Fast-food employee offers prayers with ‘Jesus chicken’ meals

Fast-food employee offers prayers with ‘Jesus chicken’ meals August 14, 2019

CHICK-FIL-A, the faith-based US food chain which generously funds anti-gay outfits, got itself into Fox News recently when one of its employees at its Madison, Alabama, branch was photographed praying over a customer.

The picture of Stephen Spray giving a dollop of Jesus to the woman was caught on camera by Brittany Calden, a professional artist and photographer who runs Brittany Calden Photography in Madison. Later she posted in on her Facebook page.

Fox News reported that Calden was moved “to tears”  by the moment.

She told the news outlet that she was playing with her daughter in the play area when she captured the “heartwarming” moment.

It really caught me off guard. I have never seen someone ask to pray for someone else in a public setting before. It was authentic and moving to witness and I was drawn to tears by the action.

Spray, known to customers as “Mr Steve,” is a long-time employee who was cleaning tables before he stopped to pray for a customer he didn’t know because:

The spirit led him to pray for her.

Spray told Calden:

That’s not unusual. I work at a place where if I’m led to pray for someone, I’m able to do that and I’ll do it right on the spot. People need prayer, encouragement, and love. That’s what we try to do here.

Calden said of the Chick-Fil-A staff:

As soon as we enter we are greeted by our names, it’s seriously unreal. They hold my baby when my hands are full and go out of their way to make us feel good. The other day we were leaving and an employee ran for the door to hug my daughter before she could leave. They don’t do what they do for recognition. These employees have hearts that are led by Jesus and its evident every time we enter their restaurant.

Makes you wanna puke, doesn’t it?

According to this report, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated more than $1.8 million to three groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in 2017. Tax filings analysed by ThinkProgress showed that in that year, the company’s charitable arm gave $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a religious organisation that requires its employees to refrain from “homosexual acts”; $150,000 to the Salvation Army, which has been accused of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and advocacy for years and whose media relations director once claimed gay people “deserve death”; and $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian residential home that teaches young boys that same-sex marriage is:

A rage against Jesus Christ and His values.

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  • Jim Jones

    As​sholes do value signaling. In other news, sky is dark at night.

  • Tawreos

    I have never seen someone ask to pray for someone else in a public setting before.

    Obviously fried chicken sandwiches rots brain cells. Christians try to force this onto people all the time.

  • Tawreos

    I wonder how much of this is an actual customer saying this and how much of it is damage control from Chik-Fil-A trying to clean up their image so they don’t keep getting booted from airports and college campuses.

  • Mark in Ohio

    No prayers over meals! Support the separation of Church and Steak!

  • rubaxter

    Pure Money Sense if you’re doing business in the Jeebus Belt.

    And, yet another reason I don’t Chik Fulla Cra&#8203p, along with the gagging, deep-fry ambience.

  • rubaxter

    I’m sure the photog was hoping for a few meal vouchers coming her way, or (surprise, surprise) some Free Publicity.

    Once again, Christers hanging their CLEAN linen in public.

  • Jennny

    I just see a creepy old man groping a young woman. He’d have got more than he bargained for if he’d perved on me like that!

  • rubaxter

    Hey, young lady, it’s the right of any Christer Male to force his company on you, just like it is the right of YHWH to make any woman he wants pregnant without any consent.

    It’s written into their grubby groping, evangelical faith!

  • Broga

    A more appropriate object of their prayers would be the poor, bloody chickens. I suppose the chickens don’t have souls so their short, squalid, suffering lives are of no consequence.

  • MystiqueLady

    OMG — I’mma gonna puke!

  • MystiqueLady

    At my last Ask and Atheist event, a group of young women asked if they could pray for us. I asked why would they want to do that? She said that sometimes she and her friends go to their local hospital and offer to pray for patients there. We got into a whole conversation about the lack of efficacy of prayer, and the associated research. One of the girls in the group looked like she was still with the conversation — the eyes of the other girls just kind of glazed over. By the end, we basically said, to save their time and maybe go do some REAL charitable work instead.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    What I’m trying to understand here is, why do they need your permission to pray for you? If you want to go to home and pray for godless heathens, that’s not my business. Knock yourself out.

