In February, I told you about a Change.org activist’s witch hunt against Chick-Fil-A.
Chick-Fil-A is an American success story. Founded by Georgian entrepreneur Truett Cathy in 1946, the family-owned chicken-sandwich chain is one of the country’s largest fast-food businesses. It employs some 50,000 workers across the country at 1,500 outlets in nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company generates more than $2 billion in revenues and serves millions of happy customers with trademark Southern hospitality.
So, what’s the problem? Well, Chick-Fil-A is run by devout Christians who believe in strong marriages, devoted families, and the highest standards of character for their workers. The restaurant chain’s official corporate mission is to “glorify God” and “enrich the lives of everyone we touch.” The company’s community service initiatives, funded through its WinShape Foundation, support foster care, scholarship, summer camp, and marriage enrichment programs. On Sunday, all Chick-Fil-A stores close so workers can spend the day at worship and rest.
For the Left, these Biblically-based corporate principles constitute high social justice crimes and misdemeanors. Democrats are always ready to invoke religion to support their big government, taxpayer-funded initiatives (Obamacare, illegal alien amnesty, increased education spending, and FCC regulatory expansion, for starters).
But when an independent company – thriving on its own merits in the market place — wears its soul on its sleeve, suddenly it’s a theocratic crisis.
Over the past month, several progressive activist blogs have waged an ugly war against Chick-Fil-A. The company’s alleged atrocity: One of its independent outlets in Pennsylvania donated some sandwiches and brownies to a marriage seminar run by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which happens to oppose same-sex marriage.
In the name of tolerance, the anti-Chick-Fil-A hawks sneered at the company’s main product as “Jesus Chicken,” derided its no-Sunday work policy, and attacked its operators as “anti-gay.” Michael Jones, who describes himself as having “worked in the field of human rights communications for a decade, most recently for Harvard Law School,” launched an online petition drive at www.change.org “demanding” that the company disavow “extreme anti-gay groups.” Facebook users dutifully organized witch hunt drives against the company on college campuses.
Over the weekend, New York Times reporter Kim Severson gave the Chick-Fil-A bashers a coveted Sunday A-section megaphone – repeatedly parroting the “Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay” slur and raising fears of “evangelical Christianity’s muscle flexing” with only the thinnest veneer of journalistic objectivity. Severson, you see, is an openly gay advocate of same-sex marriage equality herself and the former vice-president of the identity politics-mongering National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. In a bitter op-ed on gay marriage laws not changing quickly enough, she asserted: “I don’t want the crumbs. I want the whole cake.” Severson has voiced complaints about her social and economic status as an unwed lesbian with a partner and child in several media publications.
None of this was disclosed in Severson’s advocacy journalism hit job on Chick-Fil-A. But therein lies the unofficial motto of the Gray Lady: All the ideological conflicts of interest unfit to print.
Change.org continues to be the central clearinghouse for anti-Christian crusades.
The latest involves my friends at Focus on the Family. Their crime? Reaching out to a “socially conscious” shoe company, TOMS, that donates footwear to poor children around the world. Apparently, “progressives” would rather kids go shoeless than allow unapologetically devout Christians to help them achieve common goals.
Zealots used Change.org to browbeat the head of TOMS to apologize for merely speaking at an event hosted by Focus on the Family. The progressive mob has turned Focus into a public enemy because the organization defends traditional marriage and pro-life, pro-adoption policies.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Christianity Today reports:
Christianity Today recently published a cover story on Focus on the Family’s shift away from politics back towards an emphasis on the family. Backlash, surprisingly, has come from a brief mention towards the end of the piece about its budding relationship with TOMS shoes, a company that donates shoes to children for every pair sold. After receiving criticism for partnering with Focus, founder Blake Mycoskie posted on his blog that “TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all.”
Mycoskie partnered with Focus on the Family for a “Style Your Sole” event with about 500 people on June 30. Esther Fleece, who heads the organization’s millennial outreach and gave CT permission to post the picture to the right, noted Focus’s former dress code when she posted the picture on Facebook: “From panty hose and ties to staff in TOMS.” Focus President Jim Daly is second to the left.
The partnership between Focus and TOMS prompted sites like Jezebel to question whether TOMS should partner with an “anti-gay, anti-choice group?” Ms. Magazine started a petition on Change.org that has received about 500 signatures, asking TOMS to drop its relationship with Focus.
Here’s what Mycoskie posted on his blog:
Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family’s beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company’s part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly.
Furthermore, contrary to what has been reported, Focus on the Family is not a TOMS giving partner.
So there is no misunderstanding created by this mistake, let me clearly state that both TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all. That belief is a core value of the company and of which we are most proud.
To clarify, the CT report said that Focus is “working to become a TOMS international distributor in Africa,” not that it was already a distributor. Here’s the full context:
As this issue of Christianity Today goes to press, the ministry is scheduled to highlight the work of Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, a company that donates shoes to an impoverished child for every pair sold.
“A year ago, they were like, ‘Who’s that?’,” Fleece laughs. Now the company is working to become a TOMS international distributor in Africa. “We’re making slow strides here.”
Jim Daly diagnoses the Left’s pathological opposition to Focus:
While we may disagree with those who spearheaded this effort to get TOMS to distance themselves from us, our desire is not so much to defeat them at the ballot box as it is to bring them closer to the heart of Jesus Christ — the only hope any of us have for the forgiveness and overcoming of our sins,” Daly said.
…Daly said Mycoskie’s apology was an “unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit” over beliefs about marriage. “It’s also a chilling statement about the future of the culture we live in,” he said.
And the Change.org mob has only just begun:
On Thursday, Microsoft pulled their online store from the Christian Values Network after a Change.org petition started by Seattle resident and Microsoft customer Stuart Wilber, highlighted several anti-gay groups raising money through the Christian Values Network, including Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Shoppers at the Christian Values Network can buy from more than 600 brands. When customers purchase through the Christian Values Network, a portion of the sale is donated to the religious organization of the shopper’s choice.
A new petition on Change.org started by Washington State University student, Ben Crowther calls upon Apple to remove their iTunes and Apple stores from the Christian Values Network.
They won’t stop until only left-wing, politically correct Christians are able to run businesses, participate in global charities, and engage online.
This is their idea of “tolerance.”
Is it yours?