In the same calendar year that the Texas Legislature scrambled to “save Chick-fil-A” amidst persecution from LGBT activists over the fast-food chain’s practice of making donations to Christian organizations, the company made an about-face, announcing on Monday that it would be ending those contributions to Christian charities.
Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1978 by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola) and State Rep. Matt Krause (R–Fort Worth) to bar governments in Texas from discriminating against businesses due to donations they may make to 501(c)(3) organizations.
While religious liberty advocates wanted a stronger bill, the bill that passed was a narrowly tailored response to a situation in San Antonio in which the city council voted against bringing Chick-fil-A into San Antonio International Airport due to the restaurant’s support of groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and The Salvation Army.
But now the Atlanta-based company says it will cease donations to those organizations, as part of a move to “deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness, and hunger.”
In an interview with Bisnow Media, Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos says the move was made to clarify who Chick-fil-A is.
“When there is a tension, we want to make sure we’re being clear. We think this is going to be helpful,” said Tassapoulos. “It’s just the right thing to do: to be clear, caring, and supportive and do it in the community.”
Jonathan Saenz, the president of Texas Values, an organization that advocated heavily for “Save Chick-fil-A” legislation during the legislative session, declined to criticize the restaurant. Instead, Saenz blamed liberals for placing increased pressure on the company.
“The continued focus on Chick-fil-A is more evidence of the growing attack by the left on entities and individuals who support Christian ministries. Chick-fil-A’s stated purpose is to ‘glorify God,’ and they are closed on Sunday, which is why some LGBT advocates will always hate them, regardless of what charities they support,” said Saenz.
The organization also added that they continue to support the Save Chick-fil-A bill “because it is, and continues to be, about more than just Chick-fil-A.”
Others took to social media to offer stronger rebukes of the fast-food chain’s decision. State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler) tweeted that the chain had “surrendered to the leftist mob.”
Chick-fil-A surrendered to the leftist mob. Which business is the next target?
— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) November 18, 2019
U.S. Congressman Chip Roy referred to the move as “capitulation” on the part of Chick-fil-A.
And former State Rep. Jason Isaac weighed in, calling leadership at Chick-fil-A “spineless.”
Now being served at @ChickfilA: Boneless chicken and spineless leadership.
Sorry, you were tired of “taking it on the chin” while your sales were increasing because we stood with you. https://t.co/fmJ4X6F3d6
— Fmr. Rep. Jason Isaac (@ISAACforTexas) November 18, 2019
Meanwhile, praise for Chick-fil-A’s decision has been lacking, and the LGBT groups and activists that have long derided them have been largely silent.