Reading Pride has rejected accusations of anti-Christianity and called on Chick-fil-A to explain its current view on ‘anti-LGBT+’ comments made by its CEO.

American chicken chain Chick-fil-A opened its first UK restaurant in Reading in October to a backlash from the LGBT+ community.

A week later, the Oracle announced it does not plan to extend the restaurant’s contract beyond a six-month trial.

Christian Peoples Alliance candidate Yemi Awolola has since set up a petition calling for the restaurant to be allowed stay and criticising LGBT+ protests as “anti-Christian”.

"Nothing to do with being anti-Christian"

Reading Chronicle:

Reading Pride chairman Paul Britt hit back at the claim, saying “it has nothing to do with being anti-Christian”.

He said: “As residents of Reading, we are appalled that an organisation that supports such abhorrent treatment and persecution of LGBT+ people, in particular in Uganda, should be encouraged to set up in Reading.

“It appears that our standards are not shared with some in our great town.

“We believe it should be clear that this has nothing to do with being anti-Christian as suggested by Yemi Awolola, which we are not, due to our role as an equality and diversity champion.

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He added: “This is an attempt by the individual to garner coverage of a recent local news story which gained global coverage to attract attention to their campaign for the upcoming UK general election.”

A Chick Fil-A Inc. spokesman said the company is “focused on food, service and hospitality, does not have a political or social agenda and is represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs”.

"Reach out to us and express your current position"

Reading Pride has now invited Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy to explain Chick-fil-A’s current position on previous same-sex marriage comments.

Mr Britt said: “We would invite Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A to reach out to us and the LGBT+ community and express their current position on their previous anti-LGBT+ comments.”

In a 2012 interview with the Baptist Press, CEO Dan Cathy said he believes in the “biblical definition of the family unit”.

He later added: “I think we are inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say: “We know better than you do as to what constitutes marriage”.

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Chick-fil-A has also been criticised for donations including more than $1.6 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes bar employees from engaging in “homosexual acts”.

Mr Britt said Reading Pride will continue to speak out against organisations who support or fund activities which are hostile to the LGBT+ community.

"Attack on anything Christian"

Reading Chronicle:

Christian Peoples Alliance candidate Mr Awolola set up the petition last month calling for the restaurant to stay at The Oracle and describing protests against the restaurant “an attack on anything Christian”.

He said Chick-fil-A “is the best thing in Reading for a while”.

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Mr Awolola is standing in Reading East against Matt Rodda (Labour), Chris Morley (Conservative) Imogen Shepherd-Dubey (Lib Dem), Mitchell Feierstein (Brexit Party) and David McElroy (Green).

The election takes place on December 12. Find out more about the candidates here.

More to follow from the other Reading East candidates later today.