Archives For Chick-Fil-A

The Briefing

Legislation would require Illinois schools to teach LGBT history
Legislation pending in Springfield would require a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender section be added to history classes and have school districts ensure textbooks “portray the diversity of our society.” Supporters say the state already has similar rules requiring lessons on African-Americans and other groups. They say a dedicated LGBT history unit would give students greater perspective on instrumental Americans whose stories often go untold.

Illinois Senate approves federal Equal Rights Amendment
The Illinois Senate voted April 11 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, renewing a push from decades ago. The vote came about 36 years after the amendment appeared to die after just 35 states ratified it, three short of what was needed by the 1982 deadline. Still, advocates have pushed for a “three-state solution,” contending Congress can extend the deadline and the amendment should go into effect if three additional states vote in favor.

Sutherland Springs expresses accountability to donors
Donors supporting First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs after the mass murder of 26 worshippers there can be assured of the church’s integrity in handling donations, the church said in an April 12 open letter. The statement comes after concerns related to the use of funds for victim relief have been raised, a spokesman for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) confirmed to Baptist Press on April 13.

Tyndale sued by boy who didn’t come back from heaven
After growing up and retracting his controversial account of “coming back from heaven,” 20-year-old Alex Malarkey is now suing the Christian publisher who made his story famous. Malarkey, who was left paralyzed and spent two weeks in a coma after a 2004 car accident, filed a lawsuit against Christian publisher Tyndale House for associating his name with the controversial book coauthored with his father, “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,” and not paying him for the story.

Is Chick-fil-A a front for a Christian invasion of New York City?
Apparently, Chick-fil-A’s delicious chicken sandwiches and friendly service are all part of an insidious plot to infiltrate New York City on behalf of “Christian traditionalism.” Or at least that’s what a piece published April 13 by The New Yorker seems to argue.

Sources: Chicago Tribune (2), Baptist Press, Christianity Today, Facts and Trends

The Briefing

Housing allowance ruling allows 180 days for appeals
A federal district court judge in Wisconsin, as expected, has entered a final order declaring the minister’s housing allowance unconstitutional. The Dec. 13 order, however, has been stayed for 180 days after all appeals are exhausted, meaning it currently does not have any impact. Observers expect the government to appeal the order by Judge Barbara Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin, who issued her ruling on Oct. 6 following a 2013 ruling she issued that was overturned.

New HHS abortion/contraception mandate rules blocked
In a Dec. 15 ruling, a federal court in Philadelphia blocked enforcement of the Trump administration’s new rules that exempt from the controversial requirement those employers that object based on their religious beliefs or moral convictions. The new regulations issued Oct. 6 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided relief from a rule that requires employers to provide their workers with coverage for contraceptives, including those with mechanisms that can potentially induce abortions.

Johnson Amendment repeal removed from final tax bill
President Donald Trump’s biggest religious freedom policy promise to evangelicals—repealing the Johnson Amendment—will no longer take place via Republican tax reform. Senator Ron Wyden (D) announced Dec. 14 that the repeal included in the House version of the tax bill, which would allow churches and other nonprofits to endorse candidates without losing their tax-exempt status, was removed during the reconciliation process with the Senate version, which did not include a repeal.

Transgender teen suing Palatine school
Eighteen-year-old Nova Maday filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Nov. 30, claiming that Township High School District 211 in Palatine has in the past denied the transgender teen use of the girls’ locker room during physical education class and more recently restricted Maday to an “unspecified private changing area within the locker room,” where no one else is required to dress.

Chick-fil-A performs works of necessity for stranded travelers
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A answered the call from the city’s mayor and came to the rescue Sunday night to help feed thousands of stranded travelers at powerless Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Christian-owned fast-food chain is known for observing the Sabbath by closing its restaurants on Sunday, but it also recognizes that sometimes it is called to perform “works of necessity and mercy” on the Lord’s Day.

Sources: Baptist Press (2), Christianity Today, Chicago Tribune, World Magazine

The Briefing

Here’s where evangelicals are giving the most and least
Giving continues to rise for many categories of ministry, according to new research released today by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). An analysis of the finances of more than 1,800 of its accredited members found a 2.2% rise in cash contributions from 2015 to 2016. This group also saw a 3.6% rise in non-cash giving, which includes income such as government grants or real estate. That adds up to $16.2 billion of giving—$12.6 billion in cash and $3.6 billion in non-cash—to evangelical ministries in 2016.

