Most will have forgotten or be ignorant of the firestorm that erupted on Patch in a piece titled: “Stockton Student Senate to Send Letter of Resolution Asking Chick-fil-A to Leave Campus,” back on 20 November 2012. Allow me to refresh your memory.
There was a lot of heat in the article, but very little light…aka – truth, including the subsequent vehemence directed toward Chick-fil-A and anybody who disagreed with the “Letter of Resolution” by the Stockton Student Senate. The chief protagonists seemed to be mainly a Napa Valley Patch reader and secondly a local Patch editor, Matt Skoufalos. Truthfully, Matt dropped out early and the banner was carried forward by the reader, who was relentless. Eventually he wore me out by the sheer volume of correspondence, most of it one-sided. So, let’s attempt to set things straight.
In the wake of all the brouhaha that erupted after Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy, stated that “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy became the latest targets of those who accuse someone of something right before they turn the tables and perpetrate against them that exact behavior they claim raised their ire. In fact, neither Mr. Cathy or Chick-fil-A denied any homosexual his or her human or civil rights, service at any Chick-fil-A establishment, or employment if found fit for a job. But that did not matter because there were those who would dig until they found something. And eventually something was found that would serve the purpose.
In November of 2012, the student senate at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey passed a resolution by the bare minimum required (14 votes) to petition the college president to investigate the possibility of breaking a legal contract that the college signed with an on-campus Chick-fil-A to provide food services and additionally to ask the (privately owned) Chick-fil-A to leave the campus. The student senate vote was not representative of the student body’s inclinations because 66 percent of approximately 1,600 students who participated in a survey wanted Chick-fil-A to stay. So much for the desires of the students; the whole fiasco was driven by a radical contingent.
The charge went like this: Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, had donated to the Family Research Council (FRC). It was alleged that FRC had lobbied against a congressional resolution that would denounce Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. This was a ridiculous and specious charge that could never be proven and never was. FRC was never in favor of killing homosexuals and to suggest such a thing was intellectually dishonest, not that that would matter.
Well, things have taken a different turn. Shane Windmeyer, co-founder and executive director of Campus Pride, the only national organization for student leaders and campus organizations working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students, has met with, dialoged with, and become a friend of Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A. World Magazine reported the story here.
Dan Cathy initiated the relationship with Shane Windmeyer. The two became friends after a number of phone calls, texts, and in-person meetings. Shane Windmeyer reported in his Huffington Post column that although he and Dan Cathy did not see eye to eye on the subject of same-sex marriage that they were able to connect on a personal level.
Shane Windmeyer found Mr. Cathy to be highly personable and genuinely concerned about his life and family. The friendship that developed between the two helped Mr. Windmeyer to gain appreciation for Mr. Cathy’s commitment to Jesus Christ.
All of this led to Mr. Cathy sharing Chick-fil-A’s 2011 IRS 990 form with Shane Windmeyer and Chick-fil-A’s 2012 financials and thus revealed to Mr. Windmeyer that, whatever the truth about what the FRC did or didn’t do, Chick-fil-A had not contributed to any such groups in the past two years. Chick-fil-A, in fact, had focused its charitable giving to youth and education, leadership and family enrichment, and serving local communities. Chick-fil-A had stayed away from political or social agendas in its giving.
Given this revelation, I wonder what the reader and Mr. Matt Skoufalos have to say now and whether they owe Chick-fil-A an apology? Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath.
So, what of Mr. Windmeyer? Shane Windmeyer is not very popular with his old friends right about now. He has been accused, in fact, of reversing his position and, essentially, selling out. But that’s not what really happened. Mr. Windmeyer is still as committed as ever to forwarding LGBT issues. The truth, however, cannot be ignored and I congratulate Shane Windmeyer for being courageous enough to stand for truth no matter where it led and what the cost.
So, what of all the accusations and misrepresentations that Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A were so hateful of homosexuals that they were in support of seeing them killed? Well, it’s just not true but that doesn’t matter now because the commenters made their point and moved on and the truth might be just too much to deal with; although that's what Shane Windmeyer did. Besides, it might not fit the agenda of either the reader or Mr. Skoufalos.
Seriously, why can’t we all just get along?