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."
CFA has much bigger problems than LGBT. They've been sued by just about every kind of employee you can imagine for discriminatory practices, and lost every time. They've fired married women just for being pregnant. They've fired people for getting divorced. They've fired men for having kids outside of wedlock. And Cathy admits to all of this, despite the fact that he's violating federal law while doing it. Cathy says he'll fire any sinner and only believes in traditional gender roles – so don't expect to find many female franchisees or women on the exec board there either.
Wow, what a bunch of moronic lies.
@JAson: You could live in denial or you could read about it in "FORBES"
I just did a quick search and sure enough all the executives are male. There's your proof right there that they discriminate against women.
I just read the article and, combined with I already knew, it looks like Jason will have to eat more than just a nasty chicken sandwich.
Guess they're extra fired up because of the banner day Chick-fil-A had on Wednesday......Time to let it go now........
I waited in line for 50 minutes for an "original chicken sandwich" on Wednesday and was happy to do so. I put my time and money behind this organization. The best the libs can do is blog, this isn't "fair". Blah, blah, blah. Go home now and shut up.
Jason likes to close his eyes and ears and ignore facts.
“But as conservative Christians we believe that ho.mose.xual activity is s.inful.”
What do conservative Christians base this misguided belief on? Th same thing ter.rorists in Afghan.istan base their belief that they should attack girl schools on, namely:
1) it is tradition
2) because some spiritual leader(s) said so
3) because of (misguided?) scriptural interpr.etation
It is so sad when people refuse to question their as.sum.ptions and chose blind faith over rea.son and compa.ssion.
Hom o s xuality is SIN!
Kelly – according to your own standards, so is divorce and adultery. Can we assume you'll be leading the charge to make both illegal >
If you want to know what is appropriate and unappropriate, just read the New Testament chapter one of Romans and it is clear. God decided this was best for all human beings. Our responsibility is to acknowledge it and obey it. Our job is to love one another. It trumps our faith and our hope. I Corinthians 13. The greatest of these is love.
"just read the New Testament chapter one of Romans and it is clear. "
Yeah especially when you take in 23 which shows that they were worshiping a pagan god using sex and it has NOTHING to do with the long term relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. Duh!
Qu eer is was and evermore shall be an abomination. Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS
"Qu eer is was and evermore shall be an abomination. Qu eers the folks who gave the world AIDS"
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.
Cnn doesnt this sound a bit like bullying from the gay and lesbian organization. It does not matter whether you agree with the donations, this is a company with christian stances, even as much as printed on their walls. So is is so hard to believe they give to christian organizations. This attack seems to be a bit misguided, are attacking the group because they do not give to what they deem as a good organization yet the organizations do give to families and children. This seems to be a do what we say or else approach. If you look at that way who is to say the naacp should only have scholarships for black youth. See how that can be a slippery slope? Why do you continue to allow and print organizations that attack in such a manner. OK we get it the gay community is not pleased with their social stance, but it is a common christian stance non the less. Sounds like there needs to be a look in the mirror for some of these gay groups.
We must join forces to eliminate the gays and support the lesbians. More lesbians for all!
you can have kids, just put it in the right place first!
It's really too bad your parents put it in the right place.
If you disagree with CFA, let it go. All publicity is good publicity. If you keep talking about it then the Cows win...
If you are looking for a cause to rally behind, why not sponsor a starving child who needs education in a third world country? Blowing this out of proportion is a giant waste of all of our time and resources.
You mention helping starving kids and wasted resources. All those right-wing Christian nut-jobs could have given their chicken sandwich to the local shelter, etc. Yet they didn't. Pity. I guess this waste of resources and time goes both ways. It seems as though those One Million Moms (I am guessing with gays making up more than 10% of the population, none of them have a LGBTQ son or daughter) are boycotting Amazon. I say boycott on. I will forever never, ever give my hard earned GAY money to a group that cant tell the truth, much less one that is based on biased teachings that are so old and edited. Get a clue people.
I would be more concerned with what the government is doing with YOUR money than what Chick-Fil-A is doing with theirs!
That's exactly right!
The fact of the matter is tht if the owner of the resturaunt is against LGBT then let them this is America and s Americans we have the right to be for and against what ever we please and the LGBT community needs to learn tht not everyone will agree with their way of life thts a plain and simple fact.
