness anything that could be considered homophobic. Indeed, my experience with FCA was filled with love and taught me how to lead in a broken, secular world. Ask anyone who’s been involved with the organization, and they’ll likely tell you the same.
To ThinkProgress, FCA’s crime lies in its sexual purity statement that its leaders are required to sign. The progressive group generalizes the statement as a “policy for its employees that bars any ‘homosexual acts.’” But the context tells a different story. The statement isn’t about singling out gay people, but is rather a call for Christians to commit to the core Biblical teaching of limiting sex to the confines of a heterosexual marriage:
"God desires His children to lead pure lives of holiness. The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.
"While upholding God’s standard of holiness, FCA strongly affirms God’s love and redemptive power in the individual who chooses to follow Him. FCA’s desire is to encourage individuals to trust in Jesus and turn away from any impure lifestyle."
To be clear, FCA is not banning people of a specific sexual orientation from working for them. Rather, FCA requires its employees to dedicate themselves to the sexual teachings of the Bible, which doesn’t only teach against living an active homosexual lifestyle, but also against any sort of premarital sex — gay or straight.
Demanding? Sure. Bigoted? Not quite.
The outrage over the donation to the Salvation Army is similarly ludicrous. This Methodist-run Salvation Army serves millions of vulnerable children, homeless, addicts, and others around the world every year. They have a non-discrimination policy that doesn’t allow for firings based on sexual preferences. And they’ve even maintained an LGBTQ-specific initiative that focuses on helping gay homeless people find shelter and education. Yet progressives choose to overlook that and focus on the group’s traditional views on marriage.
This sort of attack on Christian companies is merely an attempt to undermine traditional religious beliefs. Sadly enough, it’s working. A day after ThinkProgress published their Chick-fil-A hit piece, the San Antonio City Council blocked the restaurant chain from opening a store in the San Antonio International Airport. It shouldn’t be considered controversial to believe in the sexual teachings of the Bible, yet here we are, banning fast food chicken. Why?
The truth is, the only grounds to these attacks on Christian companies is haphazard outrage. Meanwhile, true bigotry thrives, and it receives very little attention. While FCA is giving a spiritual community to athletes in developing countries like Kenya, the Iranian government hangs gay people. Sure, it’s easier to rage tweet about chicken sandwiches than Iranian politics, but it’s time for the outrage mob to get its priorities straight.
Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) is a writer for Young Voices and the Vice President of Lone Conservative. His work can be found in the Washington Examiner, Townhall, FEE, and more.