Starbucks, Same-Sex Marriage and Getting Facts Straight

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Dan Burrell's picture

Even with this guy's generous, benefit-of-the-doubt posture toward Starbucks and their pro-"diversity" agenda, one only needs to do minimalist research to see that the corporate values of Starbucks run perpendicular to those who have a Biblical worldview.  This guy appears to be yet another emergent evangelical who shudders over the potential fallout taking a cultural stand might have on the unsaved.  I wasn't the least bit surprised to see a book written by Rob Bell on his booklist attached to his blog.

I'm not a big coffee drinker and there are three Starbucks within one mile of our office so if I'm meeting someone for a coffee meeting, it's likely that it has to be at a Starbucks.  But given a choice, I'd prefer to support a company which doesn't hold a hostile posture to my views.  Why do corporations need to take these liberal positions at all if they are in the money-making business?

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Rob Fall's picture

prefer MacDonalds' regular coffee.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Greg Linscott's picture

The comments may or may not have been distorted ( I tend to think they were). But even if they were true, I don't think there would be an especially compelling case to boycott Starbucks, if you like their product and are inclined to pay for it. Just because a CEO allegedly makes a statement like that doesn't mean that is reflective of everyone in the company, and for that matter, doesn't mean that every other company actively supports "traditional values." Would Apple or Disney, for example, be considered any better, just because their CEOs haven't allegedly made controversial statements? For that matter, the owner of your local independent coffee shop might just be a practicing homosexual actively supporting same-sex marriage, but just doesn't have enough of a high profile to get quoted nationally.

Personally, I don't buy Starbucks because 1. They closed our local one down a few years ago in that big corporate downsize, and 2. It's a bit overpriced (I roast and brew my own). But I will not avoid them based on alleged remarks like this, or hold local employees or franchise owners responsible for some foolishness in the press. We live in a world that will continue to grow generally hostile to Christianity and Christian thought, anyway. If we avoided every corporation who opposed our "worldview," well, I'd probably never get to eat out, since we only have 3 Chick-Fil-As in the entire state, none of which are within 2 hours of Marshall... Wink

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

rogercarlson's picture

I agree with Greg.   I have never been a fan of boycotts.  I just don't find them helpful.  They usually cause a backlash on the other side and ends up doing the opposite of what the organizers wanted to do.  Now I do participate in anti-boycotts - I drove out of my way to go to Chick-Fil-A. :)  I am not a big consumer of Starbucs, so I won't be a factor either way.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Shaynus's picture

What about the non-Christians at Starbucks who need the gospel? My pastor spends his study time at Starbucks and regularly has people come up and ask him questions about the Bible. If we try to vote with our dollars in every circumstance, aren't we also voting with our feet that the people near where we spend our dollars can go fly a kite too? 

Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.”

1 Cor 10:25-26

Greg Long's picture

Shaynus, how far do you push that analogy? I realize it is not exactly analogous, but would you use the same logic to justify frequenting strip joints or taverns? Is there ever a time to reject a business as unacceptable for Christians to patronize, regardless of the witnessing opportunities?

Like some of you, I'm ambivalent about Christian boycotts for the most part. But sometimes there are companies who are so in your face about pushing an unbiblical agenda that if I have a choice I will choose otherwise.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Steve Newman's picture

Yes, they are just selling coffee. But they are taking their profits from your purchases to fund anti-gay marriage initiatives. You can bet the pro-gay marriage people will do all they can to de-fund Chick-fil-a, the Koch brothers, and everybody else they can. But we sit back passively and give them our money? I think not!

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think the problem with boycotts is consistency. If you are going to boycott every company that that is involved in supporting and promoting immorality, you are soon going to be growing your own food and raising llamas to weave clothing. It is not possible to be consistent, so folks have to pick and choose which causes mean something to them. . . which often makes people sound like hypocrites, when that is not their intent. It's very confusing.

I'm not against 'boycotts'. We all make consumer choices for different reasons. I don't buy Starbucks because I am not going to pay that kind of money just to look trendy. I eat Chik-fil-A at every possible opportunity because they are simply the best chicken sandwiches EVER. The fact that one purports itself to be the enemy of all that is moral and the other has business practices I approve of gives me a good feeling about how I spend my money. I get that. 

When I hear about this stuff, however, I always wonder. . . If someone wants to boycott the most immoral industry on the planet, shouldn't they start with Hollywood? 

 

Dan Burrell's picture

I like boycotts and buycotts, but then I tend to be more of an activist due to my insane fascination with politics.  I also don't think that boycotts are some kind of panacea technique that ends liberal activism or whatever.  I also don't see focusing on one boycott while other worthy candidates are waiting to feel the wrath of our collective economic power for their sins as well is an adequate excuse to primly announce that we "don't do boycotts".

