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."
Why does CNN block the word h0m0s3xual in comments? Is it a dirty word?
Yes. As well as qu eer. Qu eers the people who unleashed AIDS on the world.
H0m0s3xuality is wrong, plain and simple. Love is beautiful, h0m0s3xuality is not. It's not about hate, h0m0s3xuality is just wrong, like lying, stealing, drunkenness, drug use, murder, adultery, etc.
What about being an ignorant c.unt, is that wrong?
@ RobK ... out of all those things you listed, tell us, oh "educated" one, how many of those things are commited by straight people? Yeah, that's what I thought. Also, gays can love just like straights can. The same chemical reactions in the brain, the same emotion .. love is gender-blind, whereas you are just blind. Stevie Wonder and Ronnie Millsap have better eyesight than you do.
last I checked they are a private company they have a right to donate their money were they see fit and I am sick of the gays trying to dictate their lifestyle on everyone who does not agree, if you do not like a product then dont buy it last I checked no ones rights were ever violated in Chick-fil-A everytime I ever went in everyone was treated kindly fairly and equally
They have the right to donate their money wherever they want and we have the right to criticize them for supporting hate groups.
First one to pull out the "hate" word loses. And, Rational, you just lost, big time.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT to be really stupid, and alienate a huge percentage of your customer base, FOREVER. (No, not gay here, just sick of christian hate.) The Chick fil A MISSION STATEMENT clearly says, "NEVER LOSE A CUSTOMER"
Mission Accomplished NOT
Check your sphincter, Nietodarwin. Might find a few diamonds in there.
They are not hate groups, in fact the only people who seem to think they are " hate " groups are the perverts.
Any group which seeks to deny rights to a specific group of people are a hate group.
Which part of there is no right to perversion are you having trouble with? Qu eers the people who brought you AIDS
Dinner with "gay parents" and their kids? Please.
Fact: "Gay" parents cannot have children. Deal with your choice. Denial is a river in Egypt.
Two effective ways to provide perverts with their victims. Qu eers the folks that gave AIDS to the world.
Still not "their" children. Deal with it.
Actually, with surrogacy, the child would be one of their children, or if lesbians, they could have a sperm donor.
Anyway, there's more to parenthood than biology.
Rational loses again. Gays can not create life. Heteros can. Therefore gay "marriage" can not be identical to hetero marriage. Call it whatever kind of equal rights union you prefer other than marriage, and the problem goes away. Continue to attempt to redefine the meaning of "marriage" and you'll be fought tooth-and-nail.
Deal with it.
Please tell me how I lost.
Some straight parents can't have children either... let's make sure they can't get married or have any rights simply because they can't procreate... or will you come up with some lame "exception" for them?
By the way, back around the sixties what reason did you use for blacks and whites not being able to marry or "intermingle" Wasn't it the Bible, too?
I think Phillip just scored what, in tennis, is called an "ace" .. nice one!! :)
Again. They cannot have "their" own children. It is a fact. It must be frustrating to live in such denial. Pathetic really.
I personally have had enough of the G/L groups tellin me how I have to accept them, when these same people won't accept our beliefs. I'm glad that people actually spent money to support this fine company instead of those of you asking for a free cup of water. Enjoy that backlash – hopefully it will push your movement back to the stone ages if not the closet. Everyone has the same rights, you just don't get more for being a freak.
People want equal rights – not more rights.
There is no right to perversion. Qu eers the folks who gave us AIDS
Actually, there is a right to perversion as long as the 'perversion' is amongst consenting adults. It's called freedom.
Also, AIDS was created in a lab, and don't kid yourself otherwise, even though you're clearly a troll..
That lab must have been in San Francisco right in the center of Qu eerville. Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS.How does an infant give consent you moron.
Who said anything about infants p.rick?
Does adoption or a surrogate deliver a full grown consenting adult to the pervs? Qu eers the folks who brought you AIDS
Prayer changes things .
These gays need to wake up and understand that many do not buy their point of view or their opinions about marriage or personal lifestyles. Their beliefs are their beliefs alone and all countering opinions or beliefs are neither improper or illegal but are legitimate disagreements.
True, and by doing so they trample on the rights of others. Not smart if you only represent 2% of the population.
No, it's their rights which are being trampled on by retarded, backwards fundies.
Marriage is not a right.
A form of legal contract you have the RIGHT to enter into. It is a RIGHT!
Rights come responsibilities and preconditions. For instance, you have the right to drive a car, but you have the responsibility to drive safely and need a drivers license as a precondition. In the case of marriage you need to be of different gender to be allowed to marry. That is why they have "life contracts" in many jurisdiction which do the same for you as marriage.
Why is being of a different gender a necessary prerequisite?
There is no right to contract. You are mistaken. Everything is not a right.
Also, IDB, you do not have the right to drive a car. Driving a car is a privilege, which can be taken away be the government for relatively small violations of traffic law.
Who said everything is a right? Anyway, most people agree that Section 1 of the Fourtheenth Amendment covers marriage.
