ATLANTA (BP) — Following reports that Chick-fil-A had agreed to stop funding certain traditional family groups in order to get approval for a new Chicago restaurant, company President Dan Cathy said Friday the restaurant made no concessions and “we remain true to who we are.”
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Cathy’s statement, posted on Mike Huckabee’s website, came one day after the company released its own statement saying that its corporate giving has “been mischaracterized” for many months and that it will continue to fund programs that “strengthen and enrich marriages.”
Said Cathy, “There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly — whose organization supposedly had been de-funded by Chick-fil-A — also has spoken up for the company. And gay activist groups — who initially applauded Chick-fil-A’s supposed move — now are criticizing the restaurant once again.
Chick-fil-A was facing a backlash after Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno and an Illinois gay activist group announced in Wednesday (Sept. 19) news reports that Chick-fil-A had agreed to no longer fund groups opposed to gay marriage, such as Focus on the Family. That alleged agreement led Moreno — who had criticized Chick-fil-A during the summer for its president’s comments affirming the traditional marriage — to stop blocking a new franchise from being built in his ward. In comments to the Chicago Tribune, Moreno called it a “big win.”
Media stories nationwide then gave Chick-fil-A another public relations headache. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s headline read, “Chick-fil-A said to change stance.” The Los Angeles Times’ headline: “Chick-fil-A promises to stop giving money to anti-gay groups.”
The problem? Chick-fil-A’s base of support remains largely in conservative states, and those customers hardly consider Focus on the Family and other groups “anti-gay.” Many felt Chick-fil-A had caved.
Earlier this summer, hundreds of thousands of customers took part in Chick-fil-A Appreciation after company president Dan Cathy was criticized for comments supporting the biblical definition of marriage. Chick-fil-A’s stance on values is well-known: It is closed on Sundays, and its corporate statement includes the desire to “glorify God.”
In the 24 hours after the story out of Chicago broke, Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page was flooded with criticism of the new policy.
“I’m disgusted that your faith is so weak,” one person wrote. “You sure raked in the bucks on Chick Fil A day huh? So when do you start opening on Sunday? ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’”
Chick-fil-A released a statement Thursday (Sept. 20), saying that “for many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized.”
“And while our sincere intent has been to remain out of this political and social debate, events from Chicago this week have once again resulted in questions around our giving,” the statement said. “For that reason, we want to provide some context and clarity around who we are, what we believe and our priorities in relation to corporate giving.
“A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.”
The company also released a document that had been referenced in the media called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.” In it, the company repeats language from this summer and says its tradition is to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
The Who We Are document also says Chick-fil-A “supports programs and marriage retreats to help strengthen and enrich marriages,” which more than 4,000 couples attend annually.
The document did not address whether Chick-fil-A has indeed agreed to stop funding certain groups, and if so, which groups. It’s also unclear how the company’s policy will appease gay activist groups, because marriage enrichment programs often are traditional-focused and biblically based and typically define marriage as between a man and a woman.
In fact, the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest gay group — expressed disappointment in Chick-fil-A’s new statement, particularly its pledge to fund marriage enrichment programs.
“The truth is, Chick-fil-A is still donating money to anti-LGBT groups — they are just, once again, using the language of their mission statement to deflect attention,” a statement on HRC’s website said. “… What that language essentially means is that they will continue to support groups with rabidly anti-LGBT agendas, but they certainly would never want anyone to think that their support should be taken as an endorsement of any particular political agenda.”
Focus on the Family’s Daly said in an article at Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink that he supports the company. He did not directly address whether Chick-fil-A was no longer funding Focus on the Family
“Dan and Bubba Cathy are my Christian brothers and good friends. They and their company have long shared Focus on the Family’s commitment to helping build strong and thriving families — and they have in no way deviated from that deeply held and biblically inspired passion while working with the city of Chicago to open Chick-fil-A restaurants there,” Daly said.
“I feel bad the Cathys are having once again to endure media accounts mischaracterizing their values and charitable efforts — and, unfortunately, I know how they feel. Focus on the Family has for 35 years been dedicated to saving and strengthening marriages, helping couples raise happy, resilient kids and encouraging and empowering men and women to advocate for God’s truth with Christ’s heart. And still, in stories like some of those about Chick-fil-A’s efforts to expand in Chicago, we are described as being ‘hateful’ toward certain groups of people.
“How is an organization that helps save one marriage every six minutes and helps parents navigate through a crisis involving their children every 90 seconds deemed ‘anti’ anything but ‘anti-family breakdown’?” Daly concluded. “That’s a question we would hope the media begins to ask with more regularity of those who disagree with us and with Chick-fil-A for bringing our Christian values to bear on the work we do in the public square.”
Gay groups also were upset that Dan Cathy was helping raise money for traditional groups. The Advocate gay website took issue with Cathy taking part Tuesday (Sept. 18) in a fundraiser known as the WinShape Ride for the Family. The money, the Advocate said, will benefit the Marriage and Family Foundation, which it said funds the Marriage CoMission, a traditional group.
