March 30, 2019

A COUPLE of days ago the Friendly Atheist reported that former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, above, went into melt-down over the fact that the San Antonio City Council voted last week to exclude Christian-operated Chick-fil-A from a list of proposed food outlets for San Antonio International Airport.

Huckabee said on the Todd Starnes Radio Show:

I wish that Chick-fil-A would sue the city of San Antonio It’s a restraint of trade. It’s really denying them the ability to do business.

We now learn that Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton has entered the fray, and is pushing for both state and federal investigations into the matter.

Paxton sent letters dated March 28 to Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the city council notifying them that he has:

Directed my office to open an investigation into whether the City’s action violates state law.

He has also written to US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting that her department investigate whether the decision:

Violates various federal statutes and regulations to which the City is subject as a recipient of Department of Transportation grant funds.

There is no evidence indicating that Chick-fil-A has ever maintained any policy or practice of discriminating against any group of people, and the City offered no such evidence as the basis of its action. Indeed, shortly after the City’s decision was announced, a member of the City Council who dissented from the City’s decision openly apologized to the Chairman of Chick-fil-A, noting that the restaurant ‘employs and serves everyone, without prejudice, discrimination or hate.’

Furthermore, Chick-Fil-A apparently agreed in the present instance to abide by all applicable nondiscrimination rules imposed by the contract with the City.

The “Jesus Chicken” chain as some call it, was one of several vendors the company Paradies Lagardère proposed adding to the airport’s Terminal A, but its inclusion was voted down 6-4 last week. Councilman Roberto Treviño accused the company of a “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behaviour” and claimed that its mere presence would harm travelers’ ability:

To feel welcome when they walk through our airport.

For years, liberals have advocated boycotting the Christian-owned chain due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex marriage and the company’s past donations to hate groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. Most recently, activists have objected to recently released tax filings showing that the company donated more than $1.8 million in 2017 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Salvation Army, all of which have been attacked as anti-LGBT for taking traditional biblical stances on homosexuality.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz criticised the City Council’s decision as “ridiculous” and inconsistent with the Lone Star State’s values.

One council member, Manny Pelaez, who voted to exclude the outlet, is having second thoughts.

Before the vote, I originally was thinking of ways to get more San Antonio-based restaurants in the airport. We were looking for local restaurants because we have a lot as a city to offer here. The second reason I was thinking to replace Chick-fil-A was because they close on Sundays and I wanted a business that stayed open during that time. Number three, the news broke out about where some were upset about their charitable giving.

Then I made comments about Chick-fil-A and what I had been told about their practices, which were perceived as hostile toward the LGBTQ community. I said things that were not accurate. Turns out, Chick-fil-A actually does protect its employees from harassment and discrimination at the workplace. They got policies and enforce those policies. Their charitable giving is innocuous.

Pelaez added that he recently went so far as to meet with 40 religious leaders to apologise.

The Texas-based First Liberty Institute has also called for a religious discrimination investigation into the matter, and Republican Texas representative Chip Roy said it would be:

Unfortunate if the council’s decision negatively impacted our ability to effectively advocate for San Antonio in Congress due to such rampant discriminatory action against a well regarded business with such a significant presence in our communities in central Texas and across the nation.

May 12, 2019

AFTER his wife abandoned him for a woman in 2014, Texas-based Jonathan Saenz, above, abruptly transformed from ‘a socially conservative lobbyist to homophobic firebrand.’

Shortly after, Saenz, a devout Catholic, became President of  the anti-gay group Texas Values Action, and it was in this role that he strongly supported a “Save Chick-Fil-A” bill that sought to prohibit Texas cities and governmental entities from taking “adverse actions” against businesses that publicly espouse religious convictions.

But House Bill 3172 proposed by Fort Worth Republican Matt Krause was derailed this week. By … titter ye not …a lesbian lawmaker!

State Representative Julie Johnson who delivered the blow to the bill said:

Hopefully, this is the day of discrimination against the LGBT community dies in Texas.

She used a procedural maneuvre to shut down debate bill before it began.

The proposed bill came in response to a decision by the city of San Antonio to deny Chick-Fil-A vendor space in its airport because of the faith-based fast-food chain’s vocal opposition to same-sex marriage.

Saenz had organized a “save Chick-Fil-A” rally at the Texas Capitol last month. His organisation also stationed members and supporters outside the House chamber this week, encouraging members to vote for the measure.

