Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records show that Chick-fil-A is not only stopping donations to Christian organizations but is funding left-wing extremist groups, including the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Chick-fil-A’s 2017 990 IRS filing shows the fast-food franchise made a $2,500 donation to SPLC, among a laundry list of pro-abortion and pro-LGBT orgs, Townhall reports. The Chick-fil-A Foundation has come under conservative scrutiny since its decision to stop supporting Christian charities such as the Salvation Army, caving to disingenuous pressure campaigns from far-left activists.
The SPLC is most infamous for inspiring an attempted domestic terror attack against the Family Research Council (FRC), a group that lobbies for pro-marriage and pro-life policies.
In 2013, Floyd Lee Corkins II was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the first-ever conviction for domestic terrorism under Washington, DC, law. Corkins pled guilty to assault with intent to kill and committing an act of terrorism for entering the FRC’s office in August 2012 and shooting a black security guard, who ultimately thwarted his attack. Corkins used the SPLC’s “hate map” — an error–filled digital map giving the addresses of entities that the org deems “hate groups” — to locate the FRC for his planned massacre.
Corkins was carrying a bag of Chick-fil-A sandwiches when he entered the building and started shooting. He later told prosecutors that he planned to smear some of the food on the faces of his would-be victims.
FRC President Tony Perkins swiftly denounced the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s support of “one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America.”
“Not only has Chick-fil-A abandoned donations to Christian groups including the Salvation Army, it has donated to one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America,” Perkins said in a statement. “Anyone who opposes the SPLC, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives, is slandered and slapped with the ‘extremist’ label or even worse, their ‘hate group’ designation.”
“It’s time for Christians to find a fast food alternative to Chick-fil-A,” he concluded.
In addition to the FRC terrorism episode, the SPLC has suffered a number of other setbacks and humiliations, but it has not backed down from its extremist agenda, refreshing its “Hate Map” in 2018 and putting mainstream conservative activists in the same category as neo-Nazis and the alt-right.
The FRC remains a target on the map, even after the listing nearly got some of its staff killed. Other supposed “hate groups” include the Center for Immigration Studies, Center for Security Policy, Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Clarion Project.
After Corkins’ prosecution, federal agencies began distancing themselves from the then-discredited SPLC. The Department of Justice scrubbed its hate crimes web page of any association from the org in 2014, and the Department of Defense soon followed suit in its training materials. In August 2018, then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called out the org while speaking at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — which SPLC has labeled a “hate group.”
The SPLC’s broad-brush approach to political smearing has caused it more PR headaches in recent years. In December 2017, its “Hate Tracker” — a tool ostensibly set up to monitor the conversation topics of online extremists — flagged the hashtags “#Christmas,” “#MerryChristmas,” “#Jesus,” and “#ChristmasEve.” At the time of this writing, the “Hate Tracker” website is no longer functional.
Just months earlier, the org committed an even bigger blunder, including British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” Nawaz sued for defamation and won a $3.375 million settlement plus an on-camera apology from SPLC President Richard Cohen.
After the Nawaz fiasco, the floodgates opened with bipartisan scrutiny of its practices. Washington Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen wrote a piece titled “The Southern Poverty Law Center has lost all credibility,” calling the org a “caricature” of its former self and urging donors to halt their support.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) wrote to the IRS in April 2019, asking for a review of the SPLC’s nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in light of its obviously partisan activities which have yielded hundreds of millions of assets and “lavish salaries” for its management.
“Recent news reports have confirmed the long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents,” Cotton wrote, citing the Nawaz settlement and the org’s Hate Map. “In fact, the SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation.”
In March of 2019, the SPLC fired its founder Morris Dees, suggesting some kind of misconduct. A local reporter said several sources told him Dees had been accused of sexual harassment. In addition, SPLC employees reportedly accused management of being “complicit in decades of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment and/or assault.”
Franklin Graham Lies To Defend Chick-fil-A About Gay Mafia
CElebrated evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham revealed Thursday that Chick-fil-A’s CEO has assured him that the fast food chain has not “bowed down” to demands from LGBT activists following the news that it is ending donations to three groups that oppose gay marriage.
In a social media post, Graham wrote that he called CEO Dan Cathy to discuss the issue and said he came away thinking the controversy had been overblown, affirming that Chick-fil-A “has not changed who they are or what they believe.”