It’s official: Evangelicals appreciate Chick-fil-A the most
You could say Chick-fil-A is one of those fast-food restaurants with a cult following. But in this case, the closed-on-Sunday chicken sandwich chain clearly has a church following. Evangelicals and fellow Christians have the most positive view of the Chick-fil-A brand, according to Morning Consult’s 2017 Community Impact Ratings. In breakout poll results provided to CT, 62 percent of evangelicals considered Chick-fil-A to have a positive impact on their community, compared to 48 percent of Americans on average.

Former fire chief Cochran’s rights aired in court
A federal court is weighing not only former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran’s right to express his beliefs but the right of others as well, religious liberty advocates say. A federal judge heard arguments Nov. 17 in Atlanta regarding the city’s 2015 firing of Cochran. The city terminated Cochran, now a staff member of a Southern Baptist church, after he wrote a men’s devotional book that advocated in a brief section the biblical view of marriage and sexuality, including that homosexual behavior is immoral.

Iraqi Archbishop pleads with Trump to save 20,000 Christians
The Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, is urging President Donald Trump to help 20,000 Iraqi Christian families that have been driven out of their homes following attacks and dangers from Islamic extremists. Warda said in an interview that 20,000 Iraqi Christian families, or around 100,000 people, still need vital assistance following years of attacks by Islamic radicals and other conflicts.

Church of Sweden to stop using ‘he’ and ‘Lord’
The Church of Sweden has urged its clergy to use more gender-neutral language when referring to God and to avoid referring to the deity as “Lord” or “he”. The move is one of many made by the national Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is in the process of updating a 31-year-old handbook, which outlines how services should be conducted in terms of language, hymns and other aspects.

Sources: Christianity Today (2), Baptist Press, The Christian Post, The Independent

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The national fast food chain landed back in the frying pan in mid-September, when a Chicago alderman announced he had succeeded in changing the company’s mind concerning its support of same-sex marriage.

Joe Moreno, who sparked a national debate this summer when he threatened to block Chick-Fil-A from opening restaurants in his ward because of the company’s views, claimed the chain had promised to no longer give money to groups against same-sex marriage.

But others are calling foul on the alderman’s supposed victory.

“There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-Fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect,” said Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, via former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s website.

“Chick-Fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”

Two things seem to be Moreno’s main issues with Chick-Fil-A: The company’s contributions to organizations that support traditional marriage, like Focus on the Family; and an anti-discrimination policy that Moreno claims Chick-Fil-A has introduced in the aftermath of the summer controversy.

The alderman said Chick-Fil-A agreed to add language “opposing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the company’s employee handbook,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

But Chick-Fil-A’s “Who We Are” document, to which Moreno said the new language would be added, repeats the wording the company used this summer when defending its beliefs and practices. According to a Baptist Press report, Chick-Fil-A’s tradition is to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

The Who We Are document also says Chick-fil-A “supports programs and marriage retreats to help strengthen and enrich marriages,” which more than 4,000 couples attend annually.

According to CNN, Moreno said Cathy”s statement “at the least, muddied the progress we had made with Chick-fil-A and, at the worst, contradicted the documents and promises Chick-fil-A made to me and the community earlier this month.”

The public continues to weigh in on Chick-Fil-A’s Facebook page, posting thousands of comments. Now, it’s your turn:

In your opinion, has Chick-Fil-A done a good job of navigating this summer’s debates over its leader’s views?

Other news:

Supreme Court justice predicts DOMA will appear before Court
Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
a Supreme Court justice since 1993, said in an address at the University of Colorado Law School that the Defense of Marriage Act is likely to go before the nation’s highest court by next year. “I think it’s most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term,” said Ginsburg, according to the Christian Post. Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned DOMA Section 3, which defines marriage in federal law in the traditional sense. Read more at ChristianPost.com.

