Some campus groups showing support for the company
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
Fallout from homosexual activists’ accusations against Chick-fil-A continues on college campuses across the nation, including a handful in North Carolina where petitions are being circulated to remove the restaurant or curtail the use of its products.
The controversy began when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy confirmed his support for biblical values including the traditional family during an interview with the Cary-based Biblical Recorder. Once the story was reposted on the Baptist Press web site, it was picked up by national media outlets and became a point of contention with gay activists who labeled Cathy a homophobic bigot and called for a boycott of the chain’s 1,600 locations. The strategy backfired as thousands standing up for traditional values and free speech flooded the restaurants on Aug. 1, which was designated Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Now college students and staff, from North Carolina State University, Appalachian State University and other schools in the Tar Heel state are turning to online petitions to try the boot the company, or to show their support for the chicken vendor.
According to www.change.org, where there are nearly two dozen pages of Chick-fil-A related petitions from across the nation, more than 1,600 people had signed an appeal to remove Chick-fil-A from the Atrium Food Court at NCSU. Similarly, some 581 petitioned the chancellor at Appalachian State University in Boone to end its relationship with the company; another 250 or so signed an ouster petition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and 62 called for Duke University to “reconsider anti-gay Chick-fil-A.” Also, after more than 400 people expressed concern about Davidson College’s use of Chick-fil-A sandwiches for its monthly After Midnight food and music event, the college’s Union Board announced it will serve “alternative options” at its events until a formal decision can be made once the board has had face-to-face conversations and gathered more student input.
Organizers of the complaint at Davidson said they were not crusading against Cathy’s personal beliefs, but were concerned about his company’s support of what they termed “anti-gay” causes. Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation, which supports a network of foster homes and camps as well as programs for marriage counseling, has contributed to the Marriage and Family Foundation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Christian Foundation, New Mexico Christian Foundation, Exodus International, Family Research Council and Georgia Family Council, among other organizations.
“Sadly, this is how any organization that espouses Judeo-Christian beliefs or traditional family values is being labeled,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We would certainly hope that university administrators and student body leaders would avoid knee-jerk reactions and remember how they’ve promised tolerance and inclusion. Ousting Chick-fil-A is denying the very diversity that so many institutions of higher learning constantly tout.”
Fortunately, ASU officials announced Aug. 9 that Chick-fil-A would remain on its campus.
“There is nowhere better to facilitate challenging discussions about important issues than a university campus where students are preparing to become the leaders of tomorrow,” read a statement released by the university. “Appalachian respects the right of consumers to make their own thoughtful choices consistent with their values.”
Also encouraging is the fact that some campus groups in North Carolina are calling for Chick-fil-A to remain on campus. Petitions to keep Chick-fil-A in the Atrium at N.C. State have about 222 signatures. A separate petition is asking the University of North Carolina to keep the restaurant at UNC.
”We realize most folks may be tired of hearing about this trumped up controversy involving Chick-fil-A, but we urge Christians not to tune out,” Dr. Creech said. “When it comes to issues of free speech and religion freedom, we must be vigilant to stand up for those who are living out their beliefs.”