Chicken -- Served With a Side of California Politics

The planned opening of a Chick-fil-A outlet in Walnut Creek Sept. 20 draws heat while hundreds turn out to support statements made by the chain's president at a store in Fairfield.


Chick-fil-A is becoming more famous for its president's cultural values than for its chicken. There was a family values backlash Wednesday with "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" around the country, including Fairfield, Solano County.

Walnut Creek could be the next culture wars flashpoint Sept. 20 with a planned gay rights protest to coincide with the planned opening of a Chick-fil-A on North Main Street. Chick-fil-A is expanding in Northern California.

“It’s a First Amendment right issue. He (Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy) has his right to think and say whatever he likes,” Fairfield diner Jerry Pollard told CBS San Francisco.

Last month Cathy, in an interview in July with The Baptist Press, said, "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. We give God thanks for that."

Former presidential candidate and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee had the idea for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, according to Fox News.

Brand Approval Suffering

Chick-fil-A has suffered a loss of brand approval since the posting of Cathy's interview, according to Polling organization YouGov.

Just before Cathy's interview was published, Chick-fil-A's Index score was 65, well above the Top National Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Sector average score of 46. Just four days later, however, Chick-fil-A's score had fallen to 47, while last week, the chain had a score of 39, compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43, according to a piece in the Huffington Post.

In Walnut Creek, a Chick-fil-A with drive-through service is part of a big construction project with a new 24-Hour Fitness at 2750 N. Main St.

X August 04, 2012 at 03:25 PM
If you want to keep it real, then provide the whole picture and not just part. But, hey, I'll help you out .... WinShape Gave Over $1.9 Million To Anti-Gay Groups. In 2010, WinShape donated $1,974,380 to a number of anti-gay groups: Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380 Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000 National Christian Foundation: $247,500 New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000 Exodus International: $1,000 Family Research Council: $1,000 Georgia Family Council: $2,500 Note that's just for 2010. Just trying to keep Chris real. No need to thank me.
X August 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Chris - CFA is owned and controlled by the Cathy family. CFA donates to WinShape. The folks that own CFA (the Cathy family) formed WinShape as CFA's charitable arm. It's a separate entity for tax and legal reasons. This is fairly standard. WinShape is controlled by members of the Cathy family (the folks who own CFA) and CFA executive staff. WinShape donates several million dollars each year to the organizations listed. WinShape is well aware of the policies and objectives of those organizations - that's why it supports them.
Chris Nicholson August 04, 2012 at 04:07 PM
ED: You need to dig one layer deeper. So CFA pays dividends to Cathy, who formed WinShape, who give a small (<20%) of its annual giving to groups, some of whom do anti-gay rights advocacy as PART of what they do. So the "bad apples" are there, but I find it relevant to observe that Cathy's "Hateful giving" percentage seems pretty modest. I can find no data on the Marriage & Family Foundation-- maybe it is 100% dedicated to anti-gay rights. I don't know, but I would bet that it more consistent with WinShape's broader work to support Christian marriages (of course, they don't allow married gay couples to attend--- score that as you want). But consider the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes. Their mission is not to fight gay rights, and I assume 90%+ of what they do is pretty secular, but with prayer breaks. But they don't allow gay sexual conduct at their events (and, like the Boy Scouts, likely would not knowingly sponsor an openly gay athlete). In summary, a tiny percentage of CFA's money indirectly goes to support groups that spend some of their time and money fight against gay rights advocates, but most of his charitable work is unambiguously good and helpful. Perhaps not unlike, for example, the Catholic church.
X August 04, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Chris - I don't think you understand the problem or you're trying to define a different problem that's irrelevant. The Cathy family controls CFA. CFA makes donations to WinShape. Winshape, like CFA, is controlled by the Cathy Family (and some non-family members of the CFA executive staff). So, CFA and WinShape are virtually the same entities. They are separated for legal and tax reasons. The FCA promotes the notion that you can be "freed" from homosexuality. Those sentiments help convince many parents that their children can be "cured" if they receive reparative therapy. And as someone who grew up hearing those sorts of messages ("cured", "freed", etc.), I can tell you that they are quite damaging. Nevertheless, reparative therapy doesn't work and has shown to be harmful. People need to decide this agenda for themselves and that's all folks are trying to do is - provide information about what CFA supports with its money. $2M a year is a tiny part of CFA's money, but $2M isn't a tiny amount of money. (If it is, Chris, then feel free to forward me $2M.) The fact remains that CFA, through the charitable organization that it controls, donates money to groups aimed at harming gay people, their children, or convincing people that gay people are broken and must be "freed" or "cured". Decide for yourself if you want to be a part of that system and be glad you live in America where you can decide to do either one. Just be honest about what you're supporting.
Chris Nicholson August 04, 2012 at 05:41 PM
ED, I get it. They are crazy fundies. I 100% understand. My central point is that the act of holding, expressing and promoting their views (1st amendment-ish) is not materially exacerbated byt their giving. I think it is intellectually dishonest to claim that the objectionable thing is the giving of money and not the holding of contrary opinions. For example, if two identical dry cleaners were across the street from each other and one had a sign that said "Marriage Equality for All" and the other had a sign that said "God Forbids Gay Sex," would you flip a coin when choosing which to patronize (assume you knew with certainty that neither gave money to any advocacy groups)?


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