Chik-Fil-A’s Anti-Gay Damage Control Even Sloppier Than Their Sandwiches

The Interwebs have been abuzz recently about Chik-Fil-A’s supposed anti-gay leaning. The company has always been linked to religious values: the chain is closed on Sundays, they play hymns at corporate headquarters, and they play Christian music at restaurants. “Glorifying god” is in their corporate mission. All this has led some people to nickname it “Jesus chicken,” which is absolutely what I’m calling it from now on.

But now, people are saying that Chik-fil-a has sponsored Pennsylvania Family Institute seminars (PFI is about as evil as most organizations with family in the name these days), that they ask about religious involvement on franchise applications, and that they don’t let queer couples into their marriage counseling program at the WinShape Foundation. (Yes, Chik-fil-a runs marriage counseling.)

Some gay groups are calling for a boycott, and some rabble-rousing liberal college students have asked for Chik-fil-a to be removed from campuses. Change.org started a petition asking Chik-fil-a to stop doing this stuff, and they’ve collected about 25,000 signatures now.

The president of the company, Dan Cathy, talked to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to try and diffuse all the bad PR. Turns out he’s really bad at that. He did the usual denying of the allegations, saying that the free food to PFI isn’t politically motivated, they don’t ask about religion on franchise applications, and the company isn’t trying to push a specific agenda.

“While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees… We’ve opted not to get involved in the political debate. It’s never been our agenda.”

That’s all fine and good, maybs this guy is actually sort of telling the truth, but then, he says this thing:

When asked if he would prefer the company was in the news for other things — the upcoming Daddy-Daughter Date Night, for example — Cathy said he welcomed the discussion of marriage.

“It’s been a really great thing for us,” he said of the recent controversy. “We intend to stay the course. It’s served us well. We don’t mind being in the news for this.”

Wait, what? You don’t want to get involved in the political debate, but you’re really glad you got the chance to talk about these issues and about your faith on a national stage? Yeah, that makes total sense.

So it looks like now we have a moral reason to avoid the whole “deep fried piece of chick on a buttered white bun with a big-ass glass of sweet tea” thing, on top of all the other trans-fat related reasons.

Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 131 articles for us.

79 Comments

  1. I was never to keen on Chik-fil-a, despite the fact they do have amazing chicken sandwiches and awesome waffle fries. But that’s about ALL they have. Maybe a few salads but not much compared to other restaurants. And their sandwiches are not cheap in my opinion. I may just be a cheap skate. Or just trying to find reason to hate them. They support Anti-gay groups?! OH! That’s a reason to dislike them! Basically any fast food company that supports any political agenda that is against any group of people that is not sex offenders or murderers needs to stfu and keep selling their shit.

  2. And they make you fat! Let’s sue them like those little kids did Mcdonalds! I wonder if anybody has tested the Chicken Sandwich from Chik-fil-a like they did the Big Mac.

  3. The only time I have ever tried to eat there was on a Sunday, which means it was closed. I guess that’s a sign. Now it won’t be hard for me to boycott it because I’ve never tasted it and therefore I don’t know the difference.

    The first time I even heard about this chain was last year in my advertising class because my textbook mentioned it like a million times. I thought it was pronounced chik-filla, as in filling something up, until my teacher said it the right way and I was like, “ohhhhh, I get it.” I think it’s actually a pretty horrible name, like, it pisses me off how stupid it is.

  4. My girlfriend & I eat at the Chik-Fil-A in Jonesboro, AR all the time. The owners are Christians but they have never made us feel uncomfortable. They always remember us & greet us with a smile every time we go in.

  5. This is my first comment ever. I hope I don’t fuck up. Okay…

    A Chik-fil-a was just added to my campus this fall. I haven’t eaten there yet and won’t now that I know they’re anti-gay.

    I really want to do something to raise awareness about this. I’m going to send this link to our BLAD (Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians, & Allies for Diversity) president and go from there.

    • I am LOVING your Harry Potter reference for a name!
      Aside from my random fangirl-ing…
      Go for it! If they’re anti-gay, then we shouldn’t support them, fucking delicious waffle fry foodgasms or not.

  6. Chick-fil-a really does have the best chicken sandwiches and waffle fries on this whole earth, but when I was a little kid I hated eating there because instead of toys in the kids meals, they gave out Adventures In Odyssey cassette tapes.

