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Some Fighting Illini are battling to block the opening of a new fast-food franchise on the University of Illinois campus. A collection of students, faculty and staff contend Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A embraces a corporate culture that is “anti-gay” and doesn’t match the diversity of the university’s environment.
Recently, student government members at the University of Illinois Springfield tabled supporting a proposal to bring a Chick-fil-A restaurant to its campus.
Equality Matters reports that Chick-fil-A’s WinShape foundation, the company’s charitable arm, has donated between $1.3 million and $1.6 million to pro-family groups between 2003-08. In 2009 alone, it contributed $2 million to organizations such as Exodus International, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
“At Chick-fil-A, we have a genuine commitment to hospitality for all of our guests,” Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, said in a media statement. “We are not ‘anti- anybody’ and have no agenda, policy or position against anyone as some continue to confuse with misleading reports. Instead, we have a 65-year history of providing hospitality for all people and, as a dedicated family business, serving and valuing everyone regardless of their beliefs or opinions.”
The chain that serves up chicken sandwiches and various other items has received widespread support from the evangelical Christian community over the years. Many Christians appreciate its mission “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” as well as its commitment to keeping the stores closed on Sundays.
It’s these values that keep many Christians coming back for more.
“I love Chick-fil-A and will continue to support it as long as they hold true to their biblical values,” said David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute.
Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog co-editor, believes the food chain could see more confrontation as it tries to grow beyond the Bible belt in the Deep South.
“Considering Chick-fil-A’s conservative Christian mission, perhaps the most striking feature of the recent controversy is how unusual it is for the company,” wrote Gilgoff. “As the chain continues to grow, they may find it more difficult to avoid the culture war.”
The University of Illinois isn’t the only school to attempt blocking the chain’s expansion efforts. Students at Northeastern University have blocked the company from opening a restaurant on its Boston campus, citing the chains financial support of pro-family rights organizations.
There are 14 Chick-fil-A restaurants in Illinois. Please consider supporting their Christian mission by voting with your wallet.
In Aurora @ 4435 Fox Valley Center Dr Aurora, IL 60504
In Bloomington @ 1 State Farm Plz Bloomington, IL 61710
In Carbondale @ 1255 Lincoln Dr Carbondale, IL 62901
In Charleston @ 600 Lincoln Ave Charleston, IL 61920
In Chicago @ 30 E Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60611
In Edwardsville @ University Ctr Edwardsville, IL 62026
In St. Clair @ 281 Saint Clair Sq Fairview Heights, IL 62208
In Lombard @ 717 E Butterfield Rd Lombard, IL 60148
In Moline @ 4500 16th St Moline, IL 61265
In Orland Park @ 15605 S La Grange Rd Orland Park, IL 60462
In Schaumburg @ 935 E Golf Rd Schaumburg, IL 60173
In Urbana @1401 W Green St Urbana, IL 61801
In Wheaton @ 301 E Loop Rd Wheaton, IL 60189