Billy Graham And Chick-fil-A? Who Is Right?
Do You Support Chick-fil-A?
In a segment on Friday with MSNBC weekend show host Melissa Harris-Perry, Thomas Roberts, one of the daytime news anchors for MSNBC, took aim at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Facebook page calling for a "Chick-fil-A appreciation day", saying if you’re for gay marriage, and you go to Chick-Fil-A that day, "you’re a chicken-eating Judas".
"You’re a chicken-eating Judas" – Thomas Roberts, MSNBC
Thomas, who is vocal in his support for same-sex marriage, said, "So Mike Huckabee says that Aug. 1 should be Chick-fil-A appreciation day, asking people to go out there and support them that day", Roberts said. "So if you like marriage equality and you’re for marriage equality, and you go there that day — you’re a chicken-eating Judas. That’s what I’m telling you".
Evangelist Billy Graham, has been among the top 10 of USA Today/Gallup poll’s annual most admired people in the world list more than fifty times!
Graham, 93, has preached to untold millions over six decades, and provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents.
And Graham issued a statement Thursday in support of Chick-fil-A’s owners and their public stance on marriage.
Graham called Chick-fil-A’s founder Truett Cathy and his son and company president Dan Cathy "good friends" whom he has known for many years. And he applauded the Cathys for being able to grow their family-owned chicken sandwich restaurant without "compromising their values".
* In less than 50 years, Chick-fil-A has expanded to more than 1,600 stores and had over $4 billion in sales last year.
"Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God’s word",
said Graham, who is sometimes called the pastor to presidents for his close relationships with U.S. commander-in-chiefs.
"I appreciate the Cathy family’s public support for God’s definition of marriage".
Supporting The Traditional Family
The controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A and gay marriage began earlier this month after the Biblical Recorder published an article in which Cathy said he was "guilty as charged" when asked about his company’s support of the traditional family.
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, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that".
Gay activists were up in arms about Cathy’s clearly-stated support for the traditional family unit, which implies he is against the redefinition of marriage to include two people of the same sex. Hollywood actors, elected officials, and individuals have called for a combination of personal and government boycotts of Chick-fil-A.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has also come out in support of the Aug. 1 appreciation day.
Billy Graham, the dean of American evangelists, once again broke his usual silence on hot-button issues, defending the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain for his opposition to same-sex marriage days after issuing a letter decrying what he sees as the nation’s moral decay.
Earlier this year, the ailing preacher publicly endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay unions in North Carolina, raising eyebrows among many who’d watched Graham studiously avoid thorny social issues for years.
On Thursday, he issued a statement of support for the popular fast-food chain.
Many people have slammed Chick-fil-A President Don Cathy for saying his company backs the traditional family unit and is opposed to same-sex marriage.
Graham praised restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy and son Don Cathy, the company’s president, "for their strong stand for the Christian faith".
"I’ve known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values",
The Chick-fil-A controversy reflects what many see as America’s deep cultural and religious divide. The company’s position on same-sex marriage doesn’t sit well with Jim Henson Co., whose Jim Henson’s Creature Shop toys have been served in Chick-fil-A’s meals for children.
Jim Henson Co. is named for the creator of The Muppets.
However, the company transferred The Muppets’ rights and ownership to the Walt Disney Co. in 2003, according to Jim Henson Co.
"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over 50 years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors",
the company said in a posting on its Facebook page.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is backing Chick-fil-A.
He urged people to turn out to Chick-fil-A restaurants on Wednesday to show their support for what Cathy had to say about marriage.
Graham says he appreciated Huckabee’s leadership and plans to visit a Chick-fil-A on that day, August 1.
"Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God’s word. I appreciate the Cathy family’s public support for God’s definition of marriage".
On Tuesday, Graham leveled deep criticism at the United States and he compared the country to Sodom and Gomorrah, the Biblical cities synonymous with sin.
"Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle",
Graham wrote in the open letter released by his organization this week.
He blasts what he sees as efforts to keep references to Jesus out of the public sphere.
"Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone, except God. Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control",
he wrote in the letter released Tuesday.
His open letter also contains a fund-raising appeal and a notice that Graham’s son Franklin, himself a major evangelical figure, is launching a new effort to,
"bring the Gospel into neighborhoods and homes in every corner of America next year".
Randall Balmer, the chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College, suspects the motivation for the letter is at least partly political.
"It’s hard for me to believe that this letter does not have political intent",