By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – The website for the WinShape Foundation, a group started by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy that’s financed almost entirely by Chick-fil-A profits, doesn’t look like a battlefield in the culture war.
The site features warm and fuzzy snapshots of winding country roads and rustic cabins along with links to a cornucopia of social welfare programs the foundation funds – from foster homes to kids’ camps to college scholarships – that would seem to be the furthest thing from controversial.
The foundation's “simple but profound goal” is also hard to take issue with: “Help ‘shape winners.’ ”
But gay rights groups are incensed about the chain’s financial support for what they say are anti-gay groups. WinShape-backed groups deny that accusation, while WinShape stresses its activities are almost entirely aimed at youth and families, as opposed to conservative advocacy.
Yet WinShape finds itself in the center of a storm over gay rights and religious liberties as Americans take sides in the controversy over Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s recently reaffirmed opposition to same-sex marriage.
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"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit," Dan Cathy, Truett’s son, said in an interview last month. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
The comments sparked a tsunami of criticism from gay rights advocates and their allies, with a same-sex kiss day at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide scheduled for Friday. (Supporters rallied around the chain Wednesday, with an event dubbed Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.)
But gay rights groups appear even more concerned about Chick-fil-A’s charitable giving, most of which is funneled through WinShape. The group received more than $8 million from Chick-fil-A in 2010, the most recent years for which tax records are available.
A fact sheet about Chick-fil-A recently issued by the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay rights group, aims its ire mostly at WinShape.
The fact sheet, titled “Chick-fil-A anti-gay: Company funnels millions to anti-equality groups,” says that the “popular fast food chain has donated millions to groups that demonize (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people on a daily basis.”
The document enumerates what it calls Chick-fil-A’s “shocking donations” to evangelical groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Focus on the Family.
Other gay rights groups have also zeroed in on WinShape’s donations.
A 2011 report from Equality Matters, an arm of the liberal group Media Matters Action Network, said the restaurant’s “charitable division has provided more than $1.1 million to organizations that deliver anti-LGBT messages and promote egregious practices like reparative therapy that seek to ‘free’ people of being gay.”
The WinShape-backed groups that gay rights advocates accuse of being anti-gay reject that label, insisting that they condemn homosexual acts, not gay people.
“Those Christian groups don’t see themselves as hateful organizations – it’s a completely different perspective,” said Rusty Leonard, a financial adviser who counsels Christians on charitable giving and who knows the Cathy family. “But as conservative Christians we believe that homosexual activity is sinful.”
Most WinShape-backed groups, such as Focus on the Family and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, are mostly apolitical and are mainstream within the evangelical world.
At the same time, the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center has classified some WinShape-backed organizations, such as the Family Research Council, as anti-gay hate groups.
WinShape spends the vast majority of its money on internal programs like its camps, which cost $5 million to run in 2010, and foster homes, which cost $3.2 million that year.
By comparison, the organization gave $1,000 to Family Research Council in 2010 and $1,000 to Exodus International, a group that for years promoted so-called conversion therapy for gays, though the group is now reassessing that stance.
“The WinShape Foundation and Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving is focused on supporting youth, family and educational programs,” said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president for marketing, in a statement to CNN.com, responding to questions.
“WinShape provides camping programs for more than 13,000 girls and boys annually and 14 foster homes caring for more than 100 children,” the statement continued. "In addition, Chick-fil-A has awarded more than $30 million in Restaurant Team Member college scholarships to hourly employees.”
A public relations firm representing WinShape and Chick-fil-A declined interview requests Thursday.
WinShape’s own programs have a serious Christian tint. Its summer camp for kids “challenges campers to sharpen their character, deepen their Christian faith and relationships,” according to its website.
The foundation’s college scholarships, mostly for current and former Chick-fil-A employees, are to Berry College, a Christian liberal arts school in Georgia. The scholarships are bent on equipping “college students to impact the world for Jesus Christ by following him and living out his unique calling in their lives,” according to WinShape.
For evangelical Christians, such programs make Chick-fil-A a model corporate citizen.
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“On the conservative end of the Christian world, they are seen as being one of the most fabulous examples of Christianity lived out in appropriate ways,” Leonard said. “They support all kinds of wonderful things.”
But for now, the national focus is on outside groups that WinShape supports. The gay rights group GLAAD, for example, recently started a petition to get Dan Cathy to have dinner with a pair of gay parents and their children.
“If Cathy is going to spend millions trying to break apart loving families,” the petition says, “he should at least meet the people his money is hurting."
Chick-Fil-A has every right to have its beliefs and opinions. Why are gay rights forcing the issue onto others?
I'm going to buy me some good Chick-Fil-A today! Yum.
