Editor’s note: To read our earlier story, “Chick-fil-A, in nat’l media storm, swims against cultural tide,” click here.
CARY, N.C. (BP) — As debate swirls over comments made by Chick-fil-A’s president, the Biblical Recorder’s editor described many media reports of his conversation with the company’s president as “distorted.”
During a call-in radio interview Thursday (July 19) with WORD-FM in Pittsburgh, K. Allan Blume described his conversation with Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy as “very positive,” unlike how it is being portrayed in a variety of news reports.
Baptist Press re-posted the original story July 16, which was published in the Recorder’s July 7 issue and posted on its website (brnow.org). After Baptist Press re-posted the story, related articles soon surfaced in the Huffington Post, Associated Press, USAToday, Los Angeles Times, Fox News, and other news agencies — some of which ran articles with “anti-gay” in the headline.
Many of those reports “turned [the original story] into a negative,” said Blume, adding the term “anti-gay” never came up in the June interview while Cathy was speaking in the Raleigh, N.C., area.
“He was not saying ‘guilty as charged anti-gay,'” Blume added. “[Cathy] never even brought up that subject. Everything he stated was on the positive side … He never stated anything negative.”
Blume asked Cathy about opposition to the company’s support of the traditional family, and Cathy responded, “Well, guilty as charged.”
In the interview Cathy went on to say, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
Blume expressed his surprise at how standing up for traditional family values in today’s politically correct society has become code for hate speech.
“I don’t understand why that’s a bad thing all of a sudden,” he told the radio hosts. “It was not an anti-gay statement. It was a pro-family statement.”
“Sadly even some religious press organizations have published that as an anti-gay statement.”
Blume added that during their conversation Cathy also said, “We’re a business that serves the public, all people are welcomed into Chick-fil-A, and frankly we do not feel called to weigh in on a lot of social activism that’s taking place as it relates to the definition of the family, but we do definitely want to encourage strong families.”
Blume, who has not been in touch with Cathy or the company since the story was first published, referred to Chick-fil-A as a “class organization.”
“They’re very positive,” he said. “This is basically an All-American organization that’s worked hard and been very successful, and yet, they’re painted to be very anti-American or something worse than that.
“They don’t shut anybody out from their restaurant … they welcome everyone.”
Cathy’s comments in the story have sparked more than 14,000 comments on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page.
While some criticized the company and vowed never to buy a Chick-fil-A sandwich, most comments were supportive. One person wrote, “I love Chick-fil-A for their wonderful food and their great family values!”
“Thank you Chick-fil-[A]!!!,” another person wrote. “It is refreshing to see a company to live out in practice what they believe instead of compromising. We should all learn a lesson on living out our faith in a faithless generation. I liked Chick-fil-[A] before, I’ll try to eat there more often now!”
Shawn Hendricks is managing editor of the Biblical Recorder (brnow.org), newsjournal of the State Convention of Baptists in North Carolina, where this story first appeared.