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December 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham called on Christians to pray that Chick-fil-A holds true to its historic Christian values over Thanksgiving weekend, in an apparent departure from previous comments downplaying the food chain’s withdrawal of funding from Christian charities branded “anti-LGBT” by the Left.
“Chick-fil-A has been in the news a lot, and every day it seems there’s a new article about their charitable giving. There has been a lot of concern and criticism, and maybe rightly so. For Christian schools, businesses, and organizations, there is always a danger of drifting to the left. It is my sincere hope that Chick-fil-A will not allow that to happen,” Graham wrote in a Nov. 30 Facebook post.
For years, LGBT activists have attempted to brand Chick-fil-A as “hateful” due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s past donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. But while the company has no shortage of detractors in politics and media, the complaints fell on deaf ears among actual customers.
Nevertheless, the company announced last month that it would stop donating to Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and the Paul Anderson Youth Home—organizations attacked as “anti-LGBT” for taking traditional biblical stances on homosexuality. “We don't want our intent and our work to be encumbered by someone else's politics or cultural war,” the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s Rodney Bullard said.
The news was soon followed by revelations that the company had donated to several “progressive” and pro-LGBT organizations. The most alarming recipient was the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing organization dedicated to labeling mainstream Christian and/or conservative organizations—including Chick-fil-A itself—as “hate groups.”
Chick-fil-A’s leftward turn has outraged many conservative, religious, and pro-family figures who had defended them for years, but Graham was not initially among them. Son of the famed evangelical leader Billy Graham and head of the international charity Samaritan’s Purse, Graham first wrote on November 21 that conservatives had “jumped to the wrong conclusion” based on the initial news.
“I picked up the phone and called [Chick-fil-A CEO] Dan Cathy. Dan was very clear that they have not bowed down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community,” he said. “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.”
On November 30, however, Graham wrote another post acknowledging that “there has been a lot of concern and criticism” about Chick-fil-A, “and maybe rightly so.”
“For Christian schools, businesses, and organizations, there is always a danger of drifting to the left,” he noted. “What can we do now? I would encourage Christians everywhere to pray for Dan Cathy, his brother Bubba, and the family as they have some important decisions to make. It’s their company, they can do what they want. But my prayer is that God will lead and direct them, and that they will continue to honor their late father Truett Cathy’s strong stand for biblical values–all to the glory of God!”
Graham’s latest remarks follow a coalition of conservative leaders who wrote an open letter to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy expressing how “tremendously disappointed” they are in the company. Signatories include United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Kenneth Blackwell, Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James, Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, Conservative HQ chairman Richard Viguerie, and many others.
“When you were under attack by the left in 2012, America's families stood with you,” it notes. “We helped form long lines at your stores, stretching out the doors and around the buildings, in many cases.” But “your latest decisions to withdraw charitable giving to the Salvation Army and other Christian charities has betrayed the very people who stood with you.”