"the LGBT community needs to learn tht not everyone will agree with their way of life thts a plain and simple fact."
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."
Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.
after thoughtful review of your reply, people with even a small degree of common sense would conclude that it is all BULL SH IT !
"after thoughtful review of your reply, people with even a small degree of common sense would conclude that it is all BULL SH IT !"
Small minds can't handle the fact that hundred of thousands of experts have proven them wrong. Grow up.
What one qu eer lies to another qu eer will swear to. The normal world is on to your bull sh it and do not buy it. Qu eers the people who gave the world AIDS
"What one qu eer lies to another qu eer will swear to. The normal world is on to your bull sh it and do not buy it. Qu eers the people who gave the world AIDS"
The gay community seems to be very hateful, and ready to "attack" anybody that doesn't agree with them. Stop being so hateful, and keep your private lives private!
"Stop being so hateful, and keep your private lives private!"
Would you have said that to African Americans or women when they were fighting for their civil rights? Duh!
Kelly, mind your own business and we'll do!
A person's s x life is very personal, this has nothing to do with race, stop already!
"Stop being so hateful" – Are you kidding me? Try living one day in our shoes and see the kind of hate we get on a regular basis for doing absolutely nothing. Just read some of the comments on this article. One simply just said "F*gs."
And what Kelly means by "keep your private lives private" is no icky hand-holding between two men in public, because to people like Kelly, that's "throwing it in people's faces." Full-on kissing and other public displays between a man and woman are still acceptable, however.
If you keep kicking a dog, eventually it bites you. Gay people aren't hateful, but they're tired of straight so-called Christians telling them they're evil and damned to hell because of the way they were born - the way God made them - and they're finally fighting back.
Anything that promotes disenfranchising and discriminating against an entire group of people is evil. Christians practice that in spades.
A big majority of the "gay" population tends to make their private business everybody's business with all the complaining in the media, and everywhere they go! So if they would stop putting their business in the public view, maybe we all would "mind our own business"!
“The gay community seems to be very hateful, and ready to "attack" anybody that doesn't agree with them. Stop being so hateful, and keep your private lives private!”
Sounds just like christians
Jonah...first of all, you do NOT know what I mean, and you should NEVER speak for someone else unless you know them! Why do you have to go around talking about being "gay" all the time. Over the last 10-15 years, it seems that all you hear is something about the "gays". I do NOT like to see two people of the same gender being affectionate to each other. And, yes it is absolutely right for a man and a woman to hold hands in public. You are right about that for sure, but keep this out of the public venues, and stop throwing this "gay" thing up every chance you get, enough already.
And what Kelly means by "keep your private lives private" is no icky hand-holding between two men in public, because to people like Kelly, that's "throwing it in people's faces." Full-on kissing and other public displays between a man and woman are still acceptable, however. "If you keep kicking a dog, eventually it will bite you", then stop acting like a dog! You don't know me and I don't know you, all I am saying is that most people are tired of hearing and seeing things about "gays" all the time! The way you speak of Christians is very hateful!
Kelly is right.
I'm not a fan of PDA in general. But the GLBT group, although a small minority (<1%) are making this a big deal. (And getting a lot of advertising from the media). It's none of their business where the Cathy family decides to send their donations. If they continue to have a problem with it, just follow Nancy Pelosi to KFC.
I say just ignore them, and pass the chicken nuggets.
Save the chickens go vegetarian
Good luck enjoying your vegetables during the drought. Hippie
Chick-Fil-a has a right to spend their money whichever way they choose. It is not your money! You have no authority to tell them how to spend their money. They earned it fair and square. You can whine all you want. However, they will not stop sending money to the organizations that they choose. Also if you don't like Chick-Fil-a, don't go and eat there! I can honestly tell you that based on Wednesday turn out, they are simply not hurting for money.
And just as Chick-fil-A has the right to give its corporate profit to anyone it chooses, people have the right to protest where they donate their money. If they were donating their money to white supremacists or the Ku Klux Klan, would you be OK with that too?
Let's be honest America. White people love chicken more than blacks. Especially when it's deep fried in hate.
So you are bringing race into the "mix". Stop with your hate filled words!
