The head of Chick-fil-A’s charity arm has responded to critics of the organization’s donations to Christian nonprofits that uphold traditional beliefs on marriage and sexuality, explaining that the organization operates on a “much higher calling.”
Rodney Bullard, the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, recently gave a sit-down interview to Business Insider in which he talked extensively about the foundation’s ongoing efforts to empower struggling inner-city communities.
Additionally, he addressed the backlash the foundation has faced recently after it was reported that the foundation donated 1.8 million to groups labeled “discriminatory” and “anti-LGBTQ” due to their belief in traditional marriage. Those organizations are the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Paul Anderson Youth Home in Georgia and the Salvation Army.
“The calling for us is to ensure that we are relevant and impactful in the community, and that we’re helping children and that we’re helping them to be everything that they can be,” Bullard explained.
“For us, that’s a much higher calling than any political or cultural war that’s being waged. This is really about an authentic problem that is on the ground, that is present and ever-present in the lives of many children who can’t help themselves.”
As an offshoot of the Christian-owned fast food chain, Bullard says that the Chick-fil-A foundation’s calling to help people has somehow been confused with a calling “to exclude.”
“And that’s not the case,” he stressed. “The focus, the phrase ‘every child’ — we’re very intentional about that. We do have programs and we look for programs that are inclusive as well to help every child.”
FCA, an international sports ministry that received $1,653,416 from the Chick-fil-A Foundation in 2017, has been criticized for its “Purity Pledge,” a pledge for athletes to abstain from sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts.
However, Chick-fil-A’s donations to FCA go towards FCA’s summer sports camps that the Foundation has hosted. Signing the “purity pledge” is not a requirement to take part in these camps.
“The intent is not to try to have kids conduct their lives according to the FCA code,” Carrie Kurlander, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of external communications, told Business Insider. “The intent is to expose them to all of the gateway to college exposure in sports as role models, all of that. So, we actually had a conversation two years ago about this very thing and said, ‘Alright, we’re probably going to get dinged. But the impact is real and authentic.’ And so, there was a judgment call.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith