What’s the Connection Between the Horrifying News Out of Uganda and Chick-fil-A?
On March 21st, Uganda’s parliament passed a deeply troubling anti-LGBTQ bill that will criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ and will render certain “homosexual offenses” punishable with the death penalty. Now that the bill has passed in parliament, it remains to be seen if Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will reject it or sign it into existence.
Some may be wondering what this news has to do with Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is not directly responsible for the passage of the anti-LGBTQ bill—but it has contributed to the damaging influence of Christian conservative evangelicals in Uganda.
Chick-fil-A has a long history of funding religious organizations that oppose the LGBTQ+ community. Truett Cathy, who founded Chick-fil-A, started a charitable organization called the WinShape Foundation with his wife, Jeanette Cathy, during their lifetimes. The WinShape Foundation receives almost all of its funding through Chick-fil-A, which has donated millions to the organization over the years. WinShape then uses these funds to support and donate to notorious anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Family Research Council, and the National Christian Foundation (NCF).
Organizations like the NCF have used such funds to send countless Americans to Uganda to spread anti-LGBTQ rhetoric alongside Ugandan ministers.
How Chick-fil-A indirectly funded Uganda’s anti-LGTBQ bill
A viral Tweet from user @sloppyposts was one of the first to call out Chick-fil-A’s connection to Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ bill. The Tweet erroneously refers to the NCF as the National Christian Organization, but it was important in pointing out the NCF’s role in all of this.
The NCF is a massive religious non-profit organization. They have donated and granted over $14.5 billion to various organizations and projects since its establishment in 1982. These funds have included hefty donations to organizations classified as hate groups. From just 2015 to 2017, the NCF was accused of donating $56.1 million to hate groups, the majority of which were anti-LGBTQ. The most notorious organizations they have donated to are the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Foundation, and the International Foundation. The latter two foundations have funded an American religious and political organization called the Fellowship.
In 2009, the Fellowship was revealed to have supported efforts in Uganda to make homosexuality punishable with the death penalty. These early efforts aided in the signing of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in 2014, which was fortunately struck down later that year. This newest bill is essentially an attempt to revive that 2014 bill, which some reporters allege was actually proposed by the Fellowship in the first place.
Essentially, an American-based Christian organization has been rooting for the death penalty for homosexuality in Uganda for over a decade. And Chick-fil-A indirectly funded it.
The problem goes deeper than Chick-fil-A
It’s unclear if Chick-Fil-A has donated to the NCF in recent years, but it is definitely an organization that has received support from the fast-food chain. Meanwhile, the whole situation shows how many individuals—whether they’re customers at Chick-fil-A or donators to some of the largest non-profit religious organizations in the world—don’t always know where their money will end up. The NCF didn’t just fund the Family Foundation and International Foundation. They’ve funded dozens of hate-filled organizations that, in turn, funded even more hate-filled organizations and projects to spread their hatred to other parts of the world.
Civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo summed up the situation well on Twitter. She gave a chilling warning that these organizations aren’t just content to spread their harmful rhetoric in the U.S. They want to truly target every LGBTQ individual across the globe.
A new documentary titled God Loves Uganda has also touched on this situation, describing American Christian conservative evangelicals as an epidemic infecting the country. American evangelists and conservatives are realizing that America is very slowly becoming more resistant to their efforts. America likely isn’t fertile ground for the most anti-LGBTQ legislation in the world, which is why they’re setting their sights on outside countries.
Since all of these non-profit organizations are interconnected and fund each other, it is very difficult to cut off funding from specific groups and projects. When individuals started calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A after the fast-food chain’s funding of anti-LGBTQ groups was publicized, conservatives and Christians flocked to Chick-fil-A’s restaurants in swarms. This resulted in some of the most profitable days in Chick-fil-A’s history. Then, in 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill to protect businesses from any adverse action by the government for their religious beliefs—seemingly even if those beliefs are extreme anti-LGBTQ beliefs.
One can only hope that the majority of these people flocking to Chick-fil-A and laughing at Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ bigotry don’t understand the gravity of the situation. Hopefully, the news of this latest anti-LGBTQ bill from Uganda will tug at their humanity when they learn where their money really went.
(Featured image: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
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