“I hope that people will learn from Truett Cathy the virtues that have brought him remarkable success in life. He has dedicated himself to service in the broadest sense, following Christian principles, not only in his personal life, but in his relations with his customers and employees.”
– Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States
Founded by Cathy in 1967, Chick-fil-A has become one of America’s favorite restaurants. A deeply religious man, Cathy closes his restaurants on Sundays so his employees can worship God with their families. The 89-year-old Southern Baptist has a rather different corporate purpose statement: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”
Cathy and Chick-fil-A both enjoy excellent reputations for philanthropy, which was displayed a few years ago in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A group there sponsored a seminar called “The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God’s Design.” A local independent Chick-fil-A operator was asked to provide free sandwiches and brownies for those attending the seminar.
But as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished. Because the Pennsylvania Family Institute opposes gay marriage, it is deemed by activists to be anti-gay, homophobic and purveyors of hate. Gay blogs around the country have expressed outrage. Students at some universities have explored the possibility of removing the chain from campuses. “If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay,” one headline declared.
A group trying to save and strengthen marriages is filled with hate because it doesn’t support gay marriage? A company built by a man who has said “As Christians, we have an obligation and responsibility to abide by the principles of the Bible” is portrayed as intolerant and bigoted for trying to operate by those very principles? Company president Dan T. Cathy issued a statement saying “we serve and value all people and treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect.”
In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack on LGBT people in Orlando, Fla., a Chick-fil-A franchise broke policy by working on Sunday to make food to give to those who were in line to donate blood for the victims of the shooting. Employees said, “We love our city and love the people in our community.”
Kudos to Chick-fil-A for showing that we can love and help each other whether we agree or not. Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan reminds us that our neighbor is the one in need, not the one who agrees.
Go and do likewise… (Luke 10:37).
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