Religious freedom doesn't mean you can force others to live by your beliefs. Think, if you can, about that.
"Why are gay rights forcing the issue onto others?"
Well gee...duh...it's about civil rights.
There is no civil right to perversion. Qu eers the filthy folks who gave AIDS to innocents around the world.
Considering you're a useless troll with nothing of substance to say, I think discounting your "opinion" will be pretty easy to do.
"There is no civil right to perversion. Qu eers the filthy folks who gave AIDS to innocents around the world."
Bigotry or prejudice in any form is more than a problem; it is a deep-seated evil within our society.
Please do not feed the troll. He will follow you home.
"Qu eers the filthy folks who gave AIDS to innocents around the world."
Until recently, the origins of the HIV-2 virus had remained relatively unexplored. HIV-2 is thought to come from the SIV in Sooty Mangabeys rather than chimpanzees, but the crossover to humans is believed to have happened in a similar way (i.e. through the butchering and consumption of monkey meat). It is far rarer, significantly less infectious and progresses more slowly to AIDS than HIV-1. As a result, it infects far fewer people, and is mainly confined to a few countries in West Africa.
In May 2003, a group of Belgian researchers published a report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. By analysing samples of the two different subtypes of HIV-2 (A and B) taken from infected individuals and SIV samples taken from sooty mangabeys, Dr Vandamme concluded that subtype A had passed into humans around 1940 and subtype B in 1945 (plus or minus 16 years or so). Her team of researchers also discovered that the virus had originated in Guinea-Bissau and that its spread was most likely precipitated by the independence war that took place in the country between 1963 and 1974 (Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony). Her theory was backed up by the fact that the first European cases of HIV-2 were discovered among Portuguese veterans of the war, many of whom had received blood transfusions or unsterile injections following injury, or had possibly had relationships with local women.
Given the evidence we have already looked at, it seems highly likely that Africa was indeed the continent where the transfer of HIV to humans first occurred (monkeys from Asia and South America have never been found to have SIVs that could cause HIV in humans). In May 2006, the same group of researchers who first identified the Pan troglodytes troglodytes strain of SIVcpz, announced that they had narrowed down the location of this particular strain to wild chimpanzees found in the forests of Southern Cameroon . By analysing 599 samples of chimp droppings (P. T. troglodytes are a highly endangered and thus protected species that cannot be killed or captured for testing), the researchers were able to obtain 34 specimens that reacted to a standard HIV DNA test, 12 of which gave results that were virtually indistinguishable from the reactions created by human HIV. The researchers therefore concluded that the chimpanzees found in this area were highly likely the origin of both the pandemic Group M of HIV-1 and of the far rarer Group N. The exact origins of Group O however remain unknown.
HIV Group N principally affects people living in South-central Cameroon, so it is not difficult to see how this outbreak started. Group M, the group that has caused the worldwide pandemic, was however first identified in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Repub lic of Con go. It is not entirely clear how it transferred from Cameroon to Kinshasa, but the most likely explanation is that an infected individual travelled south down the San gha river that runs through Southern Cam eroon to the River Con go and then on to Kin shasa, where the Group M epidemic probably began.
Just as we do not know exactly who spread the virus from Cam eroon to Kin shasa, how the virus spread from Africa to America is also not entirely clear. However, recent evidence suggests that the virus may have arrived via the Cari bbean island of H aiti.
Religious freedom doesn't mean you can force others to live by your beliefs.
Has anyone said you can't be gay? No, they have said they don't like gays. That's the door of freedom. It swings both ways.
I personally don't care if you are gay or straight. Let people do what every they want. It's the Church's decision decide if they want to accept gay marriage. The government should not have any say. Separate Church and State.
OMG I just found out that the Pope believes that Marraige is supposed to be between a Man and a Woman also. Guess we need to rewrite the Bible so that it is politically correct or the next thing you know people will be picketing the pearly gates.
lame, very lame.
No, we just need to make it MORALLY correct. Have you read some of the garbage in that book?
You said, "OMG I just found out that the Pope believes that Marraige is supposed to be between a Man and a Woman also. Guess we need to rewrite the Bible so that it is politically correct or the next thing you know people will be picketing the pearly gates."
Morons who believe there is any truth or anything of value in the bible are free to live their lives as they think their imaginary friend wants them. If you don't think same sex marriage is the thing for you? Feel free not to enter into one.
Trying to restrict others from doing anything based on your fairy tale, is bigotry. You have no right to expect anyone else to be just as stupid as you obviously are. You are free to believe in the Tooth Fairy, just don't expect anybody sane to do the same.
My local Chik-Fil-A had to shut down early on Wed due to the overwhelming response of local citizens in support of the restaurant. Thousands came, lining up around the building from opening until close of business.
