Chick-fil-A flip-flop? Chain won't rule out donating to Christian groups

LGBT pressure isn't letting up.

Fast-food favorite Chick-fil-A hasn't ruled out donating to organizations that promote traditional marriage as LGBTQ rights groups continue to express doubts about the chain after it stopped giving to The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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"Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger. No organization will be excluded from future consideration – faith based or non-faith based," Tim Tassopoulos, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, said in a statement.

CHICK-FIL-A INFURIATES CONSERVATIVE CUSTOMERS

Chick-fil-A has been quiet on social media since the weekend following furor from some of its fans. Many saw the decision as a betrayal for customers who stood by the restaurant in 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy said in several interviews that he didn't support gay marriage.

"We suspect Chick-fil-A's despisers will be emboldened rather than satisfied, and don't be surprised to hear demands that the company must now support causes the left holds dear. All in the name of tolerance and diversity," The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote on Tuesday evening.

The loss of funding from the chain, famous for refusing to open on Sundays because of its founder's religious beliefs, is significant to the two faith-based organizations. In 2017 and 2018, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave $2.4 million to the Missouri-based Fellowship of Christian Athletes for sports camps for underserved youth, and $165,000 to the Salvation Army to buy Christmas gifts for needy children.

Both groups stood for traditional marriage. Chick-fil-A's giving announcement on Monday was greeted with "cautious optimism" by LGBTQ rights group GLAAD, which said Chick-fil-A has made similar pledges before.

Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said if Chick-fil-A wants to be taken seriously, it should disavow its anti-gay reputation and ensure restaurants are safe for gay employees.

Meanwhile, LGBT-interest websites ran headlines like "Remember, Chick-fil-A isn't LGBTQ-friendly yet" at LGBTQ Nation and "Chick-fil-A Still Isn't LGBTQ-Friendly, Despite Pledge on Donations" at Advocate.

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Twitter user Louis Morgan said he had boycotted Chick-fil-A "for how they treated gays."

"While I boycotted Chick-fil-A for how they treated gays, it never occurred to me that others were patrons specifically because of how they treated gays. Did they think about hate every time they ate there? How does that work? Sounds bad for the soul," Morgan wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Obianuju Ekeocha, founder of Christian group Culture of Life Africa, warned Chick-fil-A that none of its decisions "will ever ever satisfy" LGBT rights groups.

"Dear Chick-fil-A,nothing you do will ever ever satisfy the LGBT hierarchy. Unless you rend your garment, beat your chest, gnash your teeth and renounce your Christian stance. You chose to bow down, be ready for complete submission," Ekeocha wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Salvation Army said in a statement that it was "saddened" by Chick-fil-A's decision.

"We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community," The Salvation Army said in a statement. "In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population. When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk."

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Chick-fil-A has committed $9 million to initiatives supporting education and fighting homelessness and hunger in 2020, according to its website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.