The Chick-fil-A day Facebook invitation page set up by Fox radio and TV host Mike Huckabee disappeared for 12 hours starting late afternoon Tuesday, causing some to fear that Facebook had intentionally deleted the page because of contents related to the gay marriage debate.
But Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate, posted a message early morning Wednesday calming fears that there had been foul play. Huckabee wrote around 3 a.m.: "We are back in business! We caught a 12 hour bug, apparently it hits when large numbers of Christians support something and post about it on Facebook!"
As of the time of this article, 129,607 people have confirmed that they will go to Chick-fil-A on August 1 to support the restaurant chain's president Dan Cathy, who has come under intense attack for his recent comments about the family unit.
Cathy told the Biblical Recorder "guilty as charged" when asked about his company's support of the traditional family.
The devout Christian elaborated, "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."
He also said, "We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."
Nowhere in the July 2 Biblical Recorder article does Cathy directly address gay marriage, but it is implied that since he supports traditional marriage, he must be against gay marriage. But on syndicated radio program "Ken Coleman Show" on June 16, Cathy was more direct, saying, "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,'" Cathy said. "And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about."
LGBT activists and supporters have urged people to boycott the chicken sandwich restaurant because of Cathy's "hateful" remarks. In response, Huckabee has rallied his radio listeners to come out in support of Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.
Huckabee writes on his Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page, "The Cathy family, led by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, are a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story."
"It's a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left."
He continues, "The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1."
The possibility that Facebook might have deleted the page was noted by Focus on the Family's advocacy arm, CitizenLink. It stated that the invitation page disappeared from Facebook right about when it hit 100,000 "Likes."
David Huckabee, the son of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, told CitizenLink that, "Just like a magician, it completely disappeared without any explanation whatsoever. We're trying to figure out where it went and what happened to it, and get it restored as quickly as possible."
And a Facebook representative told the FOTF advocacy arm that if the company had deleted the page it was because the "content violated our policies not because of public sentiment."
While the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page has been restored, the older Huckabee posted a new statement today about the controversy: "The Mayor of Boston says he won't allow Chick-Fil-A in Boston. Amazing that a mayor now has the power to stop commerce because he personally disagrees with the PERSONAL views of the CEO of a company."
In addition to the nearly 130,000 people that have committed to going to Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1, another 14,550 said they may go, according to the Facebook invitation page. More than 1 million people have been invited to join in supporting the chicken sandwich restaurant.