‘We’re saddened’: Salvation Army responds to Chick-fil-A funding decision

The nonprofit’s statement says it disputes its reputation as anti-LGBTQ

The Salvation Army serves nearly 23 million Americans each year.

On Monday, Chick-fil-A officials announced they would discontinue their philanthropic investments in two prominent Christian nonprofits: The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. By the afternoon, the Salvation Army had responded, disputing implications that the organization doesn’t support the LGBTQ+ community.

»MORE: Chick-fil-A no longer funding Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes

The Atlanta-based fast food chain has been under pressure for years from LGBTQ advocates to stop funding organizations associated with anti-LGBTQ stances or that supported conversion therapy for the gay community. Just last month, the celebrated chicken chain opened its first location in the United Kingdom. Within a couple of weeks, the location closed after protests and public disapproval.

Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A president and COO, said removing funding from the two organizations, which have had histories of being against gay marriage, would clear the air.

“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Tassopoulos told Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”

The Salvation Army released a statement in response to Chick-fil-A’s decision, which shed light on how of the 23 million homeless and disadvantaged people it serves across the country, many identify as LGBTQ+.

Read the full statement below:

We're saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed. We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population. When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk. We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.

One of the many pieces of mounting evidence against the organization came in 2012, when then-Salvation Army spokesman George Hood said the organization supported gay Christians pursuing celibacy "as a way of life" and further stating "a relationship between same-sex individuals is a personal choice that people have the right to make. But from a church viewpoint, we see that going against the will of God."

In an email interview with Out Magazine, the Salvation Army, which is based in London, said it has implemented reforms to reverse its anti-LGBTQ past.

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