    Oh, you’ve never heard of Adventures in Odyssey? It’s a James Dobson (Focus on the Family) radio series for children. It’s totally still a thing. http://www.whitsend.org/abouttheshow/A000000784.cfm

    ANYWAY. What I really want to say is, Shut up, Chick-fil-a and give me my delicious goddamn sandwich. I didn’t drive-thru because my soul is in need of redemption. I drove-thru because I can’t fucking cook.

  7. 🙁 but i love chik fil a 🙁 🙁 🙁
    they’ve always been pretty nice to me and my boo there, and we’re pretty obviously queer. i don’t think i can ever give up their lifechangingly delicious chicken nuggets and waffle fries 🙁

  8. When my home town first got one, I for some reason decided to boycott it. That was about 7 years ago and even though I can’t remember the exact reason for this boycott, I have stuck by it and have never eaten there.

  9. But Chik-Fil-A is what I eat when I desperately miss the south, by which I mean Cane’s and Zaxby’s and Bojangles’ superior chicken! And thinking about this hierarchy of fast food is making me crave it even more, which only reminds me again that I live in a part of the country where, not only is there a massive wintry storm of doom on the horizon, but Chik-Fil-A is the best option when I am feeling ~nostalgic.

  10. There are no Chick-A-Fil in Washington DC, because everyone in this city is vegan, vegetarian, super skinny or judgey of chains. Anyway, I wanted to try Dominos new recipe, but then I realized the owner/CEO/whatevs is, like, a total gay hater. Also, I avoid Poland Spring because they got really crappy scores on some HRC survey of the most gay-friendly companies.

  11. Their food is delish, sadly. I’ve eaten there on the very rare occasion, knowing because of the “closed on Sunday” thing that it was probably not a good idea. Now that I know for certain, never again with their tasty chicken nuggets and waffle fries.

  12. Long live Zaxby’s, taking me away from bigoted food since childhood. Seriously, not to advertise, but Zaxby’s is a way better chicken joint. And better tea. Double whammy.

  13. I was never a particular fan of them anyhow (btw – I’m in MA, just for the “where is it” map). I prefer my food and my religion separate, unless it’s Easter or Seder or something.

    I have to say, I was utterly unsurprised to find out they’re anti-gay. Does anyone know a good Christian-owned company that isn’t evil? Because I would like to think that my wife’s religion hasn’t been completely hijacked by evildoers.

    In other news, the Chic-Fil-A near me is also home to Scary Intense Ketchup Lady, who wanders around the foodcourt in her C-F-A uniform giving out extra ketchup packets to anyone who seems to have bought food from them.

    Speaking of christian-owned companies, is anyone from RI or CT and remembers Bess Eaton? They had bible quotes on their napkins. They sold not-very-good donuts.

  14. Even though I’m a vegetarian, I love their waffle fries. I just introduced my Canadian friend to Chik-Fil-A a few months ago. She wasn’t in love with it or anything (she’s not a fan of fast food in general).

    It was like a treasure hunt finding the Chik-Fil-A in our city because every map we looked at showed the wrong location. We had both heard that it existed, but no one we talked to knew where it was. It was in the student cafeteria. Most of our friends are grad students and none of them frequent the cafeteria (pretty much an undergrad only zone).

    I know her gf is going to see this article and then bye-bye waffle fries. Oh, well, I always want them on Sunday anyway.

  15. Hold up, you people are saying this food is actually good? Like I say, I never ate it. It’s probably like McDonalds – saturated in animal fecal matter. The sandwich in the photo looks like a Cajun spicy deep-fried shit with a big ass grease stain below it. Leave it out for 6 months, and it looks the same. What difference does it make what they think of gays when you’re eating a turd?

      • No, I can’t understand that. I only know 150 words of English, and “fecal” isn’t one of them. Can you help?

        😀

        Seriously, every manner of nastiness is found in fast food. Google “factory farm.” I worked at Burger King as a teen. That shit is not fit for consumption.

        Raise your hand if you’ve worked fast food.

  16. The community college I attended last semester had a fundraiser at a local Chik-Fil-A. It seems odd to me now to be hearing about how they’re against gay marriage…

  17. Uhmm…actually Chik-Fil-A uses peanut oil which is cholesterol and trans fat free. They probably have the healthiest menu of all fast food places.

    I’ve always known that they were religious and kinda anti-gay, which sucks because I’d rather eat there. I like their Southwest salad.