It is amazing how much coverage the, around 2% of our population that suffers from a genetic defect, receives in the press when they argue for their rights. The issue at hand is not whether or not these people should be allowed to enter in matrimony. That is a discussion that one can only win by showing the 98% of the population a good reason. The issue at hand is that they try to prevent the 98% of the population to express their opinion. That will only lead to hate, discrimination and violence. Exactly the opposite of what they try to achieve. The gay rights movement would do better for their followers if they would change their tactics and strategy to more achievable goals in a more prudent manner.
You say 98% of the population as if the 98% (it's less than that by the way as well, between 90-93) are as bigoted as you, whereas all recent polls show support for gay marriage slightly ahead of retardo-fundies against gay marriage.
Being gay is no more a defect than being left-handed or red-headed or blind for that matter.
In a hundred years from now this issue will completely disappear. Scientist are very close to identifying this genetic defect and will be able to test pregnant women during their first trimester. If the results come back positive they will by law have to abort the defective fetus.
Mr. Cathy, PLEASE stand your ground. Don't let the dirty "quiries" (look at picture accompanying this article) and Judas Obama sway you.
So many bigots no enough lions. Explain what a gay person has done to you personally to make so so ignorant!
When it comes to bigots and bullies you top the list. Qu eers the folks who gave AIDS to the world.
Why are they citing the stances of anti-Christian hate groups like Southern Poverty Law Center, Equality Matters and the Human Rights Campaign? It only seems natural that the anti-Christianity groups call the pro-Christianity groups "hate groups" this has been the modus operandi of the left for decades. It's the same as when the anti-gunners call the NRA a hate group.
It never ceases to irritate the c r a p out of me when groups who preach tolerance, are the most intolerant!!!!!!
Not sure what the big deal is. Dan Cathy spends his money how he wants, I spend my money how I want and you spend your money how you want.
Agreed Pete. Nobody is forcing him not to donate his money where he wants, but he can not escape criticism for donating to a hate group.
Hey Rational Libertarian,
no BS here plain and simply. Yes they can marry, just as I was able to marry my wife. Jesus still (even after your little quip) gave us ONLY ONE THING!!! to do and that is .....well you guessed it my friend, Love one and all. Even though we are not the same. I don't want to make it about religion and neither did jesus. Religion is made up by fallen man, taking parts of scripture to suit thier needs. Religion is tricky, let's just do as we are commanded. Love ya brother!
Well, I don't love you and I won't follow any commandments, but kudos on the gay marriage stance.
I was not commanded by jesus to do anything.
Liverals = Should be Liberals
"Abrahamics" like the Cathy family believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.
Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.
As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.
Oh good grief. If I am tempted, ie.. have the "urge" to take things that don't belong to me but I do it anyway, I have stolen and that makes me a theif. If I am tempted or have the "urge" to lie, for whatever reason..makes no difference why..and I do then I am a liar. Sin is sin makes no difference which one and in that way we are ALL equal but to quote the pseudo doctors associations "findings" as fact and expect those "findings" to be accepted is dumb. They have an agenda all their own and it has to do with dollars.
BULL SH IT
No money for ho mos
CFA sounds like an outstanding organization to me.... their mission has been twisted by LGBT-XYZ advocates. I will continue my support, more so now that I know that they are really trying to make a difference to make the world a better place. An organization that helps foster children and provides scholarships is an organization I can stand with.
CFA sounds like an outstanding organization to me.... their mission has been twisted by LGBT-XYZ advocates. It looks like they are really trying to make a difference and make the world a better place. An organization that helps foster children and provides scholarships is an organization I can stand with.
We have been given only one thing to do here on earth. Jesus asked us to LOVE everyone as he has loved us. Why is it so hard to do that? I do agree that the gay movement seems to be very afraid of letting everyone know they are different. This results in them not letting or accepting that others have a viewpoint too. I for one am a happily married man of 26 years with two beautiful children God is great. I support traditional marriage, but I don't care that the gay folks marry either. Remember they too have a soul and are loved by God just as much as any other creation of his. Just leave our traditional marriage out of the equation. Just remember this... you have never meet a mere mortal. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
OK, let's cut through all the religious BS. Should gay people be allowed to be married?
No. They can be unionized. Is it just a pice of paper you want? Traditional marriage needs to be upheld. Sorry. It does not mean that I hate. I just believe in traditional marriage. God created.
You DO realize that marriage was around since before written history, right? It predates any and ALL religions you can think of. Marriage is a CIVIL contract by definition, not a religious one, and no religious base is needed to be married. By your reasoning, does that mean that anyone who isn't a Christian isn't legally married?
By the way, I do applaud your 26 years, marriages like that are getting fewer and farther between.
pop quiz for you and anyone else... name ANY organization thta is fighting against gay marriage, that does NOT .. I repeat, does NOT, have religion at its core.
