Monday, January 28, 2013

Why the reaction to Chick-fil-A 's charitable giving is COMPLETELY off base

Stepping through this:

  1. While we have known for some time that Chick-fil-A was a "Christian" company, the turds hit the turbines when COO, Dan Cathay weighed into marriage equality on July 18, 2012.
  2. National Organization for Marriage and Mike Huckabee started "Eat at CFA Days" on July 24, 2012 and August 1, 2012 respectively.
  3. The Company came under pressure throughout the fall of 2012. Bloggers and Equality Matters noticed that the affiliated Winshape Foundation was funding anti-gay endeavors like Exodus International and Family Research Council. This was for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010.
  4. Following some similar items released as news, on September 20, 2012 Chick-fil-A, in a press release, claimed that "our intent is not to support political or social agendas." Some people took this to mean that they were revising their giving criteria.
  5. Today, Shane Windmeyer, executive director for Campus Pride, wrote a column in the Huffington Post that appeared to some people to suggest that  Chick-fil-A had ended the entirety of its charitable donations to the groups flagged by Equality Matters in its reports on antigay giving. Apparently, this was based on an early review of the foundation's tax return for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011. Clearly, this predates the controversy during the fall of 2012 as well as the company's statement on September 20, 2012.
  6. The Advocate has since pointed out that the organization is still funding some anti-gay organizations     again, as of December 31, 2011.
By the way, in the same September, 2012 press release the company made this statement:
As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.
In other words, if you have money they will serve you their unhealthy, heart-clogging fried chicken that I wouldn't feed my cat (if I had a cat).

Most importantly, on September 22, 2012 I pointed out that the company had an equal opportunity statement that did not exactly scream diversity. I am no longer able to find that statement on the company's website. Nevertheless it is, or was:
Chick-fil-A, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment decisions based on any factor protected by federal, state or local law.
Compare that to Starbucks:
Starbucks Coffee Company is an Equal Opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state or federal law.
I suspect that, at least at their corporate HQ, Chick-fil-A is a toxic work environment for anyone who is not a Christian heterosexual. Their top ranking woman seems to have the title "administrator." Moreover, I don't see and Blumbergs or Epsteins among the corporate leadership.

Employment diversity is more important, in the long run, than their charitable giving philosophy. Until that changes; until their idea of Equal Employment Opportunity  specifically includes LGBT people, they remain a corporate pariah. They can keep their greasy chicken.
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