'Bigotry and Hatred': First UK Chick-fil-A to Close After LGBT Protest

Shortly after the first Chick-fil-A location in Britain opened, LGBT protesters drove it out of business. Oracle Management, the company that rented mall space to the Chick-fil-A, told Reading Pride that the American chicken joint would indeed "Cluck out" of Britain in six months. LGBT activists have made no secret that they intend to prevent Chick-fil-A from doing any business across the pond. Although the management company had already caved to pressure on Friday, LGBT groups still held a protest on Saturday.

"We don’t want you in our country because we don’t agree with the policies and the procedures that you have in place as an organization. You’re not welcome in the U.K.," Stephen Ireland, communications coordinator at UK Pride, declared at the protest.

Activists stood with a sign reading, "GET THE CHICK OUT: Say NO to bigotry and hatred on your High Street."

On Monday, Reading Pride had tweeted a statement condemning Chick-fil-A as antithetical to the values of LGBT activists — and the values of Britain as a country. "The chain's ethos and moral stance goes completely against our values, and that of the UK as we are a progressive country that has legalised same sex marriage for some years, and continues to strive towards equality."

In the statement, Reading Pride charged that the fast food chain's charitable foundation "still supports questionable charities." In particular, the LGBT activist group faulted the WinShape Foundation for donating $1.6 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and $150,000 to the Salvation Army in 2017.

Reading Pride quoted the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' statement of faith: "We believe God's design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the context of marriage. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9)"

Reading Pride also accused Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy of donating "money to a number of anti-gay charities."

Indeed, the WinShape Foundation once supported some conservative Christian organizations that advocated against legalizing same-sex marriage, such as Eagle Forum, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council (FRC). These organizations have been demonized, with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) falsely accusing FRC of being a "hate group" — an accusation that inspired a terrorist to attempt a mass shooting in 2012. Cathy had also made strong remarks critical of same-sex marriage in 2012.

After a nationwide boycott — and a conservative rush to buy at Chick-fil-A called "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," led by former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) — the company apologized for Cathy's comments and the WinShape Foundation stopped funding the more controversial organizations.

Yet LGBT activists and liberal outlets have continued to slam Chick-fil-A, condemning the contributions to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and to the Salvation Army. Both Christian organizations require employees and leaders to live according to traditional Christian sexual morality.

Despite the controversy, Chick-fil-A became the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America last year, and it took third place among all U.S. restaurants in sales. The fast food joint sells delicious chicken at an affordable price and with great service. If LGBT activists succeed at keeping it out of Britain, Brits will seriously miss out.

Yet the suggestion that Chick-fil-A stands for "bigotry and hatred" is terrifying and deserves condemnation. The company's decision to apologize for Cathy's statements and stop funding the most controversial groups should count for something, and funding the Salvation Army is not hateful. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army are not fighting against LGBT activists in the public square — they merely uphold traditional Christian sexual morality in their employment and programs.

It appears that British LGBT groups consider any disagreement with same-sex marriage or transgender identity to be bigoted or hateful.

Casting such stances as "anti-gay" or "anti-LGBT bigotry" is a growing trend on the left. The case of Christian baker Jack Phillips is illustrative. Phillips gladly serves all people who enter his shop, and will sell pastries to LGBT people without a second thought. Yet he routinely turns down requests for him to lend his artistic talents to create special cakes for various occasions he disagrees with, particularly the holiday of Halloween, which is often lucrative for bakers.

When a same-sex couple requested a custom cake for their wedding, Phillips refused due to his religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he had discriminated against the couple on the basis of sexual orientation. Members of the commission compared Phillips' refusal to the abuse of Christianity in Nazi Germany, even though Phillips's own father liberated concentration camps.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phillips, 7-2. Yet a transgender lawyer called to request a custom cake celebrating his gender transition, and Phillips again refused. The commission went after him again. The commission dropped this second case in March. The same transgender lawyer sued Phillips.

Of people like Phillips — who gladly serve LGBT people but will not use their artistic talent to endorse same-sex marriage or gender identity — LGBT megadonor Tim Gill said, "We're going to punish the wicked."

The continued attacks on Phillips and on Chick-fil-A are quite illustrative. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Jack Phillips, LGBT activists find another way to target him. If Chick-fil-A stops funding FRC and other groups, activists will fault it for funding the Salvation Army.

Chick-fil-A is the furthest thing from hateful. The fast food joint gladly serves all kinds of people, and it provides excellent service and delicious food. It does not deserve this kind of demonization, and the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party has supported a "peace deal" with the fast food joint. Perhaps the Brits should consider following Pete Buttigieg: Calm down, and eat some Chick-fil-A!

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.