The campaign to destroy Chick-fil-A has returned.
When last we visited the controversy in April, several U.S. cities and colleges were attempting to keep the popular restaurant out of their airports and off their campuses.
The hubbub bubbled up at the time because public comments that Chief Operating Officer Dan T. Cathey made in 2012 opposing same-sex marriage were resurrected. Later that year, the company released a statement saying that "our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and the political arena."
This time it's because a hoax that Chick-fil-A supports anti-gay death penalty laws in Uganda went viral. And, perhaps, because Snopes, a left-wing, fact-checking website, rated the claim's truthfulness as "mixed."
That is hardly the case.
In Uganda, a high-ranking government official recently announced support for use of the death penalty for those guilty of homosexual acts. However, it's not certain such a bill will be introduced or whether it will include the death penalty as part of any punishment.
In the meantime, tweets such as the following were made: "Today Uganda announced a bill to legalize murdering gay people. National Christian Organization paid a preacher to go to Uganda and help their lawmakers with the bill. Chick-fil-a funds National Christian Org. If you eat at Chick-fil-a, this is what your money goes to."
The tweet was shared on the far-left Facebook page The Other 98%, which has some 6 million followers. The truth already had been seriously frayed. Then, on Twitter, a similar false tweet received some 118,000 likes and more than 57,000 retweets. Now the truth lay in tatters.
This is too often, sadly, how misinformation in the guise of news is spread today.
The rest of the story goes like this: Chick-fil-A's owners through a separate foundation — not the company itself — in the past donated to the National Christian Foundation (NCF), the eighth largest nonprofit in the America. That organization works with various Christian charitable groups, a tiny percentage of which associate with anti-gay ministers in Uganda. But those ministers are not necessarily connected to the possible legislation, a fact which even Snopes admits.
"[I]t's not clear to what extent National Christian Foundation-funded entitles were involved in the creation or promotion of a bill to make homosexuality punishable by death," the fact-checking site writes.
So, there is no connection to the chicken-cooking restaurant, and even a connection from the family foundation to a potential Uganda law cannot accurately be made.
Yet, Snopes, which lays out the above material as we have but in more detail, concluded that "a real and substantive connection does exist between the funding by the WinShape Foundation (the family's foundation, which is not the company) and the activities of NCF-backed groups and individuals in Uganda (of which there is no connection to the bill).
With that, other pro-LGBT websites took the bait, with one headlining its report "Chick-fil-a responsible, in part, for attempting to kill gays in Uganda."
Truth or Fiction, a different fact-checking website that describes itself as "nonpartisan," came to another conclusion, saying "the connection drawn here was outdated, the group in question (which it believed to be Exodus International instead of the National Christian Foundation) was defunct, and the connection to the Ugandan death penalty was misleading on several fronts."
The Daily Caller News Foundation went further, reviewing WinShip's tax returns between 2019 and 2017 (the most recent year available) and finding that it stopped donating to the NCF after 2011.
Thus, the report was complete bunk.
The officials who run Chick-fil-A, its family foundation and its charitable arm are unapologetically Christian and support pro-marriage and pro-family organizations. It's a shame that because of their traditional beliefs the company would become the target of false and misleading information in an effort to drive people away from its restaurants.
Just as bad is that a fact-checking website with what at one time was a good reputation has become a party to such incorrect details.
The upside for the country's third-largest fast-food restaurant is that each time controversy swirls around it — with little or no truth attached — more customers seem to flock to it.