Where is race incerted in this artice. I am white and cannot tell you how many times I have been called derogatory statements, by blacks. The owner said that he is against gay marriage not against being gay. Marraige is a states right, not a federal law. How many states have approved of gay marriage when the citizens of the state get to vote. ZERO!! The left spews hate speech all day long. Listen to Cher, Paltrow and other hollywood elites.
You seem to be an expert on the subject of hate.
This seems to be a whole of "to do" about nothing! If a business owner wants to give money to a lawful organization then, far be it from me to tell them what they can or can't do. You folks seem to be forgetting what makes this country great!!! Its called freedom. Embrace it or defect.
Here's where I have a problem. This GLAAD group is inviting Mr. Cathy to have dinner with gay couples...and their children.
Where do the children come from? Are gay couples creating clones or have they discovered a new way to make babies?
To raise a child in an environment that gays want everyone to know about, is unfair to the child. Their peers in school or church or other activities will give them problems. Children can be cruel to each other.
Adoption of children to gay couples is not suitable because of the aforementioned.
Yeah that's brilliant. Gay people shouldn't adopt because people like you will give them a hard time and that's bad for the children? Are you really that thick?
I agree. Gays should be denied adopting children until they put it i the correct hole
Karl, you're a bit behind the times. Just like a hetero woman with a spouse who can't get her pregnant, a lesbian can visit a sperm bank for donations. There are many other options as well, but I don't want to blow your mind all at once.
Are you really saying that a child is better off spending their life in a foster home than having 2 loving parents if they are gay? Tell that to a kid stuck in the foster system.
Yes, children can be cruel. Where do you think they learn it from? People like you.
Actually you need to do some research. There is no evidence for you claim and quite a bit of evidence to support the claim that childeren raised by same se x parents are even more well adjusted than you might think.
If you think....
Karllinen-that is your opinion
I for one think that having children in your home is wrong. They will learn to hate other people. Sick!
You clearly need to educate yourself, but doing so would require you to open your mind, which I'm guessing might be an issue. Gay couples can make just as much of a loving, supporting home as straight couples. Kids can be cruel in many different situations, not just to those who have gay parents. I'm sure you believe that being gay is a choice, and that gays don't deserve to be parents because they chose this lifestyle, and raising them would be destructive to their well being. But again, this would require you to think about the "aforementioned", and I'm guessing I'm wasting my time.
StPauliGuy.....sadly, your parents found the right hole.....
Better to be brought up by a reasonably well balanced and devoted gay couple then the evangelical, fundamentalist, Christian nut jobs I had for parents
Whoa! The "kiss-fest" is a huge FLOP after the hundreds of thousands of supporters for Cathy's stand on family values so CNN have switched from CARING for Gays' civil rights – to Chick-Fila's Private donations! How pathetic is THAT!
You've got that right. Evil will not prevail!
I quit smoking a long time ago.
@CriticalThinking – Me, You, and a feathery bed.. what do ya say? ;)
Seek help for your low esteem issues CT.
CFA has been donating to these "hate groups" for years. Why get offended, kick and scream and protest now? Do you always do what the media says? Dance puppets, dance... EAT MOR CHIKN!
Liberals don't think until CNN let's them KNOW what to think, how to think and when to think!
Corporations did business South Africa and apartheid for decades too. Does that mean we should never have protested against that horrible system?
Wait a minute! So all this is really about the 1000.00 each it gave to two charities?
Excellent point. I'm glad this article clarifies for us who these hate groups are and how much money is given. This whole thing is freaking ridiculous and just shows we have way to much time on our hands and that people need to get some jobs.
You give your hard earned money to whoever you want to. So, if they took away the money from this charities that do help the community, and give it to their kids so that they can go buy booze and get drunk out of their minds, then that's ok. Give me a break. I don't know if Perez Hilton gives money to charities, but if he does, I doubt he would give to Focus on the Family and the such, yet there are no articles on CNN about this.
The gay-rights movement is the worst double standard in society nowadays. If you are a Christian and you express your values, you get put on the spot, labelled as a hater, and ostracized for your community. Ridiculous
Yes, I give my hard earned money to whoever I want to. And I choose not to give it to Chick-fil-A because the COO is an awful human being.
Good point Jose. Bless you.
Oh right, poor Christians, oppressed and persecuted for their beliefs. Except not.
Your right you’re ridiculous. Christians make up 80% of the country. You’ve got one heck of a persecution complex
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.