- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Five years after a gunman stormed the Family Research Council, planning to smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his victims’ faces, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center — the group that the shooter credited with inspiring his attack.

The donation, first reported by Townhall.com, stunned FRC President Tony Perkins, who condemned the Chick-fil-A Foundation Wednesday, saying it was “time for Christians to find a fast food alternative to Chick-fil-A.”

“Not only has Chick-fil-A abandoned donations to Christian groups including the Salvation Army, it has donated to one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America,” Mr. Perkins said in a statement.

In 2012, gunman Floyd Lee Corkins shot building manager Leo Johnson after storming the FRC building in Washington, D.C., carrying 50 rounds of ammunition and a backpack of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. The shooter later told the FBI that he found FRC on the SPLC’s list of “anti-gay groups.”

“The gunman was enraged by the nationwide Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day held two weeks before and used the SPLC’s ‘hate map’ to identify FRC as his target,” Mr. Perkins said.

The left-tilting SPLC lists the FRC and other prominent conservative groups as “hate groups,” lumping them with racist outfits such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation.

Neither [CEO] “Dan Cathy, nor anyone with Chick-fil-A inquired about the well-being of Mr. Johnson or any of the FRC team members, but they made a donation to the SPLC which was linked in federal court to this act of domestic terrorism,” Mr. Perkins said. “Chick-fil-A has seriously lost their way.”

The 2017 Form 990PF shows that the $2,500 donation to the SPLC went to “civic/community programming” in a year that saw the philanthropy donate more than $11 million to charity.

The Washington Times has reached out to the Chick-fil-A Foundation for comment.

The fast-growing, chicken-sandwich chain known for its Christian principles has been accused of bowing to the left with its new “focused approach to giving in 2020,” which resulted in halting funding to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, both longtime recipients of Chick-fil-A donations.

The Christian groups have also been accused of being anti-LGBTQ for their stance in favor of traditional marriage.

“We made multiyear commitments to both organizations, and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018,” a company spokesperson said on Nov. 18. “Moving forward you will see that the Chick-fil-A Foundation will support the three specific initiatives of homelessness, hunger and education.”

Conservative leaders sent a letter Tuesday to Chick-fil-A to reverse its decision on the Salvation Army and other Christian charities, while the foundation has said that its future giving could include faith-based philanthropies.

In May, foundation President Rodney Bullard told Business Insider that the company’s philanthropy arm has a “much higher calling than any political or cultural war that’s being waged.”

“This is really about an authentic problem that is on the ground, that is present and ever-present in the lives of many children who can’t help themselves,” Mr. Bullard said.

Based in Montgomery, Alabama, the SPLC reported revenue of $136 million in 2018, and oversees an endowment of $471 million.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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