Home Opinion OPINION: Progressives can’t forgive Chick-fil-A just yet

OPINION: Progressives can’t forgive Chick-fil-A just yet

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Opinion writer Maddie Kramer, a junior studying political science, argues that Chick-fil-A needs to do more than just pull funding for anti-LGBTQ organizations to be redeemed in the eyes of progressives.

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

Chick-fil-A: A corporation synonymous with chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, tangy dipping sauce and service with a smile. Many people’s most extreme grievance is that Chick-fil-A is not open on Sunday because of the corporation’s Christian views. However, these Christian ideologies go deeper than this, to the tune of millions of dollars donated to charities that support anti-LGBTQ messaging and programs.

The protests, boycotts and general backlash began in 2012 amid Chick-fil-A’s founders and CEOs’ commentary against gay marriage. This isn’t much of a surprise as the company is outwardly Christian, although CEO Dan Cathy’s comments about “redefining marriage” rubbed many the wrong way and with good reason.

The problem that many LGBTQ activists and progressives have with the fast-food chain is that the comments are not surface level. The CEOs and founders have put their money where their mouth is — quite literally. Chick-fil-A has donated to Christian charities such as the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home — which all oppose gay marriage, among other things. 

The Salvation Army, ever-present in the winter and holiday season outside of grocery stores ringing a bell for donations, has a troubled past with the LGBTQ community, promoting conversion therapy organizations on its website in 2013 and encouraging gay Christians to practice celibacy in 2011. 

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ statement of faith — which all student athletes must agree to — says that “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.” The Christian sports group also has a sexual purity statement, saying that any homosexual act is not acceptable to God. 

The Paul Anderson Youth Home is a Christian live-in home for young men and boys, which actively teaches that homosexuality is wrong. While many may claim that opposing homosexuality and gay marriage is a widespread Christian sentiment, it is not a good look for a large food chain.

Pope Francis, the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, has made a variety of comments about gay marriage and homosexuality, making it confusing for Christians and the LGBTQ community alike. He was praised for his “who am I to judge” statement in 2013, regarding gay Catholics who are “seeking God.” 

He famously made strides to meet with members of the LGBTQ community, as he did in Naples, Italy, in 2015. However, many members of the community are still conflicted because he never directly addresses the elephant in the room — sexual orientation. He has also insinuated that legalizing gay marriage would “redefine the institution of marriage,” causing LGBTQ people to still not feel completely accepted by the Catholic church. 

The problem with Chick-fil-A, the CEOs and founders’ comments and the companies’ donations are deeper than just boycotting a chicken sandwich. This large scale chain is giving hate a national platform. 

The idea that some people are not accepted into society or religion because their sexual orientation is outdated and simply hateful. Now that Chick-fil-A has decided to stop some of its problematic donations, it needs to continue to work to preach acceptance instead of hate. 

But stopping donations is not enough. Chick-fil-A needs to make major shifts in ideology for it to be seen once again in a positive light. In the past 10 years, I have eaten at Chick-fil-A one time. This will not change unless the restaurant makes drastic changes regarding its rhetoric surrounding the LGBTQ community, and I encourage other progressives and queer people to do the same.

Progressives and those disappointed in the lack of acceptance of the LGBTQ community should call on Chick-fil-A to now make donations to LGBTQ organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project and the National Center for Transgender Equality. The company needs to hire new CEOs, who don’t have a history of troubling, anti-LGBTQ sentiments. 

In the meantime, I will be enjoying a vegetarian Beyond Meat sausage breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’ on a Sunday. 

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