  18. I know this has nothing to do with the article, actually i haven’t read it yet (have to get out all my feelings first. i’m going to tho, promise)… Does anyone else find it weird Katy Perry is advertising on here? like for real, i’m glad she’s spending money supporting AS, but doesn’t her advertising staff look at the fact most of us hate her?? Soooo STUPID!!!

    • No, just waffle-shaped french fries (or “chips,” I suppose, for you Brits or whomever). Like curly fries. Or dino fries. Man, I wish I had either some waffle or dino or other fun-shaped fries right now.

  19. Not to try to entice people to read my blog, but um, in my blog I wrote a whole entry about how I’m THE worst boycotter and I mainly only do so out of shame. I should probably be more embarrassed to say that I don’t plan to boycott Chik-Fil-A. I live in CT where we have none of the delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, and I only get to eat them when I visit my godson in VA.

    A chain restaurant that is closed on Sundays has always been a pretty big bell ringer for me that they take their religion pretty seriously. That’s their right. As is their right to think I should not be able to get married. Frankly, I’m a firm believer that gay marriage is happening in the US, despite the disagreements of some rinky dink chain restaurant. I haven’t heard any claims of not hiring gays or hate-speak to any of their gay employees, other than barring gays from marriage counseling. (which I just find weird. Why would I want to go to marriage counseling through my job?) I have a couple coworkers that don’t agree with gay marriage, but they support gays in every other way. Though I don’t get what the big deal is, I know that their faith can’t let them see past that and just hope they come around. But really it ain’t no skin off my nose…I can still marry my fiancée whenever I’m ready in my state and my faith is just as strong that the rest will fall in line soon.

    Everyone’s not always going to agree with me, my choices, my lifestyle and not just the fact that I love women. A chain that half of the comments didn’t even know existed until now sponsoring a marriage conference with an organization that doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page isn’t even a blip on my radar. I’m more concerned about the people in political offices openly holding us back.

  20. So, I love all of ya’ll but…i’m still eating Chik-Fil-A. I’ve already been told that i’m supporting the enemy, but that’s just ridiculous and the explanation. But, I wont go into that too much. Nonetheless, i’m still spending my cash at Chik-Fil-A (when I have it and I feel like driving out there). Dueces ^_^

  21. Respectfully to our brothers and sisters struggling with homosexuality, homosexuality is defined by sexual intercourse, period. It is defined by nothing else. It cannot be defined by children. It cannot defined by true love. True love is defined by God and God defines heterosexuality. And too, homosexuality cannot be defined by marriage. God defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is defined BY sexual intercourse, an act. May the love and mercy of God shine like a rainbow on those struggling with sexual perversion (i.e., addiction, etc.).

  22. “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous;
    love does not brag and is not arrogant…does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

    Are you talking about this same God? Because the last time I checked, He cared about a lot more than married people making babies. He also cared about justice, and compassion, and peace. You are not promoting any of those.

    And the last time I checked, true love was defined by so much more than mere procreation, or by the gender of anyone involved. Homosexuality AND heterosexuality are based on both love AND sex; you can’t separate them, just as you can’t separate the parts of the Bible that support and contradict your argument.

    Don’t you DARE try to shame me for who I am. If God made you, then he made me too–gay and all.

  23. Me and my girlfriend went to chick fil a for our prom dinner. It was pretty dead and the kids working there treated us like royalty. Easily the best prom night ever.

  24. one night the kids talked my partner and I into taking them into Chic-fil-a. while we are eating we notice that there are an awful lot of families there with women in denim skirts, lots of kids, guys with buzz cuts and american flag t shirts. Oh no, it’s church night. Not just any church night, but the church-of-women-can’t-wear-pants night. (our daughter refers to them as the koulot kind because many of the young girls wear koulots because they are like a skirt and pants together) as I start to get nervous and want to get the heck out of there, my daughter starts to make friends in the play area. Our daughter is about 9 at the time and very clever. all the kids start talking about how many brothers and sisters they have (these folks tend to have large families). Not to be outdone, our girl tells them about her six brothers and sisters. She does not exactly spell out that five of them are half siblings through the donor her two moms used. She savors the cat-and-mouse like process of them trying to figure her family out. They never quite figure out the puzzle she has laid out for them before I can extract her brother from the play area and arrange our exit. nerves of steel that child, and a mean sense of humor

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.