WMU announces young women’s outreach
(From Baptist Press) National Woman’s Missionary Union is stepping up its ministry to younger women through myMISSION, a new, primarily web-based organization for young adult women engaging in missions. The new organization builds on the website mymissionfulfilled.com that WMU created in 2007 to provide missions discipleship resources to the next generation of young women. The site features missional Bible studies and products, interactive blogs from six young adult women in different stages of life, and articles on such topics as prayer, social justice, time management, money and relationships. Read more at BPNews.net.

LifeWay surveys churches’ Lord’s Supper practices
(From LifeWay Christian Resources) The majority of Southern Baptist churches permit anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ to participate in the Lord’s Supper, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. The survey of 1,066 SBC pastors found 96 percent of their churches allow individuals who are not members of that local church to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Only 4 percent restrict participation to local church members. The survey also revealed that 57 percent of SBC churches observe the Lord’s Supper quarterly. For more findings, go to lifewayresearch.com.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The country’s major political parties will gather for their national conventions in the next two weeks. Republicans, meeting in Tampa Aug. 27-30, take with them into their convention a major unanswered question – who will be Mitt Romney’s running mate? And Democrats, scheduled for Charlotte Sept. 3-6, are poised to make a historic shift on same-sex marriage.

The Democratic Party followed President Barack Obama’s example on same-sex marriage late last month, announcing they’ll add language to their official platform endorsing the legalization of gay marriage.

The announcement, the first of its kind by either major party, came nearly three months after Obama expressed his personal support for same-sex marriage. A recent Pew Research survey found 65 percent of Democrats support same-sex marriage, marking an increase of 15 percent since 2008.

On the other side of the political aisle, Republicans await the announcement of presumptive nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate. Voters – evangelicals in particular – are waiting to see whether public perception of his Mormon faith will affect his choice.

Will Romney choose a vice presidential candidate with stronger evangelical Christian ties than his own? A Barna survey found it may not matter: Of likely voters, only 14 percent said a candidate’s religious faith is one of the most important factors in deciding to vote for him or her. Faith was fifth on the list after position on issues, personal character, the candidate’s political party, and political experience.

To read more about Barna’s findings, including how 12 key issues rank in importance amongst voters, go to barna.org.

Other news:

Platt, Stetzer, Giglio, others on platform at NAMB’s SEND conference
More than 2,000 people attended the North American Mission Board’s SEND North America conference, designed to galvanize leaders toward church planting in urban areas. Speakers including David Platt, J.D. Greear, Ed Stetzer, Johnny Hunt and Louie Gilglio were all on hand to encourage pastors and leaders toward investment in church planting and church revitalization. Chicago and St. Louis are two of the focus cities that will benefit from added ministry partnerships over the next several years. Read more about the conference at namb.net.

(Still) appreciating Chick-Fil-A
Although Chick-Fil-A declined to release exact sales numbers, Wednesday, August 1, was a “record-setting day” for the restaurant chain, according to a news release from the company. More than 600,000 signed up on Facebook for National Support Chick-Fil-A Day. Counter protests from proponents of same-sex marriage – the issue that precipitated Chick-Fil-A Day – are underway, but haven’t yet gathered as much steam, at least on Facebook, as the original event. Read one seminary professor’s defense of why he chose to “eat more chicken” August 1.

Kentucky conference explores Calvinism debate
There is a deep division in the Southern Baptist Convention over Calvinism, said SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page, during a conference hosted by the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “Calvinism: Concerned, Confused, or Curious,” brought together four SBC leaders of varying theology perspectives to discuss what many think is the most important – and potentially divisive – debate in the convention. Read more at bpnews.net.

Olympics: U.S. volleyball captain relies on personal faith
The U.S. men’s volleyball team experienced tragedy four years ago in Beijing, when Coach High McCutcheon’s father-in-law was killed while in China to cheer on the team. Reid Priddy was a member of that squad, who rallied to an emotional gold medal. Now, as team captain, he’s hoping to lead his team back to the top of the podium. Priddy spoke to Baptist Press about his personal faith and how God has used volleyball to mold his character. Read the profile here.

Posted by Meredith Flynn

Waiting customers spilled out into the parking lot at the Chick-Fil-A in Wheaton, Ill., on Wednesday, designated as National Support Chick-Fil-A Day.

