Evangelical leader, Rev. Billy Graham has lent his voice to the chorus speaking out in defense and support of Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
“The restaurant chain has been, and continues to be, under a concerted attack from same-sex marriage advocates,” Graham wrote in a statement issued Wednesday. “I applaud the courage of Cathy and Chick-fil-A to take a bold stand for the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman in a culture that has grown openly hostile to the Christian faith and its followers.”
The company, which was known to donate to pro-marriage efforts, has been under heavy fire from gay-marriage advocates since last week, when Cathy gave his explicit endorsement of traditional marriage.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” he told Baptist Press. “We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”
His comments have resulted in boycotts from gay marriage activists, Boston Democratic Mayor Thomas Menino has said he will not allow the chain in the city (Menino backed off from that goal Thursday afternoon, according to The Boston Herald), and The Jim Henson Company ended its relationship with the company.
“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over 50 years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,” the company posted on its Facebook page. “Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.
Graham praised restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy and his son Don Cathy for their adherence to Christian values in the company’s establishment and operation. He further encouraged people to join former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in his call to support the company on August 1 in a National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
“I would like to join with him, and ask that, if you live near one of their restaurants please drop by and let them know how much you appreciate them and their stand,” Graham added.
Graham’s words of support for the restaurant chain came a day after he lamented America’s moral downfall, comparing it to Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone—except God,” he wrote Tuesday. “Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control.”