More than 60 leaders of Christian and pro-family organizations signed a letter extending their support for Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy and his biblical position on family.
"We represent some of the largest policy and faith-based organizations in the country, and we are encouraging our members to 'eat mor chikin,'" the joint letter dated Aug. 6 states.
Cathy sparked national debate last month when he expressed his support for "the biblical definition of the family unit" in an interview with a Baptist publication, the Biblical Recorder. The Chick-fil-A COO also stated in a separate interview that he believes America is "inviting God's judgment ... when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"
The fast-food chain faced backlash as many in the LGBT community accused it of spreading "hate" and of discrimination. Gay marriage supporters were urged to boycott the restaurant, which has more than 1,600 locations throughout the country. A same-sex "kiss-in" was staged last week at Chick-fil-A restaurants. Some elected officials also threatened to block the chain from opening a restaurant in their cities.
But as swiftly as the protests came so did the support, much of it from the Christian community. Hundreds of thousands of people showed up for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, organized by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, on Aug. 1 in support of Cathy's traditional marriage stance, the restaurant and free speech. It was a record-setting sales day for the chicken restaurant, according to Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing.
Chick-fil-A has pulled itself out of the policy debate and affirmed that its culture and tradition is to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
Cathy also commented last month, "I'm keeping the main thing, the main thing. Chick-fil-A is about great food, great service and genuine hospitality for all."
But the company continues to face protest. The Civil Rights Agenda, a Chicago-based gay rights advocacy group, recently filed multiple complaints against Chick-fil-A, accusing the chain of having an "intolerant corporate culture" that "violates the Illinois Human Rights Act."
Today, the LGBT community is also responding to Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day with a Starbucks appreciation day called National Marriage Equality Day. Starbucks offers same-sex partner benefits.
In a note of encouragement to Cathy, Christian leaders including Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the Hispanic Evangelical Association, and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission commended the Chick-fil-A president for his faithfulness to biblical values.
"As you are likely aware, biblical values and companies that support them are under attack. It is incredibly important for successful men like you, representing a national brand, to unapologetically stand for God's truth as revealed in the Scriptures," they wrote in their letter. "The example of Chick-fil-A and your leadership has encouraged many.
"We hope and pray that you receive the blessings of the Lord for your faithfulness. You and Chick-Fil-A are in our thoughts and prayers."