Saenz said his group is not ready to give up on the measure, signaling it might be revived as an amendment to similar legislation that is still working its way through the legislative mill.

This commonsense religious freedom effort is far from over. We will not allow the clear will of the majority of Texans and a bipartisan majority of the Texas Legislature to be thwarted by a few.

Texas Values Action is beside itself with fury over its defeat by LGBTQ activists, describing the killing of the bill as:

A major setback to religious freedom … let’s be crystal clear about exactly why the LGBTQ Caucus, national LGBT advocacy groups, and the hard-Left media are celebrating. They are celebrating because the government can still discriminate against Christians.

They are celebrating because San Antonio has banned a Chick-fil-A because of its financial support of Christian ministries. They celebrate because more and more people of faith, including countless small businesses owners including cake bakers, florists, and photographers, are being punished by government for simply operating their business in line with their biblical values.

LGBT advocates celebrate because they ultimately believe that they can completely silence people of faith – just like you and me.

But while they celebrate today, the fight to protect our First Amendment religious freedom rights and the fight to stop government discrimination against Christians is NOT OVER this session.

April 13, 2019

One of many demonstrations that have taken place outside Chick Fil A’s restaurants. Image via YouTube.

RATHER than exclude a Chick-fil-A, as airports  in Texas and New York have done, authorities in California have taken a different tack by approving a plan to place gay and transgender flags at Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport.

The San Jose City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to hoist rainbow flags in support of LGBTQ people, and pink, blue and white flags for transgender rights at locations near the site where Chick-fil-A, a Christian “family values” company that gained notoriety for supporting anti-gay causes, is scheduled to open in June.

The vote came after a number of local LGBTQ advocacy groups and city officials expressed their distaste for the inclusion of a Chick-fil-A at the airport. The restaurant was included alongside Shake Shack and Great American Bagel as part of a contract approved last year with the HMS Host concessionaire.

Former county Supervisor Ken Yeager, the area’s first openly gay elected official and now head of the BAYMEC foundation, said that the flags would send airport patrons a “counter-signal” to:

The discrimination supported by Chick-fil-A.

Echoing those sentiments was Councilman Raul Peralez, who suggested the restaurant hire LGBTQ employees to ensure it becomes:

The gayest Chick-fil-A in the country.

Chick-fil-A, which is headquartered in Georgia, has been stoking controversy over its acknowledged financial support of anti-LGBTQ organizations ― which at one point reportedly included Exodus International and the Family Research Council ― for nearly a decade. The company’s billionaire CEO, Dan Cathy, publicly decried same-sex marriage in 2012, prompting outrage among LGBTQ groups and a number of well-publicized boycotts.

Though Chick-fil-A officials have since pledged not to “have a political or social agenda”, tax findings obtained by ThinkProgress in March found that the fast-food chain donated roughly $1.8 million to groups known to discriminate against LGBTQ people in 2017.

Earlier this month, Chick-fil-A released a statement to NBC and other outlets saying that recent coverage about the company:

Continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand. We want to make it clear that our sole focus is on providing delicious food and welcoming everyone — not being a part of a national political conversation. We do not have a political or social agenda. More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

March 6, 2019

A DECISION to bar Chick-fil-A – a fast food business run operated according to biblical principles – from gaining a foothold at a New Jersey university has resulted in the resignation of a ‘very committed Christian’ staff member.

Image via YouTube

Cynthia Newman, above, dean of Rider University’s College of Business Administration until her recent resignation, said the decision not allow Chick-fil-A on the campus made her feel:

Like I had been punched in the stomach.

Newman said her views as a “very committed Christian” and the fast food chain’s views “mirror” one another.

Rider said that the restaurant was removed from consideration because its values were out of step with its values.

The university, located outside Trenton, sent out a survey last year asking students which restaurants they would like to see on campus. In November, Newman said, a second survey was sent but did not include Chick-fil-A as a choice.

The university said at the time the restaurant was taken off the list because of its opposition to the LGBTQ community and that its principles do not align with Rider’s.

Chick-fil-A has donated millions over the years to groups that oppose same-sex marriage. In 2012, the company’s Chief Operating Officer criticized same-sex marriage, prompting some politicians to block the chain from expanding in certain areas.

Newman said when the university released “talking points” to staff about what they should say to anyone critical of the decision she felt she couldn’t adhere to them.

