Why Chick-Fil-A’s Anti-LGBT Giving Is Still A Problem

CREDIT: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Chick-fil-A sponsors the Peach Bowl; its foundation funds the anti-LGBT Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Back in 2012, Chick-fil-A’s history of anti-LGBT activism became national news amid comments from company president Dan Cathy that the company was “guilty as charged” of opposing same-sex marriage. In the fallout, Cathy vowed to stay out of the debate and focus on chicken.

Some LGBT rights activists embraced the company’s changing approach and, after an initial spike in anti-LGBT giving, the company’s foundations scaled back the support for groups that actively push an anti-gay agenda. But newly released tax documents, obtained by ThinkProgress through the subscription-only CitizenAudit website, show that abstinence was short-lived.

In 2014, the Chick-fil-A Foundation — the company’s charitable arm — distributed about $4.3 million to non-profit organizations. Of this, nearly a quarter ($1,017,610) went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The tax-exempt Fellowship says its mission is to “present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”

The group imparts a strongly anti-LGBT message on its athletes and leaders. Staff and volunteers with the organization have been required to adhere to a strictsexual purity” policy, prohibiting any “homosexual acts” even for married couples. It reads:

God desires His children to lead pure lives of holiness. The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God. While upholding God’s standard of holiness, FCA strongly affirms God’s love and redemptive power in the individual who chooses to follow Him. FCA’s desire is to encourage individuals to trust in Jesus and turn away from any impure lifestyle.

A 2010 story, no longer posted on the organization’s site, claimed that at the FCA’s 2010 National College Conference, “God freed some people from homosexuality, sexual sins, addictions and even ushered newcomers into His Kingdom.”

Nearly 100,000 athletes and coaches participated in FCA’s camps in 2015. The Fellowship declined to comment for this story.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about how it squares its support for FCA with Cathy’s comments about staying out of the anti-gay fray.