Just a few weeks ago, Chick-fil-A was all over the news because of their press release about past and future donations from the Chick-fil-A Foundation, saying that, going forward, they will now focus their giving toward three key problem areas—hunger, homelessness and education.
Chick-fil-A has been known for its strong stance on Christian and family values. Especially since 2012 when the CEO at the time, Dan Cathy, confirmed his conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman, the giant chicken sandwich company has been under attack from various activist groups.
Despite the conflict over the years, the company has exploded in growth to become the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S. And while some eat at the restaurant for the chicken sandwich or the friendly atmosphere, many have supported the business because of the very stance against current culture that Chick-fil-A has often proven to take.
But on Nov. 19 when the business announced new information on their charitable giving, controversy exploded again.
CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and other media outlets carried headlines saying that Chick-fil-A revised its giving policies and stopped funding anti-LGTBQ organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. However, gay rights organization GLAAD quickly stated that while Chick-fil-A customers and employees should greet the announcement with “cautious optimism,” they weren’t entirely happy with the company because it still didn’t have good policies in place for the LGTBQ community.
On the other hand, many conservatives, Christian or no, are calling the change a compromise on the company’s part. National Review called it a “shameful capitulation,” saying the company bears little resemblance to the original business founded by Truett Cathy over 70 years ago.
It appears that Chick-fil-A’s announcement appeased neither side of the controversy. Many activists are still unhappy, but many conservatives are now also disappointed. While there certainly are a lot of differing opinions regarding the chicken giant, we can learn a few lessons from this event.
Be careful when sharing your message.
Let’s give Chick-fil-A the benefit of the doubt for the moment and assume that they were not trying to compromise their Christian values and instead were just trying to focus their giving on specific needs.
If this is true, Chick-fil-A still made a mistake when they sent out this press release. By not being careful when sharing their message, they made it easy for others to miss the point of their message. If their point was that they are now focusing on specific initiatives and not that they were defunding two nationally-known organizations perceived by many to be anti-LGTBQ, they obviously missed their goal, since news sites exploded with headlines focusing solely on the defunding of Salvation Army and other anti-LGTBQ organizations.
The devil is quick to find every example he can of Christians compromising their values, painting Christians in a bad light. As an outspoken Christian organization, Chick-fil-A should be ready for every attack Satan sends their way.
However, if the company did compromise their values, we must remember an important lesson from the Bible: Don’t try to serve two masters.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus gives an important adage about why we have to choose one side or the other. We can’t serve two masters. Either we are serving God, or we are not.
Chick-fil-A may be trying to get the best of both worlds. By appeasing activists, maybe they hope their business can expand. But be wary of compromising your beliefs to make people happy or to make money. As Jesus warns, either you are loyal to God, or you are against Him.
Don’t be lukewarm Christians.
For years, Chick-fil-A took a strong stance for Christian values, and the company was anything but lukewarm, as the metaphor in Revelation 3 uses. But as our country’s culture moves further and further down the path it’s going, Christian companies are receiving more backlash. We should remember not to try to stay neutral just because of the way the culture is going. God doesn’t want lukewarm Christians; He wants ones on fire for God, and this includes standing against various cultural beliefs that are normal in today’s society.