I am not willing to compromise my faith and Christian values and I will not be viewed as being in any way complicit when an affront is made to those values.

Kristine Brown, a Rider spokeswoman said that:

Choosing an on-campus restaurant franchise was in no way a judgment on religious values. Rather, our intention was to foster a sense of respect and belonging of all members of the campus community

February 26, 2019

THERE are many very rich people who claim that they owe their wealth to Jesus, and some go on to write ‘motivational’ books about the riches they believe were bestowed on them as a consequence of their faith.

The title that tickles me most is The #1 How To Get Rich Book For Christian Men & Women!: Money, Wealth, Entrepreneurship! written by “Investor, Entrepreneur, Fitness Expert, World Traveler & Business Owner” Christopher Mitchell. In it he claims to reveal “six biblical laws to get rich fast.”

Although not in quite in the same mold, Climb Every Mountain: Finding God Faithful in the Journey of Life is a new book that credits God for the success of America’s Chick-fil-A chain of restaurants. The only reason I have for mentioning it is because of the long-standing emnity that exists between the company and LGBT communities over its connections to right-wing, anti-gay Christian conservatives.

Image via YouTube

Climb Every Mountain has been written by Trudy Cathy White, above, daughter of Chick-fil-A’s Baptist founder S Truett Cathy, who died aged 93 in 2014 leaving behind him a fortune of $4.2-billion – and reputation for being an intolerant old homophobe.

According to Hello Christian, White, a former missionary in Brazil, says that:

My dad built this business based on biblical principles. That’s no secret. There’s a lot of things that we are taught in God’s Word and we’ve been able to put it into practice in our business. We’re in business to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that’s been trusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.

Ermlike donating millions of dollars to political organsations seen by LGBT activists as hostile to LGBT rights via its charitable arm, S Truett Cathy’s WinShape Foundation?

Talking about “motivational” books I was rather amused to discover that Amazon is selling for $10.01 a Kindle edition of Donald Trump’s Think Like a Champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life. The hardcover version is $5.95 – and many who bought it felt that they’d been severely shortchanged, as it’s kinda tiny … but probably looks HUGE in the President’s hands.

One disgruntled buyer, “Scribe Diva” posted the picture above on Amazon, along with the message:

I’d give this zero stars if possible. Had the known this ‘book’ is the size of a tic tac container, I wouldn’t have bought it. I’m a fierce Trump supporter and I feel ripped off. There are about 190 bitty pages in this nugget. I’m so annoyed, I don’t care what the book says. I’m embarrassed I bought it. So it actually starts on page 13, once you get past the table of contents and his introduction. About every other page is a new chapter which is introduced by being in color and containing a quote from someone else, like Stephen King or Mark Twain. Do the math and you will figure out that the actual book is really just a few pages of advice if it were normal size. Any revelations? No. Don’t waste your money or time on this.

Another reviewer wrote:

How can you take seriously a man who has filed for bankruptcy 3 times costing millions of dollars to creditors and taxpayers alike and was so saddled with debt in the 90s he was put on an allowance? Motivational? Yes, if you are a sad case conservative who for some reason thinks it’s better to beat the system than participate in it. The fact that a core group of Republicans support him show just how far down that party has gone.

As Trump walks away from failed business ventures only to find new creditors to default on, I’m not the least bit interested in his motivational techniques. I was appalled by how banal the messages were in this book. Only people who clearly won’t get anywhere in business would find his ‘informal’ motivational techniques truly motivational.

December 27, 2018

I’m betting that many Christians were elated when it was revealed that US comedian Kevin Hart had a touch of homophobia in his past. But that joy, I guess, evaporated when he apologised for anti-gay tweets, and insisted that he had since ‘evolved’.

Now True Believers have a reason to dislike Hart even more, because his latest movie, Night School, which I watched last night, mercilessly takes the mick out of Christians by portraying school drop-out Teddy Walker [Hart] working in a godly fast food joint, where a constantly grinning loon of boss periodically ceases all activities to get staff to hold hands and pray.

Night School screenshot

The moment I the first saw the scene portraying the fictitious Christian Chicken restaurant, I whooped at my partner:

I bet that’s Hart taking the piss out of the very real and notoriously homophobic and Chick-Fil-A chain in America.

