Chick-fil-A’s charity arm donated in 2017 to the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has labeled many Christian conservative organizations as “hate” groups.
Following the immense conservative backlash to Chick-fil-A’s recent decision to end giving to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Christian conservative activist and commentator Ryan Bomberger raised an alarm Wednesday about a past donation made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation.
An IRS 990 is a form that must be filed each year by organizations that are exempt from federal income taxes whose annual receipts are more than $25,000 a year.
The form lists dozens of donations made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation to other charities and nonprofit organizations in 2017, which totaled $849,500 for the year.
The form shows that among the many groups that Chick-fil-A Foundation donated to in 2017, one of them was SPLC. According to the form, the donation to SPLC totaled $2,500.
SPLC is a far-left legal group that aims to “fight hate” and teach tolerance. It gained prominence in the civil rights community by defending victims of attacks by white supremacist group Klu Klux Klan.
Although it is glorified for its fight against white supremacist groups, the organization has labeled dozens of Christian conservative advocacy nonprofits as “hate” groups because of their views on issues like marriage and criticism of radical Islamic terror. SPLC’s “hate” group label has been used in mainstream media to discredit the work of Christian conservative advocacy groups.
A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A confirmed for The Christian Post on Monday that the donation in question was, in fact, one of over 300 donations disclosed in the foundation’s 2017 990 form.
However, the spokesperson explained that the 2017 SPLC donation “was made by a volunteer member of the Chick-fil-A Foundation Advisory Board.”
“Each volunteer advisor, in 2017, was offered the opportunity to recommend a grant recipient,” the spokesperson stated in an email. “The grants were given to a range of organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Atlanta Mission, the Holocaust Survivor Support Fund, Georgia Historical Society and brain health research at Emory University.”
The spokesperson stressed that all donations were made in the spirit of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.
“Our founder, Truett Cathy, built his business on biblical principles that still guide the business today,” the spokesperson wrote. ”He famously said: ‘Probably the greatest gift that God has given any one of us is the power that we have to change people’s lives by what we do. The best-run company is the company that is forever thinking about others.’”
Already on edge because of Chick-fil-A Foundation’s decision to no longer give to the two organizations that have been criticized in the media for upholding traditional Christian teachings on marriage, conservatives further questioned Chick-fil-A after the revelation of the SPLC donation.
One of them is Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative Family Research Council. SPLC had listed FRC as a hate group since 2010.
“Not only has Chick-fil-A abandoned donations to Christian groups including the Salvation Army, but it has also donated to one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America,” Perkins said in a statement.
“Anyone who opposes the SPLC, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives, is slandered and slapped with the ‘extremist’ label or even worse, their ‘hate group’ designation. At one point, the SPLC even added Dr. Ben Carson to its ‘extremist’ list because of his biblical views (and only took him off the list after public outcry).”
It was in 2012 that a man who shot up FRC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. told the FBI that he was inspired to attack the building because of SPLC’s labeling of FRC as an anti-LGBT hate group.
“Seven years ago, a shooter entered our building with the intent to murder as many people as possible and smear a Chick-fil-A sandwich in their faces,” Perkins explained. “The gunman was enraged by the nationwide Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day held two weeks before and used the SPLC’s ‘hate map’ to identify FRC as his target.”
“Despite being seriously wounded, the FRC building manager, Leo Johnson, heroically stopped the gunman,” Perkins continued. “Dan Cathy, nor anyone with Chick-fil-A inquired about the well-being of Mr. Johnson or any of the FRC team members, but they made a donation to the SPLC which was linked in federal court to this act of domestic terrorism.”
Perkins asserted that “Chick-fil-A has seriously lost their way” and called for Christians to find other places to eat besides Chick-fil-A.
“It’s time for Christians to find a fast-food alternative to Chick-fil-A,” Perkins stressed.