Poor Chick-fil-A. The Atlanta-based company gets hated on when its CEO hates on gays. Yet when it tries to support a dialogue about faith and sexuality, it gets hated on by the conservatives who used to love them.
Can't we all just nosh on some waffle fries and get along? The answer for this purveyor of those tasty chicken sandwiches seems to be no.
Conservative supporters are calling on Chick-fil-A to explain itself after they discovered that the company is a sponsor of Level Ground, a Los-Angeles based organization that seeks to “create a safe space for dialogue about faith, gender, and sexuality through the arts.” So they launched an online petition, “CFA Goes Gay, Corporate Needs to Know,” to publicly shame the company for not continuing to hate the gays.
Per our research and findings, Chick-fil-A is a sponsor of “On Level Ground” (www.OnLevelGround.org) which is “a movement” that “creates space for dialogue about faith, gender, and sexuality through the arts.” And upon further inquiry, your sponsorship of this organization supports pro-gay organizations such as:
-The Christian Closet (gay-affirming Christian counseling)
-The Center For Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (promoting the gay agenda in Christian ministry)
-Therapists 4 Equality (LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy)
-The Reformation Project (an attempt to bring the gay agenda into the church's theology)
-Believe Outloud (an organization to promote gender equality to Christian clergy)
and many other groups that promote an agenda which is contrary to Chick-fil-A's corporate stance on Christian values regarding marriage and stewardship.
In light of these findings, we ask that Chick-fil-A issues an official response regarding this sponsorship, along with any statement your team feels is necessary to clarify Chick-fil-A's corporate stance regarding previously stated Christian values on marriage and stewardship.
Because, the conservatives wonder, how can Chick-fil-a actually support an organization that demonstrates that their religious-based hatred of all things LGBT isn't grounded in anything more than hate?
The conservatives, led by Steven Policastro, launched the petition after Level Ground hosted a Film & Art Festival in Nashville on Oct. 8-10. (The groups hosts similar events in Pasadena, Calif., New York City and Chicago.) Level Ground includes Chick-fil-A among 15 sponsors of the overall organization – not necessarily the Nashville event – on its website. Others include Hilton Pasadena, Fox Audience Strategy, Stone Brewing, Whole Foods and First United Methodist Church Pasadena.
The Baptist News points out that participants in the Nashville event included LGBT activists as well as conservative religious scholars:
Participants in the group’s most recent film festival, held Oct. 8-10 in Nashville, Tenn., included former contemporary Christian artist Jennifer Knapp, who came out as a lesbian in 2005, and Karen Swallow Prior, a Liberty University English professor and research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Sponsors included Gracepointe Church, an evangelical church in Franklin, Tenn., that made headlines in January by coming out in support of marriage equality.
It's not the first time that conservatives have aired their grievances with Chidk-fil-A, whose CEO erupted a controversy when he proudly embraced the company's anti-gay antics in 2012 and shamed the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 when it dumped DOMA. Nevermind that and all those contributions to anti-gay causes, religious conservatives dinged the company and called them “cowards” when Chick-fil-A stopped publicly serving up its anti-gay animus.
Pissing off religious wingnuts shows that Chick-fil-A is making progress. Slowly. But it's still not OK for the gays to chow down there.
We've reached out to Chick-fil-A and Level Ground, and will update the post if we hear back.
UPDATE | Sorry conservatives, Chick-fil-A has not gone rogue, a company spokesperson tells Eater.
Reached for comment by Eater, a rep for Chick-fil-A clarifies that this is not a corporate sponsorship but rather the act of a franchisee, saying, “The operators make decisions on local sponsorships.”
It was the same case in 2013 when a Chick-fil-A franchise in California sponsored Level Ground in 2013, according to the New Civil Rights Movement.
[h/t AJC Political Insider]