Did Alderman Moreno Force Chick-Fil-A to Stop Giving Money to Focus on the Family?

Did Chick-Fil-A yield to pressure and stop its donations to Focus on the Family? 

This article is so full of double-speak, that I can’t decide.

Normally, when I read something that goes around in circles like this does, I just assume that whoever wrote it is trying to make it sound like they didn’t do whatever it is that they really did do. But I so hope I’m wrong about this that I can’t let myself believe that.

This issue goes beyond the question of same-sex marriage. It is about freedom of speech. I don’t care if Chick-Fil-A donates money to Focus on the Family or not. The issue for me is their right to not only do so, but to say that they do so without government officials taking vengeance on them.

If someone can be bullied into backing away from a legal action that they clearly want to take because they have been attacked over being honest about it, that has a chilling effect on everyone’s freedom of speech. When a government official uses their power (as all the accounts about this seem to say) to coerce them to do this, that crosses a serious line about government interference in freedom of speech.

Dan Daly, the head of Focus on the Family, tries to defend Chick-Fil-A. But he never specifically says that they are continuing to donate money to his organization. That’s what sounds like double-speak.

The question: Did Alderman Moreno extract a promise from Chick-Fil-A to cease making donations to Focus on the Family in exchange for allowing them to build a new franchise in Chicago? If he did, I think he needs to be removed from office; not for his beliefs about gay marriage, but because of what amounts to a deliberate and flagrant abuse of power and attack on our American freedom of speech that no American official should be allowed to engage in.

If he did not do this, then someone needs to make that far more clear than this article does.

The articles says in part:

September 20, 2012 Print
chickfilasign

Chick-fil-A Sets the Record Straight

by Karla Dial

In response to media reports that Chick-fil-A has agreed to stop making charitable donations to groups like Focus on the Family, the company today released a statement to set the record straight.

Contrary to reports first made by the gay-activist group The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) on Tuesday and later picked up by mainstream media outlets, Chick-fil-A and its charitable-giving arm, the WinShape Foundation, did not agree to stop making donations to groups that support the biblical definition of marriage in exchange for being allowed to open a franchise in Chicago.

“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized,” executives said in today’s statement. “And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.

“A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.

“As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.”

According to a TCRA press release issued Tuesday, “In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.”

That was the stipulation gay activists, led by Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, made earlier this summer, after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said in interviews that he and his family are “guilty as charged” of holding biblical views on marriage. Moreno vowed to block the construction of the franchise unless the company changed its beliefs and stopped supporting “hate groups.” Moreno relented to the construction this week, spinning Chick-fil-A’s statement as a victory for his side — despite the fact that it was made before he denied the permit.

Moreover, many news agencies reported that Chick-fil-A had specifically agreed not to give money to Focus on the Family or the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM said Wednesday it has never received money from the foundation. Focus on the Family has.

Some people were quick to criticize the 66-year-old chicken chain for “caving” to political pressure. Focus on the Family President Jim Daly said that’s not what happened.

“Dan and Bubba Cathy are my Christian brothers and good friends. They and their company have long shared Focus on the Family’s commitment to helping build strong and thriving families — and they have in no way deviated from that deeply held and biblically inspired passion while working with the city of Chicago to open Chick-fil-A restaurants there,” Daly said. (Read more here.)

UPDATE 

A more recent article from USA Today adds a few details, but clarifies little. It does say that Chick-Fil-A held a benefit for the Marriage and Family Foundation, which is a tantalizing hint. Time, hopefully, will tell. Here is part of the new article:

Sep 20, 2012

Chick-fil-A’s ‘cave’ stirs new backlash 

Updated 5h 20m ago

 

Matt Reid, St. Joseph News-Press, via AP

 

News reports that Chick-fil-A had pledged to stop contributing money to anti-gay organizations and to avoid political and social debates has generated a backlash, with supporters accusing the Bible-based fast-food chain of caving in.

Update at 8:40 p.m. ET: Chick-fil-A has released a new statement on the controversy and included the company’s “Who We Are” corporate principles, which have been cited inprevious coverage.

The four-paragraph statement does not clarify whether the company has pledged to stop contributing money to anti-gay organizations, as a Chicago-based gay-rights group reportedTuesday.

For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving.

For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized. And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving. For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.

A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.

As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect â?? regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.

Earlier this week, before the reports of the alleged policy change, Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation held a benefit for the Marriage and Family Foundation, which has worked against same-sex marriage.

The Atlanta-based company, which wants to expand in Chicago and elsewhere, has not responded to media requests to clarify its policies.

Original post: Chick-fil-A’s apparent decision to stop giving money to anti-gay marriage groups and not engage in social or political debates has sparked another heated discussion — and new backlash — on its Facebook page from those who say the company has “caved in.”

The report of the company’s about-face comes from a Chicago rights lobby, The Civil Rights Agenda, that says Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno has confirmed that the fast-food company will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and has clarified in an internal document that it will “treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation.” (Read more here.)


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