If we’re going to talk about Chick-fil-A, let’s talk seriously about why President Dan Cathy is being criticized for being anti-gay. This is about more than just rhetoric: it’s about money. In 2010, the most recent year records are available; Cathy gave almost $2 million to anti-gay organizations through the WinShape Foundation, Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm. At $5.25 for a Classic sandwich, that $1,974,380 would buy roughly 376,072 sandwiches. Let’s follow the money to see where they’re all going.
1. Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380 (226,358 sandwiches):
Cathy himself founded this organization in 2007, which was originally called the “Marriage and Family Legacy Fund.” Its purpose was to serve as the “implementation and funding” arm of Marriage CoMission. In 2006, Marriage CoMission published a report, to which Cathy contributed, that details the role that corporations can play in promoting the traditional family structure. This report, entitled “Marriage & Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business?” advises that corporations use their role as community leaders to guide America’s values back towards the traditional family.
Marriage CoMission lists as one of its supporters Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International (to be discussed in further detail later in the article, as it received WinShape donations.)
2. Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000 (91,428 sandwiches):
This organization has reportedly celebrated God’s freeing people from homosexuality at its annual National College Conference, though such statements have been removed from its current website. It has encouraged coaches who were “delivered from homosexuality” to share their stories, and combines ministry with sports through its Minister Leader program, which recruits those with an interest in sports and a love of religion to sign up to be a combination of a coach and a minister. In the application, one of the many religious statements with which these would-be leaders are forced to check their agreement is the statement that God disapproves of all forms of sexual impurity, including extramarital sex and homosexuality.
3. National Christian Foundation: $247,500 (47,142 sandwiches):
The NCF calls itself “the largest Christian grant-making foundation in the world.” Since the organization dispenses money to other groups, we have to dig a little deeper to figure out where these donations go. According to the NCF’s 2008 990 tax form, as reported by AlterNet, three of the largest recipients of NCF grants were Focus on the Family, the Discovery Institute, and the Family Research Council (which will be discussed in depth later, as it was also a direct recipient of Cathy’s donations).
Focus on the Family, perhaps the most well known right-wing organization in America, received over $4,000,000 from the NCF in 2008. Their anti-gay policies are extensive, and include financial and rhetorical support for the Defense of Marriage Act, their propagation of anti-gay and anti-choice abstinence-only sex-ed materials in schools (remember that time they compared teenage sex to wildfires?), their support for student-led prayer in schools (though not teacher led, because teachers could attempt to convert students to religions other than Christianity), and their support of reparative therapy to cure homosexuality.
The Discovery Institute, though not explicitly opposed to homosexuality, is one of the most prominent proponents of teaching the theory of Intelligent Design in schools rather than evolution, which has been widely accepted by the scientific community at large.
The Family Research Council, a direct recipient of WinShape donations, also received $2,000,000 of grants from the NCF, so it’s almost like Cathy is double dipping on his donations.
4. New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000 (10,285 sandwiches):
Make that triple dipping: the New Mexico Christian Foundation is merely a smaller regional branch of the National Christian Foundation.
5. Georgia Family Council: $2,500 (476 sandwiches):
The Georgia Family Council is your typical anti-gay organization: supporting legislation to ban gay marriage and calling the legalization of gay marriage “regression.”
6. Exodus International: $1,000 (190 sandwiches):
Exodus International is one of the most famous proponents of “Ex Gay” therapy, seeking to cure homosexuality like a disease. Chambers made news recently when he came out, as saying that “reparative therapy” for homosexuality could never be fully effective, and that it had in fact failed to remove his own homosexual urges. Even so, critics of the organization have said that it remains as politically anti-gay as ever.
7. Family Research Council: $1,000 (190 sandwiches):
The Family Research Council is one of the most vehemently anti-gay organizations around. In November 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center added the FRC to its list of hate groups, where it joined Ku Klux Klan groups and neo-Nazi groups like the Aryan Nations. The FRC has repeatedly compared homosexuality to pedophilia; their Senior Researcher Peter Sprigg has stated that he would outlaw homosexuality if he could.