If you’re headed to your local Chick-Fil-A, give yourself a few extra minutes. Or maybe half an hour. Or longer.

Americans are flooding into the restaurant chain’s 1,600 locations as part of National Support Chick-Fil-A Day, created by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to counteract negative response the chain has received for its support of traditional marriage and family values.

More than 600,000 people pledged their support for Chick-Fil-A on Facebook through the campaign, which started less than two weeks ago.

Cars were lined up for at least half a mile to wait in the Chick-Fil-A drive-through line in Wheaton, Ill., reported local pastor Jim Rahtjen. He stopped by during the lunch rush and said the line of customers waiting to get inside the restaurant was wrapped around the building, too.

One drive-through customer told Rahtjen she would wait however long it took to order her lunch, because she supports freedom of speech. “Even if I don’t fully support what people are saying, that’s what we’re founded on,” she said.

So, what do you think? If there’s a Chick-Fil-A nearby, are you planning a trip? Do you think financial support (like buying a chicken sandwich) is a beneficial way to support traditional family values? Or do you think the whole thing has caused too much divisive debate? Leave a comment here, or head over to Facebook to vote in our poll.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Archer Jacob Wukie helped the U.S. men’s team earn a silver medal in the London Games.

Jacob Wukie helped propel the U.S. archery team to the country’s first medal (a silver) in the London Summer Games. But the 20-year-old told Baptist Press he’s learned, with successes and failures, the proper place for his identity.

“For me, my worth is in the fact that I am saved. I’m a Christian. I’m in Christ,” Wukie said in an interview just before the Games began. “That’s where my worth comes from. My goal is to glorify God and to do His will.”

Wukie was an alternate in the 2008 Beijing Games but came back this year as one member of the U.S. Men’s archery team, who lost narrowly to Italy in the final match Saturday.

He is one of several athletes competing in London who give God the glory for their talents, and place their faith in him no matter the outcome of these Olympics. Read more athlete profiles, including air rifle shooter Sarah Scherer, diver David Boudia, and soccer player Tobin Heath, at bpsports.net.

IBSA’s Serena Butler and a team of Illinois volunteers are ministering in London during the Olympics. Check back here this week for more of their U.K. adventures.

Other stories:

Church says no to wedding because of couple’s race
A Mississippi church has dredged up long-simmering racial tensions by blocking the wedding of an African American couple. Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson had scheduled their wedding at First Baptist Church, Crystal Springs, but Pastor Stan Weatherford moved the ceremony to another church when members of his congregation protested the wedding because the Wilsons are African American. Weatherford wanted to avoid trouble for the couple on their wedding day, he told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper. “I was just trying to think about a win-win.” Russell Moore, a Mississippi native and professor at Southern Seminary, posted on his blog that because of the state’s violent racial past, Christians in Mississippi ought to lead the way in “biblical reconciliation and revival.” “But that means a lose-win situation,” Moore wrote. “We lose face, we lose ourselves. We seek mercy and a new start. We repent, and don’t just rebrand.” Read more at clarionledger.com; for Russell Moore’s full blog post, go to russellmoore.com.

464,000 sign up to support Chick-Fil-A
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee started a revolution of sorts when he enlisted Facebook users to sign up for Chick-Fil-Appreciation Day, scheduled for Wednesday, August 1. The campaign is in response to opponents of the restaurant chain’s support of traditional family values, which came into renewed focus after Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy told The Biblical Recorder his company supports “the biblical definition of a family unit.” Proponents of same-sex marriage and leaders like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed their outrage, with some calling for boycotts and Emanuel threatening to block Chick-Fil-A from opening stores in Chicago. (He has since admitted such action would be unconstitutional). Go to bpnews.net for more.

On candidates, voters already know what they need to know
A Pew Research Center study found the majority of voters believe they already know as much as they need to know about President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Only 8% of those surveyed said they needed to know more about Obama (90% said they already know enough), and 28% want to know more about Romney (69% know enough).  And for those who want to know more about Romney, the candidate’s religion is low on the list of hot topics: Only 16% said they wanted to know more about his Mormon faith. Read more about the findings at pewforum.org.