I was right. The mockery was seized on by Christian website Movieguide, which warned that the movie contains:

Irreverent portrayals of a Christian chicken restaurant patterned after Chick-fil-A … Teddy’s job at a restaurant called Christian Chicken has him wearing a chicken suit while holding a sign out front that says its food is ‘heavenly’, and yelling ‘Honk once if you love chicken, honk twice if you love the Lord!’ There’s also a scene where he tries to break free from taking part in an employee prayer circle. This scenes [sic] and the restaurant’s overly happy Christian boss sometimes appear to be mocking Christians.

Night School narrowly avoided getting labeled “abhorrent” – a word often used by Movieguide to describe what it regards as anti-Christians movies. Instead it advised “extreme caution” and pointed out its plus points:

It has a moral, pro-capitalist worldview stressing hard work, honesty, education, and second chances. So, it’s uplifting and funny enough to make it an enjoyable experience for most moviegoers. However, it’s marred by lots of foul language, other lewd content, and some irreverent comedy.

I enjoyed, but did not love the movie. Hart’s done far better stuff.

November 29, 2018

Rider University in New Jersey has joined several other US educational bodies in a bid to exclude Chick-fil-A from its campus, citing the company’s opposition to same-sex marriage and its generous donations to homophobic organisations.

Rider cited the “company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community,” and claimed that while excluding the option of Chick-Fil-A could be seen as a “form of exclusion”, administrators believes it’s acting “faithful to our values of inclusion.”

Rider Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Jan Friedman-Krupnick said in a statement to Campus Reform.

It is important to me and to the University that all voices are heard. While Chick-fil-A is among other restaurants preferenced by Rider students, there are members of the community (faculty, staff, and students) who strongly opposed the option as well […] we carefully weigh benefits, risks and voices representative of all of our campus constituents.

Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy via YouTube

Chick-fil-A is famously operated on the Christian principles of its national leadership, including closing on Sundays, listing “to glorify God” as part of its corporate purpose, and its active charitable arm. For years, liberals have boycotted the chain due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s past donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

On Tuesday this week, Chick-fil-A issued a statement to the AP addressing the controversy.

Rider University’s survey was recently brought to our attention, and while we respect the University’s decision, this news story represents a good opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our brand. Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone. We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda.

Really?

In June this year Think Progress reported that company continues to support “rabidly anti-LGBTQ organizations”.

This despite it CEO Dan Cathy, above, saying four years ago that the company would stick to selling chicken and would be staying out of the fray when it comes to equality.

I think that’s a political debate that’s going to rage on. And the wiser thing for us to do is to stay focused on customer service.

A protester pictured outside a Chick Fil A outlet in 2012. Image via YouTube.

Yet in 2016, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave about $1.8 million to three non-profits known for discriminatory activities: the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paul Anderson Youth Home, and Salvation Army. This is actually a significant increase compared to its 2015 totals to the same groups.

More than $1,500,000 of that went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and its local affiliates. The group seeks to use athletes and coaches to spread Christian teachings and impart an anti-LGBTQ message. The group’s Campus Playbook teaches young leaders that “God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within
 the context of marriage, that:

God created man and woman to complement and complete each other. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human
 society.

More than $130,000 went to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Georgia-based “Christian residential home for troubled youth”. They teach boys the dangerous myth that “sexual, physical, and mental abuse of children, mostly in the alleged ‘safety’ of their own homes has produced all kinds of evil throughout the culture to include the explosion of homosexuality in the last century,” that “homosexual behavior and lifestyle” are lawlessness, and that same-sex marriage is:

Rage against Jesus Christ and His values.

More than $146,000 went to the Salvation Army. The religious organization has a lengthy record of opposition to same-sex marriage equality, anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination, and promoting exemptions from non-discrimination ordinances.

Rider student Julia Pickett, president of the campus Young Americans for Liberty chapter, told Campus Reform she recognizes Rider’s right as a private institution to exclude Chick-Fil-A but considers the decision unfair.

They sell chicken, so as far as I am concerned that should be the focus. I think that the administration of Rider felt that having Chick-Fil-A on campus would cause unwanted controversy and felt that the easiest fix was to find another restaurant. I wish they would be honest about it though instead of trying to cover it as a deep offense to the school.

Other institutions that have attempted to exclude Chick-Fil-A include Johns Hopkins University, Duquesne University, University of Nebraska Kearney, and the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are among the prominent figures who have condemned the company.

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