“Granted, the group’s sole focus isn’t on same-sex marriage,” the Advocate reported. “The CoMission emphasizes lowering the divorce rate and making couples more satisfied in their marriages, for example. But even in those instances, the group has made clear it’s worried only about heterosexuals being happy in their marriages and avoiding divorce.” source – Baptist Press
WASHINGTON — An Army officer being promoted to brigadier general openly acknowledged her homosexuality on Friday by having her wife pin her star to her uniform, thus becoming the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the United States military.
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The officer, Brig. Gen. Tammy S. Smith, 49, a 26-year veteran of the Army, was promoted in a ceremony at the women’s memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The star was affixed by Tracey Hepner, who was a co-founder last year of the Military Partners and Families Coalition, which “provides support, resources, education and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families,” according to its Web site.
The couple married in March 2011 in the District of Columbia.
The military dropped its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay service members on Sept. 20, 2011, after a change in federal law.
The Army said that General Smith was not available for an interview on Sunday. However, she said in a statement that the Defense Department had made sexual orientation a private matter, but that “participating with family in traditional ceremonies such as the promotion is both common and expected of a leader.”
Sue Fulton, a spokeswoman for OutServe, a two-year-old organization of lesbians and gay men in the military, said Sunday that it was “highly unlikely” that General Smith was the only gay officer of her rank. She called General Smith’s public acknowledgment significant.
“I would say that it’s important to recognize ‘the first,’ because then the next person doesn’t have to be first,” said Ms. Fulton, a 1980 West Point graduate. “Once we get over each ‘first,’ each hurdle of ‘Well, that’s never been done before,’ it makes it a nonissue going forward.”
Ms. Fulton, who was honorably discharged as a captain in 1986, said she left the Army because of the strains of maintaining a secret lesbian relationship. She called the promotion ceremony in which General Smith acknowledged being gay part of the best in Army tradition. Ms. Fulton quoted a speech last September in which the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, said that “the strength of our Army is our soldiers; the strength of our soldiers is our families.”
Ms. Fulton said she had no doubt that General Smith’s superiors knew of her sexual orientation when they selected her for promotion.
As a colonel, General Smith was deployed in Afghanistan from December 2010 to October 2011 as the chief of Army Reserve Affairs. She currently serves in Washington as the deputy chief of the Army Reserve. source – NBC News
But it was such a good idea at the time
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Arizona resident Adam Smith thought he was doing good by taking a video of himself confronting a Chick-fil-A employee in the drive-thru lane Wednesday.
But his employer, Tucson medical equipment manufacturer Vante, saw it differently. Vante has announced that Smith, formerly the chief financial officer and treasurer, no longer works there.
“We respect the right of our employees and all Americans to hold and express their personal opinions,” said a statement from the company. “However, we also expect our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others.”
The video shows the Chick-fil-A employee responding to Smith’s statements by saying, “I’m really uncomfortable that you’re video taping,” and, “It’s a pleasure to serve you, always.”
Smith said that by taking free water from the Chick-fil-A drive thru, he hoped he was taking money away from hate groups.
“I don’t know how you stand it,” Smith said to the employee. “This is a horrible corporation with horrible values.”
After the employee wished Smith a nice day, he responded, “I will. I just did something really good. I feel purposeful.” An account for Vante Chief Financial Officer Adam Smith is no longer available on professional networking site LinkedIn. source – LA Times
As in the days of Noah
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire..” Jude 1:7
Editor’s Note: The first homosexuals recorded in the bible lived in the city of Sodom, which is where we get the tern “sodomite’ in reference to a man or woman who practices same-sex relations. Thousands of years before the word “gay”, which used to mean “happy” was stolen and misappropriated, the generally-accepted term was “sodomite”.
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The Chick-fil-A protests appear to be just getting started, with two new campaigns underway. (You didn’t think this controversy was going away anytime soon, did you?)
In one campaign, Marci Alt of Atlanta has posted a petition on Change.org inviting Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy to join her family — including her wife and their two children — for dinner. She wants to offer him a first-hand look at a family being hurt by the company’s political and social activism against gays and lesbians.
The second campaign encourages members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to participate in a same-sex “kiss-in” Friday at Chick-fil-A outlets nationwide. Both events — as well as overarching calls to boycott the company — have the backing of GLAAD.
“Without question, Dan Cathy has every right to voice his opinions and beliefs,” Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said in a statement released to the Los Angeles Times. “But he should meet and get to know the people … harmed by his company’s multimillion-dollar donations.”
Graddick said he was referring to more than $5 million in donations that Chick-fil-A has given to anti-LGBT organizations. Graddick said in his statement that those organizations included the American Family Assn. and Family Research Council. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization, describes both groups as being actively “anti-gay.”
Graddick said the fast-food chain also donated to groups that promoted a controversial therapeutic approach to “turn” people from gay to straight.
The kiss-in, meanwhile, has some gay and lesbian supporters questioning whether such outward displays of affection will ultimately help or hurt their cause.
