Right Opinion

Chick-fil-A: Catering to the Liberal Mob

Tony Perkins · Nov. 20, 2019

Most of us who were there on that sunny August day will never forget. For everyone else, there’s a sign: “Above this plaque is a bullet hole. It marks the heroic action taken by Family Research Council employee Leo Johnson on August 15, 2012.” That was the morning Floyd Corkins walked into our lobby and changed FRC forever. He’d bought a gun and learned how to use it. He’d loaded three magazines. In his backpack was a stash of chicken sandwiches that he planned to smear in the faces of staffers he hoped to kill. “They endorse Chick-fil-A,” he said. It would be a “statement against the people who work there.”

Thanks to Leo, it was a statement he never got to make. Fourteen days after someone snapped a picture of our staff smiling over boxes of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, Leo was the only thing standing between Floyd Corkins and an FRC massacre. To a lot of Americans, the company’s decision to walk away from years of biblical truth is upsetting. To us, it’s personal.

In the days and years after that, we never talked publicly about Chick-fil-A’s response to the shooting. Mainly because there wasn’t one. Through all of the press conferences, the trial, and sentencing, I never once picked up the phone or opened my email to a message from someone at headquarters. Not even to ask about Leo. Obviously, Chick-fil-A wanted then what they want publicly now: as much distance from our movement as possible.

That was tough, but we stayed quiet — hoping that if groups like FRC stood beside them, the company Christians had come to love would have the courage to keep living out their values in the public square. And for seven years, they seemed to. Even when the mob turned up the heat, blocking them from airports, cities, and college campuses, Chick-fil-A rode a wave of conservative support to its highest profits ever. They didn’t just survive the LGBT-initiated boycotts — they thrived, doubling sales since the moment liberals decided it was a “controversy” to give to charities like the Salvation Army.

Whole states got involved — protecting Chick-fil-A’s freedom to believe in legislation that was even named after the company. Cabinet members like Secretary Elaine Chao stuck out their necks, promising to investigate the ban in San Antonio’s terminals. Millions of families drove out of their way to stop at Chick-fil-A — not because the chicken was that good, but because their conviction was. If you’re wondering why the backlash is so strong, it’s because the people who held up this company as a model of moral courage were betrayed. Unlike so many others in corporate America, Chick-fil-A was standing on truth and winning. Then, after years of holding the line, they just up and walk off the field, leaving loyal customers holding the bag.

And for what? To prove how “tolerant” they are? To appease them? Well, in case Chick-fil-A hasn’t been paying attention, there is no appeasement. Groups like GLAAD are already demanding more. “In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents.” That’s what this chicken company doesn’t understand. Stand strong, and the bullies will leave you alone. Cave, you’ll be led down a path of complete surrender. They might as well hang out a sign that says, “Under New Management: the Radical Left’s.”

One thing we need to understand is this: Immorality never stands still. It’s constantly on the march for more. That’s the reality of our fallen world. We just want to co-exist, they said. Our relationships won’t affect you, they said. A handful of years later, “affected” doesn’t begin to describe what happens to conservatives who think differently than the totalitarian Left.

“If Chick-fil-A thinks that caving to PC pressure will help them grow as a company, they might to check with the folks over at the Boy Scouts to see how well that strategy works,” Matt Walsh fired back. The Scouts buckled to LGBT activists six years ago, snatching defeat from the jaws of a Supreme Court victory. Now, they’re teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, literally mortgaging away their values with real estate. In what reporters are calling a “desperate move,” the BSA announced Monday that it had put its “crown jewel,” the Philmont Ranch, on the market. Why? Because when you compromise on core principles, your base abandons you, the Left isn’t satisfied, and you’re standing all alone. Chick-fil-A should know that better than anyone. Its president, Tim Tassopoulos, has seen the demise first-hand from his seat on the BSA Advisory Board.

But the worst part of Chick-fil-A’s decision isn’t the damage it does to its own reputation — but to others’. By backing away from two faith-based organizations in the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the third largest fast-food chain just helped legitimize the Left’s labeling of these groups. And they’ve given every other company and celebrity that supports the Red Kettle campaign cover to do the same. The selfishness of that — sacrificing two other Bible-believing groups as acceptable collateral damage — says a lot about where Chick-fil-A is as an organization. (Who would’ve thought that pop star Ellie Goulding, who threatened to back out of the NFL’s halftime show over a Salvation Army drive, would end up being more accepting than a “Christian” fast-food chain?)

Every believer in today’s culture understands the price of standing for truth. Some people more than others. For every company that takes the road of compromise, there are courageous Christians like Aaron and Melissa Klein or David and Tierney Abel, who are willing to give up everything just to stay true to their convictions. They understand that fear is real, but our faith must be too. The world tells us: Don’t rock the boat. Scripture disagrees. Don’t pray for deliverance, the disciples were told. Pray for boldness. God changes the course of human history through people who fear Him, not the intolerant crowd.

Originally published here.

Trump’s Deposit in the West Bank

The Israeli people didn’t vote for Donald Trump, but there isn’t a nation around that’s benefited more from his administration than our Middle East ally. In just three years, he’s managed to keep more promises on Israel than all of the previous presidents combined. He moved the embassy, recognized their sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and according to Secretary Mike Pompeo, he’s nowhere close to done.

