Chick-Fil-A isn’t open on Sundays. Since 1946, the fast food chain has been closed on Sundays to allow restaurant employees a day of rest and worship. However, that changed after the Orlando shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub. In the wake of what has since been declared the deadliest mass shooting in American history, Chick-Fil-A employees provided free food to people who were donating blood and to law enforcement officers who were part of the response effort, AL.com reported.
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Many will remember the hot water the franchise found itself in following comments from its president and CEO. In 2012, Dany Cathy, a devout Evangelical Christian, said in an interview with the Baptist Press:
I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.
Sadly, it wasn’t all just talk. An investigation by Equality Matters, a campaign for LBGT rights, found that Chick-Fil-A made over $1.1 million in donations to Focus on the Family and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, organizations known for their anti-LGBT message and the promotion of reparative therapy to “free” people of being gay. All of this resulted in boycott of Chick-Fil-A restaurants.
While this was just one restaurant chain, the ideologies it expressed are all too common. It is this climate which is so hostile to the LBBT community that may be responsible for encouraging the shooter, claim some—like Chase Strangio, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No. #PulseNightclub
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) June 12, 2016
“We have been terrorized by our own culture,” writes Dave Holmes of Esquire, “a culture that will still, in 2016, indulge and coddle one’s anger at two men kissing.”
While it is appreciated, for Chick-Fil-A this small gesture may be too little too late.