Mainstream media organizations have headlined over the last two days Chick-fil-A’s “change” they claim means the company suddenly is promising not to discriminate against homosexuals – and that it would stop giving money to those organizations that promote traditional marriage.
“Chick-fil-A says it will stop funding antigay groups” proclaimed the Detroit Free Press.
But it appears the facts are that the company’s anti-discrimination policy remains just as it was months ago – before the controversy over owner Dan Cathy’s Christian beliefs erupted – and its donations appear to have had no new directive applied.
Even Joe Moreno, a Chicago alderman securely in the pro-homosexual camp, confirmed to WND that the company’s giving should not even have been an issue.
Responding to a question about his review of Chick-fil-A form 990 for 2011, he confirmed that there were no donations “of concern.”
He was asked, “Does the alderman reviewing the 990 for 2011 and finding no donations of concern mean that Chick-fil-A was already meeting a demand before it was even a demand since at least 2010.”
“I believe that is the case,” a statement from Moreno’s office confirmed to WND.
The controversy erupted over the summer, when company CEO Dan Cathy told Baptist Press he was “guilty as charged” for supporting the “biblical definition of the family unit.”
Homosexual lobbyists and activists pounced, promoting a boycott and obtaining statements from city officials such as Chicago’s Moreno that they would crack down on the company over the CEO’s beliefs.
Marriage supporters responded to a campaign by former presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee for a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” by lining up by the thousands at stories. Additionally, more than 6.3 million people have “liked” Chick-fil-A on Facebook.
Now the headlines have developed that the company “Ceases Anti-gay Donations.”
Moreno jumped before the cameras to say he has “finalized” negotiations with Chick-fil-A with a promise that the company no longer will give money to anti-“gay” organizations.
He said in an interview with Current.com that a statement had been obtained that the company no longer would donate to pro-marriage organizations, and “I also recently reviewed their 990 statement, which is a statement that shows all of their givings, they must submit publicly in the spring, and as of this date they haven’t given a dollar to those groups.”
But the most recent 990 form would cover 2011, meaning there was no “objectionable” giving, according to Moreno, as long back as 21 months – predating any of the flap over Cathy’s statements.
The company also had posted when the controversy erupted a statement on its website announcing it would not discriminate on the basis of gender orientation. The months-old statement, which at that time was represented as stating an existing policy, said, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
Moreno, however, told Cenk Uygur on “The Young Turks” just this week that, “This is the first time in the company’s history that they’ve done this [stated a non-discrimination policy]. I think it’s because of your actions, the community’s actions and partly because of my actions in not supporting the restaurant… That they’ve changed their tune, it’s a big step for the community.”
It was a statement from The Civil Rights Agenda that prompted the recent headlines. It stated that Moreno “finalized” negotiations with the company with a promise to no longer give money to “anti-gay” organizations.
The statement said of the Cathy family’s foundation, the WinShape Foundation, “is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”
But it was in July when the company stated, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
The Civil Rights Agenda didn’t name groups, but others did. One was the National Organization for Marriage, which responded immediately, “Despite recent news articles claiming Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation donated money to our organization – this is false. The National Organization for Marriage has never received funding from them. We support Chick-fil-A’s philosophy that every person is treated with ‘honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender;’ and we will continue to endorse ‘Chick-fil-A Wednesdays’ calling upon all supporters of marriage, free speech and religious liberty to thank Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, for taking a courageous stand to speak out in defense of marriage and his freedom to speak.”
The Family Research Council also was mentioned, and told WND that it has gotten nothing since a $1,000 donation in 2010.
Focus on the Family was also mentioned, but declined WND’s request for comment.
Even Anthony Martinez, TCRA executive director, said in an interview with Windy City Media Group that the language Chick-Fil-A uses in its non-discrimination policy hasn’t changed.
The site reported Martinez said, “With regard to policy, there really isn’t that much of a change.”
Moreno disagreed. He issued a statement Wednesday that “the company today as put into writing, for the first time, that its employees are to ‘treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender…”
But he admitted that the issue of corporate donations was a nonstarter from the beginning.
“I corroborated what they told me back in January; that donations to anti-gay groups … have ceased.”
After months of declining to respond to developments, Chick-fil-A confirmed the situation with a statement issued late Thursday.
“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving,” the company said.
“A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.
“There are many diverse viewpoints and opinions among those associated with Chick-fil-A, including our independent Owner/Operators and their team members, Chick-fil-A corporate staff, suppliers and business partners. Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family, who own the company, value and respect all of these differences. If someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone.”
The statement reaffirmed the company’s “corporate purpose” is to “glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
“Over the past three years alone, in cities and towns across American, Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 different educational and charitable organizations and has provided millions of dollars in food donations.”
That giving focuses on scholarships for employees, donations to higher education, youth education programs, food for various children’s programs, disaster relief and military appreciation outreaches.
It also donates to “development youth and family/marriage enrichment programs and supporting … communities” including band uniforms, the Salvation Army, Jerusalem House, foster homes, marriage retreats, day camps and others.
“By making financial investments in these educational and charitable organizations, we aspire to have a positive impact in our community,” the company said.
In what had the appearance of a coordinated media effort to pressure the Boy Scouts of America, a private organization, to change its membership policy and allow participation by open or avowed homosexuals, a slew of reports were generated announcing the group is considering that idea.
But it wasn’t actually so.
The organization posted an online announcement that “Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy. The introduction of a resolution does not indicate the organization is ‘reviewing’ a policy or signal a change in direction.”
What happened was that pro-homosexual activists from the online petition organization change.org issued a press release claiming that unnamed “sources have confirmed Boy Scouts of America officials are considering a new policy for 2013 that would allow local charter organizations to decide whether or not to accept gay scouts and leaders.”
Scout officials confirmed that just because someone wants change, or proposes a change, doesn’t mean it will happen.