    But I am lying. I’m not “trying to understand” it at all – I know exactly what it is. It’s just good old virtue signalling. It’s not about praying for godless heathens, it’s making sure everyone knows you are praying for godless heathens.

  • MystiqueLady

    I think you’re spot on — which is why we (gently) challenged them on this point.

  • Mark in Ohio

    I’d bet that they don’t just want to mutter their magic incantations softly to themselves, they want to hold hands with you and chant them loudly. They expect you to take part in their ritual and treat it and them as if they are doing some great service.

  • phatkhat

    That’s what I saw, too. Excuse to touch the lady.

  • MystiqueLady

    I had to look at this story twice — I thought it was a Laughing in Disbelief article.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Does one need to be in physical proximity to those they are praying for? Would praying for starving children be better if around those children? Does God take any prayer more seriously based on any Conditions?

    And this case in particular:
    If they are so close, can’t they pray at the grocery, at the movies? Why wait until one of you is working? If they aren’t close and don’t know each other, what is he praying about for her?

  • Bubblecar

    Every customer is greeted with: “You want humbug with that? Today we are offering a scoop of holy excrement with each plate of fatty chlorinated chicken.”

  • Raging Bee

    Hey, he’s gotta get on top of the chicks somehow!

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    How much of this is set up I wonder? Nothing is said by the victim of this pray I wonder how she felt? did she have some real problem that needed some help? or was she just there at the wrong time. The photographer Calden made some interesting remarks. That she is greeted by name, that’s just good customer service. When I pop into my local pub I am greeted by name by the barman. I feel at home there and no one would pray for anyone or threaten to a lot of help as been given to various regulars on a practical level often done on the quiet.When my daughter was little if some stranger ran over to her and tried to hug her I think they would have ended up on the floor.

  • Broga

    Perhaps he is praying that she survives the chicken she is eating.

  • Broga

    ” People need prayer, encouragement, and love,” says Mr Steve, (Yuk!) a long time employee who was cleaning tables.

    God isn’t doing much to reward Mr Steve in his career. A long time employee and he is still cleaning tables. Steve needs some prayer for himself.

  • Gussie FinkNottle

    Yeah this is a bit weird, but “makes you want to puke” weird? No. Not everything is a Jesus Plot. Sometimes it’s just people trying to be nice in the best way they know how. We don’t have to get offended about every little thing. Alabama is comprised mainly of Christians so you would expect that to bleed into the culture. I didn’t get my knickers in a knot when Thai monks refused to look at me or when Yemeni fruit sellers gave me over-the-top Allah related blessings. Who cares?

  • persephone

    I love my dentist and his office manager, and she always says she’ll pray for me. I just thank her. She’s had a tough life and I’ve had my own difficulties, and this is her way of dealing with it. BUT, she doesn’t do it with me there, or in the office.

    If some stranger came up and started pray over me, I’d probably go into full Hekate witch mode.

  • Christopher Letzelter

    What is it, Chick-feel-aye?

  • persephone

    Jesus said to pray at home, in private, so if prayer actually worked it wouldn’t matter where or when you did it.

    These types are exactly what Jesus was talking about: Matt. 6

    so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.…

  • persephone

    You know, that’s your opinion, and you can follow it. That’s cool. But don’t come to an atheist site, one that has several readers and commenters who have suffered religious abuse, and tell them that their feelings don’t count.

    And this religious bleeding into the culture is exactly what is wrong with the U.S. right now.

  • persephone

    The woman probably just didn’t look happy enough. Christian women are supposed to be bubbling over with joy for knowing Jesus, no matter what miserable life they have.

  • johnsoncatman


  • johnsoncatman

    I do not go to Chik-fil-A on purpose because of their political affiliations. But if I did, and some m0therfucker came up to me and wanted to pray with me, I would tell him/her to f*ck right off.

  • WhenWadewhines..

