Salvation Army leaders said Monday that they are “saddened” by Chick-fil-A’s decision to stop donating to the charitable organization, arguing that the 154-year-old group has been the target of misinformation regarding its stance on LGBT individuals.
Chick-fil-A, which has also faced years of criticism from LGBT activists, announced this week that its foundation would give money to a smaller number of charities, focusing exclusively on education, homelessness, and hunger.
The decision comes as Chick-fil-A is seeking to open more restaurants and expand its geographical reach, encountering mounting resistance from activists in the process. As a result, it has cut ties with several Christian organizations, including the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as well as a number of Christian schools.
“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,” the organization said in a statement Monday afternoon.
The Salvation Army said that it serves more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the queer community. The group said that it believes it is “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.”
Known for its Christmas-season bell ringers soliciting donations on city street corners, the Salvation Army has faced criticism from LGBT activists for years. But the attacks have increased in recent days after singer Ellie Goulding threatened to withdraw from a planned Thanksgiving halftime performance that was to serve as the start of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign fundraising drive, unless the group pledged to support the LGBT community.
The singer eventually made amends with the Salvation Army and is set to perform during the match between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.
“We’d like to thank Ellie Goulding and her fans for shedding light on misconceptions and encouraging others to learn the truth about The Salvation Army’s mission to serve all, without discrimination,” the organization said in a statement.
“We applaud her for taking the time to learn about the services we provide to the LGBTQ community. Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, we’re committed to serving anyone in need.”
A spokesperson for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News.