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).

19 Responses to Dan Cathy befriends leading gay activist opponent

  1. Andy Moffat January 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    This is what it means to put feet under your faith, to live out what you believe, and be salt and light. I hope Cathy is not castigated by other believers for doing this. After all, we do have a reputation for rushing to the wrong kind of judgement.

  2. buddyglass January 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Chick-fil-A also stopped funding the most outspoken groups since the issue first started getting press. Exodus International, Family Research Council and the Eagle Forum were dropped.


  3. Jack Wolford January 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    It’s not the kind of people like these two who are willing to follow their instincts that have caused problems , but, the people or organizations that advocate Hate and violence and have drawn a crowd . Keep on talking you guys .

  4. Dave Miller January 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    This is an amazing story.

  5. Bob Wheeler January 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Good news and a glimmer of hope for civil discourse. Thanks for posting.

    It reminds me of a book written by a history professor at a Christian College and PhD holding punk rock singer. That book is also a great story about how to disagree without being disagreeable. http://www.amazon.com/Belief-God-Good-Bad-Irrelevant/dp/0830833773

  6. Akash Charles January 29, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Denny-what do you have to say about the Boys Scouts latest decision??

    • Denny Burk January 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

      They were bullied into it by corporate donors. They should have resisted and stood in principle.

      • Akash Charles January 30, 2013 at 5:43 am #

        I always thought the mormon church were the largest donors- I guess I was wrong.

        I guess churches will have to take more responsibility in setting up such programs for young men

  7. Akash Charles January 30, 2013 at 7:57 am #


    also what do you think of this??
    Already boys do not study and enter college at the same rate-now those who want to will be denied

    • Akash Charles January 30, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      I ma not sure how to respond to this it has really been troubling my mind

      • Denny Burk January 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        What part of it troubles you?

        • Akash Charles January 31, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

          well- boys already are less likely to study-now the ones who do study will be discriminated against and prevented from learning what the want-unemployed/unhappy men always leads to bad consequences for any country

  8. Frederika Pronk January 30, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    A few days ago, the Liberal party in the province of Ontario in Canada chose a lady premier (similar to state governor), who is openly lesbian and appears in public with her partner. From what I can tell, she was chosen because she is the most capable of the other 7 or 8 candidates who ran for premier. There was no public outcry because in Canada, speaking out publicly can be interpreted as “hate crime” and get you hauled before the Human Rights Commission, which has a lot of power. This should/does not deter Christians from witnessing for the Lord when called to do so. Nevertheless, having a female, openly lesbian premier, as we do, does confront one with finding the right Christian attitude. Perhaps we can learn from Chic-fil-a’s Cathy.

  9. Reg Schofield January 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I know numerous gay men . I would not call them friends per se but we talk when meeting , exchange best will wishes . But one thing I do is treat them with respect and dignity , even though they know I hold to a biblical sexual ethic. I would not condone or sit passively by if they were ever harassed or threatened , I would defend them as persons , sinners like me in need of God’s grace and mercy. This is a excellent article , that shows Christ like love and character . I commend both men .

  10. Robert I Masters February 1, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Honestly this story seems unremarkable to me.
    I know of many such stories.
    No Gospel salvation…….no Cultural advancement.
    What is gained here.
    I see nothing.
    I agree that Dan Cathy showed Christlike Love and Character but it seems like we are not giving credit to Christians who do this everyday.

  11. Sue Ferryman February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Thank you Dan Cathy for showing Christlike Love and Character. I believe Jesus would do the same thing. In fact He did go to sinner’s homes, forgave sins, did not just stay with the “good Christians”….He reached out to others.
    \Sue Ferryman


  1. Fantastic Four - Passion For Preaching - January 31, 2013

    […] Denny Burk shares a story about Dan Cathy showing Christian love in the face of criticism by befriending a leading gay activist.  This is a great look into a man who seems really serious about honoring Christ with his whole life. […]

  2. Browse Worthy: Homosexuality | Gentle Reformation - January 31, 2013

    […] Denny Burk – Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-a and professing Christian, has taken a great deal of heat in the homosexual community for his support of marriage as defined by the Bible.  He recently reached out to befriend Shane Windmeyer, a gay activist who was spearheading protests on college campuses against his restaurants.  This post tells of Windmeyer’s surprising response to meeting Cathy. […]

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