    1,600,000 going to anti-gay groups .. thats alot of money in one year, maybe it should go to supporting victims of sex abuse in the Catholic church or meals for the poor an elderly. Thats what I would imagine a religiously motivated group might want to spend its energy doing, but no rather spend it on political groups and PR propaganda ?? Hmm something is creepy at the helm behind CHIC-FAG-HATE that goes beyond just ‘conservative’ values… #CHIC-WHITE-NATIONAL

  • swimmerkw

    This is the city I’m from. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

  • Jim Jones

    The simplest reply is, “That’s not my belief system.”

    If needed, add, ” We’re not allowed to talk about it. “

  • persephone

    We get our emotions under control on our time. Not your timeline. Ours. Some of us have a lot of other things than religious abuse that we’ve endured. If you find us too whiny, you’ve more than welcome to move along to another site.

  • Zetopan

    “Who cares?”

    Since “no one cares”, my answers have always been “I’m not superstitious” and “magical incantations never work”. If they feel compelled to peddle their sacred superstition I let them know that they are merely trying to hide from reality, which always fails.

  • 92JazzQueen .

    Man, this article is full of bashing for an employee who cares about the emotional state of a customer. For people who say that Christians irrationally hate non-believers, you really show that you are uncharitable to anyone who doesn’t believe in what you believe in.

  • Raging Bee

    Those of us who actually understand the basics of human interaction and manners know fine well what a 69clueless 69idiot you just showed yourself to be. Again.

  • Raging Bee

    The important phrase here being “the best way they know how.”

  • Raging Bee

    So why do YOU care enough to get your knickers in a knot reacting to this post?

  • Raging Bee

    In fairness, I’m guessing the employee at least knew that customer would be receptive to the prayer act.

  • John Thunderer

    I thought they only served chicken – not steak?

  • Broga

    The poor guy could be an atheist. But you gotta do what you gotta do to earn a pittance to buy a crust and provide a roof over your head.

  • Broga

    You are embarrassing yourself.

  • rubaxter

    He’s being a pest, and a religious one at that.

    Some of us don’t need or want others trying to huckster their faith onto us.

    That’s what management allowing this kind of gadfly to scam his religion does. It’s actually the CUSTOMER who is forced to give person and ear, ceding their right to a peaceful, annoyance-free meal. It’s actually the CUSTOMER who is being forced to GIVE this Sheeple attention, like he’s a small child in the cereal aisle. HE IS INTRUDING.

    Just because he’s a creepy Christer doesn’t mean he ain’t CREEPY.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    One of my favorites. How many Christians will wonder why they have never been taught this, but know the Lord’s Prayer by heart?
    ANSWER: They don’t know it because their religious “leaders” don’t want them to know. Their religious leaders actively ENCOURAGE them to do the thing Jesus said don’t do, for some reason…

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Pfft. And delay getting to Heaven? /s

  • persephone

    Well, there’s a reason.

    I’ll never forget meeting a guy in a chat one time who actually listened when I posted about the Proverbs 31 wife. He started to argue. I posted the entire chapter. He wrote back later that he had never seen the whole chapter, that only parts had been studied in their church literature. We had a nice chat.

    But that is the only time I remember having that kind of discourse with a fundagelical.

  • persephone

    The powers that be happily use the hope of a better afterlife to abuse and control people in this one.

  • Vanity Unfair

    The C of E prays for the Queen every Friday (No, I don’t know why) and she is included in part four of the Litany. It obviously works as she is still going fairly strongly at 93. It didn’t do George VI or Edward VIII much good, though. Perhaps it only works if God likes the monarch enough to heed the prayers. In which case….

  • smokert5555

    “CHICK-FIL-A, the faith-based US food chain which generously funds anti-gay outfits…” Correction: A company is not “faith based”. The owners can be faith based, but not the company. And the company doesn’t fund anti gay outfits, the owners funds anti gay outfits. They are two separate entities.

  • John Thunderer

    While what you say is unquestionably correct, it is also unquestionably correct that potential would-be patrons of the company have the right to know where the profits from the organisation are going to.
    If it can be established that the owner is using part of the profits to fund discriminatory campaigns against a section of the community, then that section of the community has the right to bring the discriminatory policies of the owner to the attention of potential and actual customers.
    If this were to involve – for example – members of the discriminated-against community handing out information leaflets outside the business locations of the company involved, then who can object to that?