Christianity,  Culture

Dan Cathy befriends leading gay activist opponent

Shane Windmeyer is the founder and executive director of Campus Pride, a gay activist group that has spearheaded a national campaign against Chick-fil-A for the millions of dollars it donated to pro-family organizations. Windmeyer’s work is deeply personal for him as he himself is a homosexual and “married” to another man.

Last year, the owner of Chick-fil-a Dan Cathy reached out to Windmeyer. Nothing public. Just private conversations over the phone that led to several meetings and culminated in Cathy inviting Windmeyer to be his guest on the sideline at the recent Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

None of this was public until yesterday. Windmeyer revealed the unlikely friendship in a fascinating article for the Huffington Post. By Windmeyer’s own account, it’s clear that Cathy has been reaching out to him not as a publicity stunt or as a manipulative ploy. Cathy’s outreach has been an outgrowth of his Christian faith. Windmeyer writes:

Throughout the conversations Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level. He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family, even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being “a follower of Christ” more than a “Christian.” Dan expressed regret and genuine sadness when he heard of people being treated unkindly in the name of Chick-fil-a — but he offered no apologies for his genuine beliefs about marriage.

And in that we had great commonality: We were each entirely ourselves. We both wanted to be respected and for others to understand our views. Neither of us could — or would — change. It was not possible. We were different but in dialogue. That was progress.

I have to give credit to Windmeyer. It is a risky thing for him to reveal this friendship. He will come under withering criticism from those in his own community for this. Indeed, it’s already happening (see here).

I think it would be worth your time to read the rest of this article. What Cathy has done here is truly commendable. Will this make the activist wing of the LGBT community more friendly to Cathy and Chick-fil-a? No, it will not. But it does go a long way to blowing up the caricature that says Christians “hate” gay people. On the contrary, Cathy treated this man with respect and honor, and his love did not go unnoticed—at least by Windmeyer. Maybe others will notice as well (Matt. 5:16; 22:39; John 13:35).


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