In an announcement that has apparently “been in the works for months,” the State Department has decided to overturn a 41-year view that the Israeli settlements on the West Bank are “illegal.” “We agree with President Reagan,” Secretary Pompeo explained. “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”

Caroline Glick, a columnist at Israel Hayom, agreed. Late Monday night, she joined “Washington Watch” from the Holy Land and explained what this change will mean. “In many ways,” she said, “it’s actually more significant than moving the embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” Why? “Because the Jerusalem Embassy Act was law since 1996–and every presidential administration since then had to justify not moving the embassy. But that was official American policy. As for the Golan Heights, that was very significant. Don’t get me wrong… But it wasn’t really being disputed by the United States in recent years. On the other hand, the legal status of Israeli communities [in] the West Bank has really been the core of the defamation campaign against Israel since the Carter administration since the 1970s. And it’s the leading reason or justification that the E.U. and the U.N. and others use to discriminate against Israel and Israeli Jews in the name of the rule of law or international law, even though there’s no basis in international law for the claim that Israeli communities in these areas are illegal.”

As far as she’s concerned, the fact that President Trump has made this move suggests that he understands the situation in the Middle East better than most. “[He’s said], ‘I want American policy in the Middle East and throughout the world to be based on the world as it is — not on some sort of imaginary world in the heads of so-called self-appointed foreign policy experts. And the idea of basing American policy towards the Palestinians and towards Israel on a lie that says that Israeli communities built outside of the 1949 armistice lines — in the cradle of Jewish civilization in Judea and Samaria are illegal — is not going to advance the cause of any peace treaty. You can’t base peace, real peace on a lie. And that is the lie.”

The new Trump policy also helps undermine the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. If you’re unfamiliar, the BDS movement is a lot like what took place in Nazi Germany leading up to WWII. In 1933, the German government launched Judenboykott, a boycott of Jewish stores and shops designed to not only to hurt the Jewish community economically but to stigmatize and delegitimize the Jewish people. The BDS movement has the same effect — only it’s an international effort targeting the state of Israel.

For years, the BDS movement has been done in the name of the Palestinians, attempting to force Israel to give up their land in the eastern portion of the country, Judea, and Samaria. They use the settlements, Caroline explained, “like a gateway drug for boycotting Israel and denying that Israel has a right to exist — because there’s really no distinction in the eyes of the BDS people between the so-called settlements that were built on lands outside of the 1949.”

Back during the Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. forced Israel to stop building in the West Bank — and that created a serious crisis for a lot of people. “Just on a practical level,” Caroline pointed out, “housing prices in Israel have gone much faster than the cost of living index. And so, you know, young couples who are starting out have a very difficult time buying houses… [So] this also has direct implications for the Israeli economy.”

It also has direct implications for President Trump’s legacy. As Christians, we applaud the administration for being a great friend to the Jewish people — and keeping yet another promise that shows: America stands with Israel.

Originally published here.

'The Situation Was a Powder Keg. So They Prepared.’

It’s one of the most disturbing and elaborate cover-ups every attempted: millions of innocent people “vanishing” in the Chinese night. How do you explain to students coming home for a school break that they’re parents are missing — locked away in a Uyghur concentration camp, never to return? Simple. According to pages of leaked documents from deep within the Chinese communist state, you lie.

It was a “powder keg,” Chinese officials worried. Countless students boarding planes and airplanes to come home to their families, only to find empty houses. “So,” the New York Times explains, “they prepared.” A top-secret, 400-page guide was distributed by authorities on how to “handle [students’] anguished questions, beginning with the most obvious — ‘Where is my family?’”

Louisa Greve, director of global advocacy for the Uyghur Human Rights Project, had a hard time reading through it all. “It’s really very chilling,” she told listeners of Monday’s “Washington Watch.” “There are detailed scripts because local officials would be facing distraught teenagers… If they ask, did my parents commit any crime? The officials were told to say, ‘No… However, they were infected with a religious disease and need to be re-educated.’ And the scripts go much further. They basically threaten these young people. ‘If you stay quiet, it will be better for your family.’”

Most people who’ve followed the harrowing story of the Uyghurs in China are no longer surprised by the ruthlessness of the People’s Republic. What they are surprised by is the moral conviction growing inside the government’s ranks that this systematic imprisoning of innocent people is wrong. And they’re willing to risk their lives proving to the world that it’s happening.

In some places, Louisa says, “People were simply taken away. No due process, no notification to the family. As you know, China has no rule of law, no human rights, certainly no lawyer… [W]e’ve had testimony from witnesses who say routinely people have a black hood put over their head and [are hauled] away — whether it’s at the customs, at the airport, or if they’re taken away from their home or office. And then [comes the] systematic torture.” If anyone asks, they’re told these men and women are taken away to “job training centers,” which is ridiculous. These are educated people who have been successfully operating businesses in in other professions for years. They don’t need vocational help.

But to many people, it’s a sign of hope that these papers were even released. At least in some corners of the country, this round-up isn’t sitting well with Chinese officials. In fact, Louisa points out, there’s a 12-page report included in this set of documents about one man in the government “who apparently was concerned that the targets were unrealistic. He would never be able to round up that many people and keep them locked away. And secondly, it would cause his region’s economic growth numbers to go down because the working age people would be taken away from their businesses and would not be able to work in in the local industries and government offices.” A whopping 12,000 party officials have been investigated for “displaying insufficient zeal in carrying out the policy.” So obviously, not everyone is like America’s NBA — willing to go along with a brutal and dehumanizing policy.

It’s Louisa’s prayer — and ours — that the more people learn about these atrocities, the angrier the world will get. At some point, maybe corporations from the U.S. and other countries will grow a spine and refuse to do business with China. Otherwise, they’re complicit — which is exactly what FRC’s new ad warns against. Take a minute to watch it, and then share it with your friends.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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