Graham wrote on Facebook:
Has Chick-fil-A caved? Some are saying they’ve rolled over, that they’ve conceded to the LGBTQ protests because they released a statement about their charitable giving. They announced that in 2020 they’re giving to fight hunger and homelessness and support education. What’s wrong with that?
I picked up the phone and called Dan Cathy. Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community. They will continue to support whoever they want to support. They haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Chick-fil-A remains committed to Christian values. Dan Cathy assured me that this isn’t going to change. I hope all those who jumped to the wrong conclusion about them read this.
In my opinion, the gay movement wouldn’t ever be happy with Chick-fil-A unless they were open on Sunday, gave all of their charitable donations to LGBTQ organizations, and flew the rainbow flag over their stores! Their hatred for Chick-fil-A is rooted in founder Truett Cathy’s strong stand for biblical “traditional” values and his desire to honor God.
No fast food chain does a better job. I went through the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A yesterday morning, and I thought I might get dinner there—but a whole lot of other people had the same idea! A Chick-fil-A sandwich with waffle fries sounds really good right now!
Graham’s comments come after the Atlanta-based company said Monday that starting next year, it will focus its giving on three areas: hunger, homelessness, and education.
“This decision was made to create more clarity — and to better address three critical needs facing children across the communities Chick-fil-A serves,” the company said in a statement.
Chick-fil-A President Tim Tassopoulos said the company — which is closed on Sundays — will still consider donations to faith-based groups. The company wouldn’t say whether it will consider an organization’s position on gay rights before donating.
In the meantime, it doesn’t plan to continue its support of three groups that oppose gay marriage and have been the target of protesters’ ire.
In 2017 and 2018, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave $2.4 million to the Missouri-based Fellowship of Christian Athletes for sports camps for underserved youth and $165,000 to the Salvation Army to buy Christmas gifts for needy children. The foundation also gave $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Homes.
Chick-fil-A’s decision to no longer support the groups angered some conservatives, who say they stood by the restaurant in 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy said in several interviews that he didn’t support gay marriage. In more recent interviews, Cathy — who is the son of Chick-fil-A’s founder — has reiterated his personal beliefs but says he treats all customers with respect.
The Salvation Army issued a statement saying it was “saddened” by Chick-fil-A’s decision. It said the move was based on misinformation that, when perpetuated, puts at risk its ability “to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in a tweet Monday that he coordinated a national appreciation day for the company in 2012. Now, Chick-fil-A is betraying supporters, he said.
“They surrendered to anti-Christian hate groups. Tragic,” Huckabee tweeted.
“Chick-fil-A has decided to allow themselves to be bullied, to allow their enemies — the people who hate them — to dictate where they give their money,” Huckabee said Tuesday on WVNN’s The Jeff Poor Show. “I’m going to be very clear — they have every right to give wherever they want. They don’t have to give at all. They can choose to give to the most liberal or the most conservative organizations. But I was very disappointed that not only did they eventually bow down to the bullies on this, but then they tried to cover themselves by talking about how they had just reevaluated their overall help for education, homelessness, and job help for kids. And I just think that is disingenuous.”
“The bottom line is they caved,” he added. “They surrendered. I wish they would just be honest about it and say, ‘Despite the fact that millions of people stood up for us when we were bullied before, and came to our defense because they protected our free speech rights and our First Amendment rights of association and religion, we’re going to bow down to the bullies anyway because we want to go into business in some areas where they might create problems for us.’ It’s just a sad day in America.”
Chick-fil-A To Stop Donations To Charities With Anti-LGBT Views
As Chick-fil-A expands globally and into more liberal parts of the U.S., the chicken chain plans to change which charities it donates to after years of bad press and protests from the LGBT community.
Beginning next year, Chick-fil-A will move away from its current philanthropic structure, Bisnow has learned. After donating to more than 300 charitable organizations this year, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain will instead focus on three initiatives with one accompanying charity each: education, homelessness and hunger. “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said in an interview with Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.” The new initiative will no longer include donating to organizations like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home, Chick-fil-A says, all of which sparked criticism in the past from the LGBT community due to the organizations’ stances on homosexuality. The move comes after several U.S. airports rejected the company from concessions deals earlier this year. More recently, the landlord of the first Chick-fil-A in the U.K. announced eight days into its lease the pop-up venue would not be welcome to extend — all because of the company’s perceived anti-LGBT stance. The company is also months from opening its first location in Boston, where the late Mayor Thomas Menino pledged to ban the company from opening within city limits after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy voiced his opposition to gay marriage in 2012. Starting next year, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9M to organizations like Junior Achievement USA to support education, Covenant House International to fight homelessness and community food banks for its hunger initiative in each city where the chain operates. The company intends to dedicate $25K to a local food bank each time it opens a new location. “This provides more focus and more clarity,” Tassopoulos said. “We think [education, hunger and homelessness] are critical issues in communities where we do business in the U.S.”
