The Christian businessman, long reviled by LGBT activists for his support of the traditional definition of marriage, suggested the idea while weighing in on Black Lives Matter protests across the nation.
He made the remarks during a June 14 panel at Passion City Church in Atlanta.
“I invite folks just to put some words to action here and if we need to find somebody that needs to have their shoes shined, we need to just go right on over and shine their shoes,” Mr. Cathy told Christian rapper Lecrae and Passion City Founder Louie Giglio.
“Whether they got tennis shoes on or not — maybe they got sandals on — it really doesn’t matter,” he continued. “But there’s a time in which we need to have some personal action here. Maybe we need to give them a huge too. … I bought about 1,500 of these [shoeshine brushes] and I gave them to all our Chick-Fil-A operators and staff a number of years ago. So any expressions of a contrite heart, of a sense of humility, a sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment begat with an apologetic heart — I think that’s what our world needs to hear today.”
The businessman said that he got the idea after hearing about an incident at a Texas revival church.
Someone at the event, distraught over racism in town, shined the shoes of an elderly black man.