What does a tricked up fast-food chicken sandwich shop have to say about same-sex marriage?
More than a mouthful, it turns out.
Through its charitable WinShape Foundation, the nationally franchised restaurant Chick-fil-A supports such groups as the National Organization for Marriage, the Ruth Institute, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, Focus on the Family and Exodus International, among others, all fighting to ban marriage for same-sex couples and some advocating to "cure" homosexuality, Huffington Post reported.
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” said company head Dan Cathy. “We give God thanks for that."
It’s not just chicken feed, either. Fox News reported that the Chick-fil-A foundation has given “donated millions of dollars to groups that lobby against legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A reported sales of $4.1 billion in 2011.
In response, several of those groups are supporting a “kiss-in” at Chick-fil-A’s 1,615 restaurants in 39 states. That includes the Chick-fil-A restaurant in West Des Moines’ Jordan Creek Town Center. A stand-alone store is under construction at 6555 Mills Civic Parkway.
According to posts on Facebook, there are long lines of customers waiting at the Jordan Creek restaurant today.
Among the supporters are the Iowa-based Family Leader, founded by unsuccessful three-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.
Huffington Post religion blogger Warren J. Blumenfeld, also a professor at Iowa State University in Ames,took exception to Cathy’s defense of his opposition of same-sex marriage.
“Well, Mr. Cathy, one does not have to be a biblical scholar to know our society does not and has not followed many of the principles the Bible dictates on issues of marriage,” Blumenthal wrote, listing passages of Scripture that show many religious teachings point out that the institution of marriage was constructed differently than what some may consider traditional now.
“I would ask Mr. Cathy and his supporters, to which biblical marriage values and principles are you referring? Do you prefer that men engage in polygamous relationships like Abraham? What about marrying your half-sister? I'm not hearing any so-called ‘Judeo-Christian’ leaders calling on men in childless marriages to take on mistresses, and once they conceive, to exile them and their children from their towns, or for men to marry the widows of their deceased brothers, even when the men themselves are already married.
“When was the last time we banished a married couple from our communities for having sexual relations during the woman's period? Should we really kill recalcitrant young people? Was this how we do and should define "traditional marriage" and "traditional families" today? And should we simply block out the verses recounted about David and Jonathan, and Naomi and Ruth?”
Besides Vander Plaats and his Family Leader, groups and individuals supporting Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day include:
- International Christian Concern, charity foundation
- Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink
- Wisconsin Family Action
- George Faught, Oklahoma congressional candidate
- First-place finisher in the Iowa caucuses, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Patriot Voices organization
- Rich Hudson, North Carolina congressional candidate
- Citizens United
- Wallbuilders, an evangelical Christian American history education organization
- U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, a Republican
- Liberty Counsel, legal advocacy organization dedicated to religious freedom
- Project 21 – Conservative public policy group of African-Americans
- Denison Forum on Truth and Culture – Evangelical outreach of Dallas pastor Jim Denison
- Concerned Women of America, nation’s largest women’s advocacy group
- Dave Weldon, former Congressman and candidate for U.S. Senate from Flordia
- Family Research Council
- Rep. Jeff Duncan, South Carolina GOP congressman
- CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education
- Dan Patrick, Texas State Senator
- The Rev. Billy Graham
- First Baptist Church of Dallas, Rev. Robert Jeffress
- Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and former GOP vice presidential candidate
- Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
Cathy said that despite opposition to the company’s political views on marriage, "We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."