Conservative Christians have launched a Change.org petition demanding that fast food chain Chick-fil-a account for its support of a “Christian LGBT film festival.”
David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement wrote Monday that a Chick-fil-a patron named Steven Policastro created the petition in the mistaken belief that the corporation has donated money to the Level Ground film festival.
However, as the Advocate reported, the Level Ground donation came from a Nashville, TN Chick-fil-a franchise owner, not the national company.
“We, the undersigned concerned patrons of Chick-fil-A, are writing to corporate headquarters in order that we might bring the following to your attention,” Policastro’s petition reads.
“Per our research and findings, Chick-fil-A is a sponsor of ‘On Level Ground’ (www.OnLevelGround.org) which is ‘a movement’ that ‘creates space for dialogue about faith, gender, and sexuality through the arts.'”
“In light of these findings, we ask that Chick-fil-A issues an official response regarding this sponsorship, along with any statement your team feels is necessary to clarify Chick-fil-A’s corporate stance regarding previously stated Christian values on marriage and stewardship,” the petition continued.
Chick-fil-a as a corporation has a history of donating funds to anti-LGBT rights groups, workplace discrimination and corporate Christian activism. After a spate of bad publicity during the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, CEO Dan Cathy announced that the company would be lowering its profile with regards to cultural activism.
A representative of Chick-fil-a told Eater — Vox’s food-oriented blog, which first pointed out that the Chick-fil-a logo appeared in a list of sponsors for the Level Ground Film Festival — that franchises are autonomous when it comes to their endorsements and “The operators make decisions on local sponsorships.”
Nonetheless, as Badash noted, “Conservative media outlets are sharing in the petition creator’s outrage.”
“SHOCK AS IT’S REVEALED CHICK-FIL-A IS SPONSORING A ‘CHRISTIAN’ LGBT FILM FESTIVAL,” reads one headline. “The LGBT Mafia is making a full-court press for their case that God accepts actively, out of the closet homosexuals and homosexuality,” the article reads, calling Level Ground a “Sodomite film festival.”
“Why Is Pro-Marriage Chick-fil-A Sponsoring an LGBT Film Festival?,” asks another.
“Media Mum? Chick-fil-A Drifting Away from Traditional Values, Toward Gay Agenda,” charges a third.
A similar misbegotten controversy arose last year when a Hollywood, California Chick-fil-a franchise owner hosted a fundraiser to fight bullying and make campuses safe for LGBT students.