“We are encouraging those of us who support LGBT rights and LGBT equality to show up at their local Chick-fil-A tomorrow and kiss someone of the same sex,” said Carly McGehee, a New York-based political activist who started the idea for the kiss-in.
The campaigns follow Wednesday’s stunning turnout for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a day on which Americans were urged to support the company. The company did not release sales figures but said it was a “record-setting day.”
Nationwide, at least 15,000 people have agreed to participate in the kiss-in, McGehee said. But even among LGBT supporters, some wonder whether such an in-your-face act might be too provocative, or amount to taunting.
“I respect not patronizing their establishment … but by taunting them in their establishment is hate-filled and inciting anger and hate,” said one commenter on a Causes.com page urging people to participate in the kiss-in.
Suggested another: “Its okay to disagree but its not okay to confront a person on their views in such an aggressive and provocative manner. There are forums for that.”
McGehee told the Los Angeles Times that she encouraged participants to be “polite and tasteful.”
“This is about us showing our love…. We’re not encouraging people to be outrageous or lewd.”
She said the protest was less about trying to change the minds of people who are offended by LGBT love, and more about encouraging young people who are frightened to embrace their sexual orientation. “We want to tell young people, you are OK just the way you are.”
For its part, Chick-fil-A said it would not comment further beyond its statement about Wednesday’s sales setting a record.
As for Friday’s protests, the company says it’s ready: “We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food.” source – LA Times
A law unto themselves
“In those days…every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25
From Politico: Democrats are set to include a pro-gay marriage plank in their convention platform for the first time in history, party sources confirm to POLITICO. The language was approved unanimously by a 15-member platform draft committee, and now heads for approval by the full platform committee in August.
The party’s Platform Drafting Committee agreed, unanimously, to approve the language at a meeting this weekend in Minneapolis. A source in the meeting said the decision was “not controversial.” The language will not become official until the party’s full Platform Committee meets Aug. 10 in Detroit.
The effort to include gay marriage in the platform gained increased momentum after President Barack Obama announced in May that his views on the issue had changed to support legalization.
“I don’t think that we had any issues that were controversial,” one member of the committee said Monday. “I think we were pretty much in sync and in agreement with where we ended up.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday referred questions about the platform to the Democratic National Committee. A DNC spokesperson declined to comment on what the official described as ongoing process.
The decision was first reported Monday by the Washington Blade, to whom Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) confirmed the news.
A draft plank circulated in February — before the president’s endorsement — read: “We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”
It is unclear whether the Democrats have strengthened the language in the wake of Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. The DNC declined to comment on an ongoing process, and outside witnesses at the platform hearing were not provided with draft text.
“We’ve not seen any specific language at this point,” Zeke Stokes, a spokesman for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said. SLDN put forward a witness at last week’s hearing testifying in favor of the plank.
But the news was quickly applauded by Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry.
“We are proud that the Committee is including language that will ensure the Party is leading the way forward in supporting marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families,” Solomon said in a statement. source – Politico
Billionaire Amazon.com founder and president Jeff Bezos is donating $2.5 million to help a Washington state law that legalized gay marriage survive a referendum this November. Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are now among the largest donors to gay marriage in the country, The New York Times reported.
Gay marriage was legalized in Washington state in February, but opponents immediately started a campaign to recall the law in a referendum. Gay marriage is legal in six states, but it has failed every single time it has been put up to a popular vote. Supporters in Washington and Maryland are hoping to buck that trend in November, when their recent laws allowing same-sex marriage go up for a vote. So far, the pro-gay marriage camp is out-raising its opponents in Washington, in part thanks to help from Silicon Valley. Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steven Ballmer each gave $100,000 to same-sex marriage supporters, the Times says. source – Yahoo News
“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” Revelation 8:7
Certainly it’s just coincidence that in the same month that President Obama formally declared that the policy of America would now be in favor of Gay Marriage that America’s Heartland began to dry up and begin to experience massive crop failure.
From NBC News: The drought ruining crops, shrinking water supplies and exacerbating wildfires intensified dramatically over the last week, U.S. forecasters reported Thursday. The weekly Drought Monitor shows “widespread intensification” in the central U.S., the National Drought Mitigation Center said in a statement.
Across the contiguous U.S., the total area under all kinds of drought grew only slightly but the most severe categories — extreme and exceptional — rose from 13.5 percent to 20.5 percent — the highest level since 2003.
The jump “this week was the largest since we started the U.S. Drought Monitor” 12 years ago, Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and Drought Monitor author, told NBC News. “This is really showing the rapid intensification of the drought due to the heat/dryness over the region with little relief for anyone.”
“We’ve seen tremendous intensification of drought through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska, and into part of Wyoming and South Dakota in the last week,” Fuchs said in the center’s statement.
Every state had at least a small area categorized as “abnormally dry” or worse. “It’s such a broad footprint,” Fuchs said.
The Weather Channel noted the jump is the equivalent of adding 219,000 square miles to the worst drought categories — “an area slightly larger than the states of California and New York combined,” it noted. source – NBC News