[guest post by Dana]
The news broke this week:
[T]he charitable arm affiliated with Chick-fil-A revealed that it had overhauled its donation strategy and had stopped giving money to several organizations — donations that had long angered LGBTQ activists.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation announced in a statement that it planned to concentrate its giving in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger, and that it planned to work with a smaller number of charities than it had previously. It plans to reassess its giving annually, instead of entering into multiyear arrangements with charities, it said. The groups it gives to “could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities,” the foundation said.
But the bigger news was which organizations would not be getting millions in Chick-fil-A money: A representative confirmed to The Washington Post that it had ceased giving to Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, two religiously affiliated charities, after multiyear commitments ended in 2018.
It’s particularly sad to see the Salvation Army on the donation hit list, given their incredible service to those in need. Whether one is a victim of a natural disaster, or hungry, in need of shelter, combatting addiction, unemployed, homeless, elderly, or a victim of domestic abuse or human trafficking, the Salvation Army stands at the ready. But the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and this time it’s the LGBTQ activists selfishly protesting Chick-fil-A’s support of the wonderful organization because hurt feelings. Oh, boo-hoo. This makes me angry. When one considers that Chick-fil-A’s support of the charity has allowed untold numbers of hurting individuals to be helped, those complaining should be ashamed. Would these activists wish that the untold numbers helped by the Salvation Army via Chick-fil-A’s financial support, not have been helped but instead left to continue in their suffering? Would they take back those meals, the shelter, the clothing, the life-saving efforts made on behalf of the wounded and lost? Will they themselves now step into the breach with the same help and service to any in need? Will their hands be willing and open to anyone, of any faith, of any color or stripe, as are the Salvation Army workers? It’s tragic that this decision comes as a result of a selfish group of angry activists who hate Christian organizations that won’t toe the required line of wokeness and instead dare to brazenly go about the quiet business of offering love and hope, and lending a hand to those in need.
And how does the Salvation Army feel about the LGBTQ folks? Let’s read the organization’s own mission statement specific to that group:
Because LGBTQ Americans living in poverty often experience unacceptable homophobia and transphobia, many become homeless.
A majority of homeless LGBTQ people end up on the streets before they turn 18, and one in four is homeless before turning 16.
The Salvation Army is committed to serving the LGBTQ community through shelter…job training…help with substance abuse…food insecurity…and teenage suicide.
In a statement released in response to Chick-fil-A’s decision, the Salvation Army reiterated their willingness to serve the LGBTQ community, and made it clear that their actions back up their words:
“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed. We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population. When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk. We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”
Additionally, here is a portion of the organization’s non-discrimination policy:
“A diverse range of views on homosexuality exist within The Salvation Army — as among the wider Christian (and non-Christian) community,” the statement reads. “But no matter where individual Salvationists stand on this matter, The Salvation Army does not permit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity in the delivery of its services or in its employment practices.”
The Salvation Army stands against homophobia, which victimises people and can reinforce feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair. We want to be an inclusive church community where members of the LGBTQ community find welcome and the encouragement to develop their relationship with God.
Here is how the LGBTQ community responded to the news:
… LGBTQ activists were not immediately impressed. “If Chick-fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family,” said Drew Anderson, director of campaigns and rapid response for GLAAD, in an emailed statement. “Chick-fil-A investors, employees, and customers can greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism, but should remember that similar press statements were previously proven to be empty.”
Chick-Fil-A can certainly support whatever charity they choose, but caving in to the complaints of a small group of individuals because they don’t like the beliefs of those coming to the aid of hurting people is disgusting. Make your stand, and let the chips fall where they will knowing that the ultimate reward comes later, and is for all of eternity. Chick-fil-A consistently fills a unique niche in the evangelical community. Their supporters have long shown their loyalty to the organization that has been unabashedly pro-faith and lived out their ideals in their business dealings. All of this makes it confusing as to why they would choose to surrender to the angry mob.
I’ll leave with this thought: If I were hurting, hungry, homeless, or facing any sort of the devastating things that can happen in this life, and a group came alongside me offering a hand of hope and solace, sustenance and shelter, I don’t think I’d question their views on any social issue because, not only would that be a luxury I could ill afford, but all I would care about was that I was being handed a lifeline. I’m pretty sure my heart would be overflowing with gratitude. This offering of hope and help wedded together represents the vibrant, earth-shattering-life-changing thunderously deep, quiet love God has for His creation. Like many of you, I also know this because I’ve had any number of opportunities to be on the flip-side, and come alongside those in need. Not once did they, nor did I care about political stands or personal causes. And really, why would I? Why would the person who is in pain, and suffering? Besides providing help, all I really cared about was that they knew that at that very moment in space and time, someone cared about them. That they mattered. And judging from the responses, that’s all that people who are hurting care about too.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)