Along with scholarships for team members and ongoing revitalization initiatives in its hometown of Atlanta, Chick-fil-A anticipates about $32M in cash gifts in 2020. The new giving structure moves away from the multiyear commitments Chick-fil-A had with the Salvation Army and the FCA and focuses on annual grants, which Tassopoulos said will be reviewed and assessed each year. Future partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBT positions. While the philanthropic shift is an acknowledgment that past giving has hurt the company’s brand, it hasn’t negatively impacted sales. Chick-fil-A surpassed $1B in sales in 2001 and eclipsed the $5B mark in 2013, the year following Cathy’s statement on gay marriage. The chicken chain became the third-largest U.S. fast-food chain this year with $10.5B in sales, according to Nation’s Restaurant News data. Only McDonald’s and Starbucks bring in more revenue among fast-food chains. But after years of “taking it on the chin,” as a Chick-fil-A executive told Bisnow, the latest round of headlines was impossible to ignore. This time, it was impeding the company’s growth. The San Antonio City Council was voting on an airport concessions contract in March when ThinkProgress reported that Chick-fil-A was still donating to anti-LGBT groups. The Chick-fil-A Foundation had donated $1.8M in 2017 to the Salvation Army, the FCA and the Paul Anderson Youth Home. A San Antonio city councilor brought up the article at the council meeting, and councilors voted in favor of the concessions contract — as long as a planned Chick-fil-A was dropped from the deal. The story had ripple effects. Delaware North, the concessions handler for Buffalo Niagara International Airport, also decided in March not to move ahead with plans for a Chick-fil-A at that airport, and officials in San Jose, California, announced they would not renew the chain’s lease at the airport when it runs out in 2026. The company’s giving history and Cathy’s previous comments on marriage equality have also dealt a reputational blow to its international expansion. More than 100 LGBT and animal rights protesters showed up to opening day at Chick-fil-A’s first Toronto store in September. After protests and a boycott by a local LGBT group, the landlord behind a Chick-fil-A pop-up store at a mall in Reading, England, announced eight days into the lease it would not renew with the chain because the mall is meant to “offer an inclusive space where everyone is welcome.” A Chick-fil-A in Scotland is still in operation, but company leaders still felt a new message was needed — especially in foreign markets, where the most prominent brand exposure to Chick-fil-A are headlines about its support for organizations with anti-LGBT stances.
Chick-fil-A has been working on the new charitable structure since summer 2018, according to sources familiar with the process, and finally approved it in a board vote last week. But it will still take time for the plan to take effect. The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $115K to the Salvation Army and $1.65M to the FCA in 2018, according to a tax form filed Friday with the IRS. A company spokesperson said the donations were the last of multiyear commitments to the two groups.
The company still maintains the donations were made for reasons completely unrelated to the organizations’ stance on LGBT issues. The FCA donation goes toward summer youth camps at the Atlanta HBCUs Morehouse College and Spelman College, according to the tax filing. The Salvation Army donation goes toward the organization’s Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts to children in need. The LGBT community took issue with the organizations in the past due to the FCA’s employment purity statement, which speaks out against sex outside marriage and “homosexual acts.” The Salvation Army has been accused of LGBT discrimination in the past. The organization has repeatedly denied those accusations, most recently on Monday afternoon after Chick-fil-A’s announcement. “We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations,” the organization said in a statement to Bisnow. “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.” Looking ahead, Chick-fil-A leaders told Bisnow the mission of the company is to serve all members of its many communities. But the company also recognizes that changes are needed, especially if some communities don’t want to see a Chick-fil-A sign go up in their backyard. “When there is a tension, we want to make sure we’re being clear. We think this is going to be helpful,” Tassopoulos said. “It’s just the right thing to do: to be clear, caring and supportive, and do it in the community.”