Today, a tiny handful showed up for a short period of time and then left.
Which event do you think got the most press???
I would say to the Gay and Lesbian community that objects to Chick -Fil-A' s charitable enterprises; Get used to it. You chose your current life style and live outside the age old boy girl, boy girl concept of Christian life. Don't blame the world because they don't happen to agree with you. It was after all, your choice. I don't think anyone held a gun to your back and told you to be a Gay man or woman.
Thank you, Jesse, for being the voice for ignorant rednecks on this blog.
No, but they held guns to their backs for being different.
Qu eer version
Go to chick fil a
Swap spit with another qu eer
take AIDS medicine
"take AIDS medicine"
No matter how they whine the world remembers it was the qu eers who spread AIDS to the innocents.
You forgot bound the chocolote or lick the chicken lips.
Then take aids meds.
Wow. It's nobody's F'N business who Chick fil a donates money to, gay or straight. If you don't like who they donate to, don't eat there and STFU.
I couldn't agree with you more :<)
I love how an opinion that about half the country agrees with is considered right wing extremism.. What has become abundantly clear to me is liberals are all for free speech as long as you agree with them.
What has become abundantly clear to me is that the majority of those citing the 1st Amendment have no idea what it says or means.
Glad to know what orgs. they support. Sending them a check for $100. I'm God proud, not gay proud and my rainbow flag is the one God created in Genesis to show they world He loved it. GLAAD and all they other hateful gay groups have lost all support from me with their hypocritical hate.
Well.... It means people like the Mayors of Boston and Chicago have no chance in court. It also means liberals are free to be as hypocritical as they want.
Making the point perfectly.
Yes, HenryO, I'm sure before this the gay community had LOADS of support from you. ( eye roll )
HenryO I think the 1 Interpretations comment below is meant for you...
"...my rainbow flag is the one God created in Genesis to show they world He loved it." Apparently, "loved it" means drowning countless babies, including those still in the womb. Kinda like a wife-beater brings her flowers and an ice pack for the shiner...
And Jesus looked upon them and He spoke (14). "Take these My teachings and go forth. Use these My words to rationalize whatever fears and prejudices reside in your hearts (15), find thee the ways to twist them so that they may serve to excuse oppression, colonization, genocide, inquisition, and hate and that ye may slay those who are different while accepting no personal responsibility for your acts (16), but yea most importantly do these things with the false humility and smug self-satisfaction of insisting that you know the will of God better than all others and that you will be blessed for eternity while enjoying the slow everlasting torture of anyone who disagrees with your self-righteousness (17). For this is humility and love (18)."
Absolutely genius post!
lol. and the politician Paul did just that to the max! lol.
Jesus word recorded in Luke chpter 12.
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
... personally I don't care what these perverts do in their own privacy, but when they shove it in my face and demand that I support their cause, that is when I dig in my heels. And to all you chocolate pounders out there ... it has nothing to do with hate, I don't hate anybody, but I recognize disgust when I see it.
"personally I don't care what these perverts do in their own privacy, but when they shove it in my face and demand that I support their cause, that is when I dig in my heels"
Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."
Mike – Gays HATE. They hate themselves and anyone even remotely viewed as "anti-gay" in their eyes. They've shown their true colors to the world this past week, and Obama should be ashamed off himself for selling out to them for a few Hollywood sheckels.
"They hate themselves and anyone even remotely viewed as "anti-gay" in their eyes. "
Wow what a prejudice coward that stoops to lies, so your definitely not a Christian but a troll. You are desperate aren't you withl so many REAL Facts being posted.
Yes, that's just how I feel about christians
Kiss off day a royal bust.
GALB groups HATE traditional family values and marriage.
The have a right to be wrong.
We have a right to stand for our beliefs. Don't like them, don't believe them. Your freedom allows that. But, you crossed the line when your hate for us is all about telling lies to the media.
Chick-fil-a does not discriminate against anyone. Have you ever been in their restaurant? They practice the golden rule with every customer. You do know the golden rule? Treat others as you would want to be treated.
Tell the turth CNN, NBC, ABC and MSNBC.
John 3:16 still applies today.
Agreed. Chick-fil-A simply vocalized their stance and have stood by it. They are not forcing anyone to live that viewpoint or forcing anyone to eat their food. These groups are free to have their viewpoint as well. They need stop harassing Chick-fil-A as they don't have a case, trying to point their finger for a fruitless cause. Go eat somewhere else and stop worrying about someone who disagrees with you.
