A group of conservative Christians in Texas are taking a stand for their favorite fast-food chain, urging lawmakers to support two bills that would prohibit the government from penalizing business owners on grounds of religious faith.
Members of Texas Values united for a “Save Chick-fil-A Day” protest at the Texas state Capitol building in Austin on Wednesday, just weeks after the San Antonio City Council blocked the expansion of the chicken-centric chain into the city airport. Council members cited the company’s alleged “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior” and million-dollar charitable donations to organizations that have come under scrutiny regarding their stance on LGBTQ issues.
The Texas attorney general has since opened an investigation regarding whether the city of San Antonio “violated Chick-fil-A’s religious liberty” in making that decision.
Texas Values — whose mission is to “preserve and advance a culture of family values in the state of Texas” and vision is to “stand for biblical, Judeo-Christian values by ensuring Texas is a state in which religious liberty flourishes, families prosper, and every human life is valued,” according to their web page — has previously opposed “greater rights” for the LGBTQ community in Texas, Dallas News reports.
“This egregious attack follows a growing trend of anti-Christian intolerance and bigotry by the government against Christians for simply living out their faith and holding to the biblical truth about marriage and sexuality,” reps for the group wrote on their Facebook page of the “Save Chick-fil-A” event. “No Texas business or individual should ever be punished for practicing their faith.”
“This Legislature — this House and this Senate — has an opportunity to hold the San Antonio City Council accountable and make it clear that you should not discriminate based on religious beliefs," Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz said of the occasion, as per the Dallas News. "Save Chick-fil-A and help us support religious freedom."
Texas Values also called for advocates to dine at their local Chick-fil-A to support the crusade, which some documented on social media, on behalf of the “God-honoring company,” according to one proponent.
“Supporting Chick fil A with a nice cold sweet tea... I do not think any business should be unable to rent space in a Texas airport, or anywhere for that matter, because of their Christian values,” another wrote on Instagram. “America was built on moral Christian values!!!”
Later on Wednesday, the Texas House State Affairs Committee took public testimony on two bills from North Texas politicians.
House Bill 1035 from Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) would protect county clerks, judges and marriage-related businesses from government discrimination in turning away same-sex couples. House Bill 3172 from Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) would bar the government from punishing an individual for actions related to religious or moral principles – though it would still be illegal to discriminate on grounds of race or sex, within parameters of current Texas and federal laws.
The “Save Chick-fil-A Day” protest was not organized or promoted by the restaurant in any way, as per Texas Values.
When contacted for comment, an official with Chick-fil-A Inc. reiterated that the company has no connection to Texas Values or the legislation they are supporting, and offered the following statement on the story:
“Chick-fil-A did not organize the event referenced, and we are not involved with the proposed bills in any way. We are a restaurant company focused on food and hospitality for all, and we have no social or political stance,” the official said. “We are grateful for all our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. We welcome and embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
On a national level, Chick-fil-A was also, notably, was banned from opening up shop in Buffalo Niagara International Airport and at Rider University over similar concerns regarding the company’s alleged “anti-LGBTQ rhetoric” and attitudes in recent months, as well.