Preserving America's Historical Significance

Intolerant Chicken: Chick-fil-a Spices Up Campus Debate

By Brian Jennings
Associate Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church

Taylor Cotter of Northeastern University in Boston spent a year gathering 300 signatures – about 1.5% of the student body – to keep Chick-fil-a off campus. In March, the student senate voted to end negotiations to bring a franchise to Northeastern. The school’s administration supported the senate, saying, “We are proud of the decision that affirms our university’s commitment to be an inclusive, diverse community that is respectful of all.” Chick-fil-a has faced similar opposition at Duke, Bowling Green University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gainesville State College, Indiana University South Bend, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, the University of North Texas, and New York University.

What has Chick-fil-a done to incur such academic wrath? There are few restaurants as friendly and inviting as Chick-fil-a whose employees hand out waffle fries with a smile and a “my pleasure”. The problem these schools have has nothing to do with Chick-fil-a itself but with its charitable affiliations through the WinShape Foundation. The goal of WinShape is to help shape winners. It accomplishes this through a college program, camps, retreats, projects to strengthen marriage, and homes for children who are victims of broken families. Some of the organizations WinShape supports in its mission are accused of having an anti-gay agenda. These organizations include the National Christian Foundation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Serving Marriages, Alliance Defense Fund, Christian Camp and Conference Association, Campus Crusade for Christ, Georgia Family Council, and the Family Research Council.

These offending organizations are labeled anti-gay largely because they remain biblically Christian. According to the Equality Matters Blog, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is bad because they say homosexuality is a sin and dare to allow the testimonials of homosexuals who left the lifestyle.

Chick-fil-a’s problems on campus portray a new reality unfolding in the United States.

First, historic, biblical Christianity is no longer acceptable in many parts of our cultural landscape.

Second, the new “tolerance” is surprisingly intolerant. I wonder if the administration of Northeastern realized the irony of their statement approving the student senate’s decision to end negotiations with Chick-fil-a. They said, “We are proud of the decision that affirms our university’s commitment to be an inclusive, diverse community that is respectful of all.” How can a decision to ban an organization from campus because of its views be considered inclusive, diverse, and respectful? The Win Shape foundation reflects the convictions of millions of American Christians yet those convictions are banned because they are not acceptable to a minority of students and the administration.

Third, America is becoming increasingly polarized. The thought behind this witch hunt is “if you’re not totally for us, then you’re completely against us.”

What can YOU do?  Speak up, vote your convictions, and defend your rights. We live in a democracy where we can influence culture, hearts, and minds.

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