I for one am for everyone regardless of race, creed, or beliefs deserves to be happy...but I find this attack on CFA to be abhorrent. CFA is a private, family owned company, and they certainly have the right to do any charitable work they please, and it seems by the figures given that the vast majority of their donations go to organizations that no one can argue with. This attack by these pro-gay groups is purely hate driven – as they can't stand anyone not agreeing with their agenda. I find the pro-gay lobby in this country to be absolutely over the top with their venom and I am sick of it. There are far better ways to go about getting what you want. If you really hate CFA that much – don't eat there....period, end of story.
Prayer changes things .
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!`
This is my experience.. Thank you.
Prayer and religion is harmful for children. Can you imagine what things of real value kids could learn if they weren't wasting their time on make-believe stuff? Don't let your children become Christarded. It's ugly and silly looking.
When you pray to a wall, a snake or human for prayers to happen, they won't happen. Admit you are a sinner and ask Jesus into your heart. This is the way to answered prayers.
All these christians whining about gay marriage and how it's a sin...what about gluttony? A rather large percentage of christians are way obese..and according to their own beliefs, gluttony is a sin...so, I guess they are going to spend eternity in hell with the gay people they hate so much..."isn't it ironic...don't u think?'
This reply is just stupid. Just say'n
if your parents were que-er you would not be here... ever thought about that?!?!
I'm not gay...just making a point how some christians pick and choose only the parts of their holy book that fit their life...I find some christians to be the most hate filled people around...
The internet and social media is truly a wonder to behold. The most destructive weapon since the atomic bomb but with all fingers on the 'button' instead of just a few.
Such a profound and true statement.
Which of you gay rights supporters wants the job of donating Dan Cathy's money?
You apparently believe that you know better what his money should be spent on.
In the meantime, I would like to take a look at your charitable giving to see that you are contributing to organizations that I approve of.
Love it, Mary. Well put.
Gay = bad. Simple as that.
"Gay = bad. Simple as that."
The experts disagree with you. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."
Not "gay" qu eer, qu eer is indeed bad. Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS
"Not "gay" qu eer, qu eer is indeed bad. Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS"
Qu eers continue to whine that it is not their fault... look here is a couple qu eer researchers from 'duh' belgium who say qu eers didn't do it. Yeah, you think everybody will buy that. Guess what no one buys that bull sh it except you. One qu eer lies another swears to it. Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS
pervert alert obviously needs to learn a few things – well anything would help. lol
"Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS"
This is getting rediculous. THe majority of the WinShape money goes to scholarships at Berry which includes operating a separate dorm/campus for about 200 students. I went to Berry and its non-denominational christian. There are no church requirements and you would hardly know there is any religious affiliation. The WinShape dorm (which was all CF scholarship students) had a curfew but for the rest of us it was a liberal arts school that included all the vices and virtues of any other school. In the late 80's when I attended about 10% of the school population was LBG. Because the male female ratio was 1-6 this meant a lot more lesbians than your average college. THere was nothing anti gay about Berry college.
"THe majority of the WinShape money goes to scholarships at Berry which includes operating a separate dorm/campus for about 200 students"
WinShape Is Chick-Fil-A's Charitable Arm. The WinShape Foundation is Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984. WinShape has received a substantial amount of funding from Chick-fil-A: in 2009 alone, WinShape received $7,814,788 from Chick-fil-A Inc. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]
WinShape Gave Over $1.7 Million To Anti-Gay Groups. In 2009 alone, WinShape donated $1,733,699 to multiple anti-gay groups:
Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
National Christian Foundation: $240,000
Focus On The Family: $12,500
Eagle Forum: $5,000
Exodus International: $1,000
Family Research Council: $1,000
[Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]
In 2007, the WInshape Foundation's spending on the various projects it supports – including college scholarships, a network of foster homes and camps, and programs for marriage counseling – equalled $18 million.
So 18 million on liberal arts education and helping fosterkids and families versus maybe 18 thousand on what might be anti- gay. Great reporting. The truth is Cathey is if for something – the family unit and this report cant find the 18 million and what it funded camps for foster kids scholarships for economically disadvantaged employees (all over Berry college's website) but $1000 to the Family Research Council equals "spending millios to break apart families- What a joke
This is getting rediculous. THe majority of the WinShape money goes to scholarships at Berry which includes operating a separate dorm/campus for about 200 students. I went to Berry and its non-denominational christian. There are no church requirements and you would hardly know there is any religious affiliation. The WinShape dorm (which was all CF scholarship students) had a curfew but for the rest of us it was a liberal arts school that included all the vices and virtues of any other school. In the late 80's when I attended about 10% of the school population was LBG. Because the male female ratio was 1-6 this meant a lot more lesbians than your average college. THer was nothing anti gay about Berry college.
Personally, it's none of my business what anyone thinks of me.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.