@ Rational .. ok I'll give you a "straight" answer lol (pun intended) ... Why not? They are human as are all of us, and have the right to live their lives as they see fit. Who are we to tell them who they can or cannot fall in love with, and spend the rest of their lives with in peace just like anyone else? I do see a bonus for a select gruop of people later on though.... divorce lawyers will now have a whole new crop of previously untapped clientele to represent if their divorce rates are anything like straight couples' rates are now lol
I was talking to William, but thanks for the input. Right about the lawyers also, a whole wave of fresh misery for them to make their money off.
Gays can do whatever they want, love whom ever they want, have a ceremony and live happily ever after.... they just can't call it "marriage." I support civil unions, not gay marriage.
So you decide, is it? If you could have s.ex with the word marriage, would you?
@ k ... so you DON'T want gays to get survivor benefits, joint accounts, family insurance coverage, the same things that straight married couples get? Thanks for showing us your intolerance. I know what you're saying and that is "They can date and live together but let's not give them any benefits".
So no one can answer my pop quiz question?? Really? Is it that hard? It probably is lol
What rights are gays being denied. That totally stumps me. They receive the same rights as I do the last time I checked. If you work you get benefits from your employees just like I do. You can go get a union if you so choose. Again, what rights are you being denied? I also wonder what these HATE groups everyone is talking about. Are they just groups that support traditional God created marriage. Most likely, but they are called HATE groups because they do not agree with gay marriage.
They're being denied the right to be married.
They can be unionized. Most states now allow them to get married to my dismay. I do not hate gay people. I have a good freind who is gay and I love him very much. Just because I do not approve of his lifestyle and I defend traditonal marriage does not mean that I hate. Why is it that the gay population think we hate them? My gay friend chooses not to live the lifestyle because he is also a Christian and knows that God created traditional marriage.
So your gay friend denies his biological s.exuality because of the retarded ramblings of a bunch of desert shephards who worship a storm god? You guys deserve each other.
Also, unionized isn't married.
" do not approve of his lifestyle"
A lifestyle is something one chooses...being gay is not a choice. It is not up to anyone to redefine marriage, marriage was around for a great many years prior to christianity and it will be around long after christianity has ceased to exist. The license required to be married is called a Marriage License, not a Civil Union License and it must be acquired for any marriage to be legal be that in a church or otherwise. My Mom used to say that God was everywhere and didn't care if you attended church, as long as you upheld your belief in him and were good to your fellow man. Now I'm not a believer but if you truly believe in your god and your god is such a good decent creature, then why would your god care where a person got married as long as they were not causing harm to another human?
Snowdog, marriage was around long before written history (about 7000 years ago) and LONG before anyone thought to worship YOUR particular "god". Have another glass of Kool-Aid, ok?
There are over 1000 laws and benefits that are being denied to gay couples because they are not married. Google it...
Snowdog, for the record, when did you CHOOSE to be hetero? Or was it just the way you are? Did you wake up one day and say "I think I'll be a hetero"? Or did you just accept the fact that hetero is just what YOU are? Gays do not choose to be gay anymore than you chose to be hetero. Deal with it.
Get over it already. The gay community is starting to look like a bunch of thugs.
Yeah, how dare they demand equality?
by bullying, suing others its not demand, its extortion and it's violation of religions freedom
Rational: How is the restaurant not treating them equally? They are welcome and served in CF restaurants but because Cathy has an opinion that doesn't match their agenda you think they are not?
I'm not talking about the restaurant specifically, but Cathy supports hate groups which oppose gay marriage.
I wonder what these so called HATE groups are? I bet they are groups that support traditional marriage but because they support traditional marriage they are called HATE groups. The gay population are making themselves look like fools with this KISS in and gay pride days. Stop pushing your lifestyle on me please.
Because they have a different view does not mean they "hate". Because your view isn't supported does not make it "hate", it means the group doesn't support your agenda.
It's only fundie retards that are pushing their lifestyle onto the rest of the country. Go ahead and support traditional marriage, jackin' it while looking at the crucuifix or whatever you do to support traditional marriage, just stop oppressing gays.
Once again I ask, How are gays being oppressed. I have several gay freinds that are very successful and do not feel oppressed at all. They have the same freedoms and benefits I enjoy. Amen walte65. Gay groups have no tolerance for people of differing opinons yet they want us to be tolerant of their lifestyle. Ironic.
I don't believe in god. I still know that being gay is wrong, unnatural. I do believe in mother nature. Mother nature would die if 98% of the population of all living creatures was gay. That's how we know it's wrong. Survival instinct!
Why should I (or anyone else) be accepting and tolerant of a group of people who have shown themselves to be unnaccepting and golerant of those who have a difference of opinion?
Meant to type 'tolerant'.
It's not about difference of opinion. If you wanna hate gay people, go ahead. But stop denying them their rights.
And what right where the gays denied by what the owner of Chick-fil-A said? None at all, yet his right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech where both denied by the gay rights groups. Thugs are all they are. Liverals and Gays Rights groups [reech tolerance but have no tolerence for decenting views.
How are Chick-fil-A and/or Cathy having any rights violated? Not at all.
How are gays rights being violated? Many states still won't allow gays to get married.
Marriage isn't a right. It is a form of legal contract.
Section 1, Fourtheenth Amendment.
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.