It only took a few hours for Chick-fil-A to backtrack, slightly, on its No Supporting Bigoted Groups donation policy.
Yesterday, the famously Christian-owned restaurant chain said it would be changing how it gives money to charity. They would now be focused specifically on the areas of education, homelessness, and hunger, which also meant it would no longer be supporting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, two groups that, at some level, believe same-sex marriage is sinful even if that’s not at the root of what they do.
Some LGBTQ rights groups like GLAAD were hesitant to praise Chick-fil-A, saying “further transparency is needed.” Several other critics also pointed out that Chick-fil-A said something similar in the past — no more supporting bigoted groups — only to go ahead and do just that.
And tonight, President and COO Tim Tassopoulos told VICE that it was entirely possible anti-gay groups could receive money from Chick-fil-A in the future.
“No organization will be excluded from future consideration — faith-based or non-faith-based,” Chick-fil-A President and COO Tim Tassopoulos said in a statement to VICE.
That’s a weird thing to say on a day when you’re generating positive buzz for distancing your company from hate-based groups. The issue isn’t whether Chick-fil-A is supporting Christian organizations; it’s about whether the restaurant wants to support groups that work against LGBTQ people, overtly or covertly. If they gave money to a Christian-run group that said it was inspired by Jesus to help the homeless — one that didn’t proselytize or promote hateful beliefs — no one would be complaining about it.
Tassopoulos just created wiggle room where none was needed, perhaps in response to pushback from conservatives who were outraged by the idea that the chain’s Christianity would now mean helping the needy instead of hurting LGBTQ people. (To them, what good is Christianity if it’s not used as a weapon to harm others?)
Chick-fil-A didn’t say which groups they might consider supporting in the future, but even this flimsy statement leaves the door open too much. They don’t get to have it both ways. Either they side with bigotry or they don’t. It’s not that complicated. Or at least it’s not complicated for those of us who aren’t evangelical Christians.