I don't really see boycotting Starbucks as a "must", but what I do think is in order is a "reflective" attitude toward our...scratch that....God's resources.  There may be just as big or perhaps a more valid argument to avoid Starbucks (as Greg Linscott noted above) simply because they are over-priced and I can find better value elsewhere thus freeing that money for better purposes.  (Seriously, I can feed the family of a Cuban pastor for a WEEK on what it costs to get one hugo-manifico-double-entendre-mocha-soy-foamarific coffee at Starbucks!)  I also think that if I can choose to support the mom-and-pop coffee house on the corner that invites people to do their Bible studies there and the local church bands to play on Friday nights as opposed to the mega-chain that uses a portion of their profits to support anti-Biblical positions (and Starbucks DOES that), then that may be an expedient choice to make on multiple levels.

So, boycotts may not be one's...er..."cup of tea" to mix a metaphor, but thoughtful use of purchasing power might just be.

Randomly thinking....

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Jim's picture

  1. I don't expect Starbucks to support or oppose same-sex marriage
  2. I expect Starbucks to do the capitalist thing and market their coffee as broadly as they can to maximize the return for their stockholders
  3. Because of point # 2 ... they stay out of the fray of point # 1
  4. Every major corporation is the same. Why should they be involved in a morality debate?! Why should we expect them to choose sides?

Christians will not win the culture wars (and I observe ... we are losing!) by boycotts or buycotts. And our task is not to win the culture wars it is to herald the Gospel, disciple believers, and build churches

 

Starbucks has 160,000 employees. I have no way to know but I suppose there are thousands of Christians employed by Starbucks.

Ancient history but worth considering: Remember the P&G Logo controversy

I buy the best product at the best price. I will continue to frequent Starbucks when I wish

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

...Jim, they do choose sides. They promote these unbiblical agendas in their work places (like gay marriage), they give financial aid to fund unbiblical causes (like gay marriage), and they endorse politicians/policies that pursue unbiblical ends (like gay marriage). Often, they do this because of (not despite) your second point - it's popular.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Shaynus's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Shaynus, how far do you push that analogy? I realize it is not exactly analogous, but would you use the same logic to justify frequenting strip joints or taverns? Is there ever a time to reject a business as unacceptable for Christians to patronize, regardless of the witnessing opportunities?

Like some of you, I'm ambivalent about Christian boycotts for the most part. But sometimes there are companies who are so in your face about pushing an unbiblical agenda that if I have a choice I will choose otherwise.

 

Notice the verse says not to reject it on ground of conscience. There are other grounds that are firmly available to the believer to reject something in the marketplace i.e. it's pure sin that anyone can see. This provokes a larger discussion of what the conscience was in 1 Cor 10 that I may not want to get into here, but setting was key to Paul's argument. In one setting (a home or a market) meat was one thing and clean. But at a temple meat was something else entirely, and that was determined by setting. 

I do think Paul was pushing the believers to not reject the fullness of what was available to them in the marketplace on grounds of scripture. It's all God's in the first place. The earth is the Lord's. To a point let's not retreat from the marketplace because we might get smudged with idol meat because such a retreat makes it appear to others that the idol really is real and really has power over the earth.

Greg Linscott's picture

There was a controversy a few years back when HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corp, bought out Zondervan. Among other of their ventures, they market and produce pornography. So, if you buy an NIV, or even Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, you are supporting a known pornographer.

Have you used PayPal or eBay lately? They support abortion through funding of Planned Parenthood.

Susan has already pointed out the whole Hollywood thing.

I daresay if we dig deeply enough, we can find dilemmas such as this in just about every good and service we pay for. I mean, even here in the SI context, we really shouldn't buy our homeschool curriculum from BJU Press, because they had Clarence Sexton, a known KJV Only, speak at their Bible Conference... :rolleyes:

The problem with a story like this is it's a reaction to an alleged comment. There has been no significant change in their behavior, not to mention the other corporations that do more or less the same thing (if not more so, potentially), only out of the spotlight and scrutiny of the media. Again, if you're going to follow this line of reasoning consistently, you're going to avoid a lot more than just Starbucks. In fact, you might as well become a Luddite, as many tech companies alone that actively fund and support same-sex marriage, starting with Microsoft, Google, Apple, eBay... 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Ann B.'s picture

I'm not one to jump on big bandwagons for boycotts, but there are times I won't shop someplace just because of some of their positions or practices - and I let them know.  I emailed Hardee's and told them we would not be patronizing them, due to their highly sexualized (at least at the time) commercials.  

No, this doesn't cover every place with unbiblical philosophies or whatever, but at least I feel better about not supporting some places.

But I don't even like coffee.

Greg Long's picture

For an interesting take that we should NOT boycott Starbucks, read Russell Moore's take:

http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/03/25/should-christians-boycott-starbucks/

But if you have time, you should read the comments too because there are some good points made in response.

(I should note that although it didn't cross my mind until someone in the comments pointed it out, it is interesting that SBTS "proudly brews Starbucks coffee" in their cafe. Smile )

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

For me this is not a black and white issue but a sliding scale. If I were to try to boycott all the companies that provide same-sex benefits, for example, I wouldn't be able to shop anywhere except Hobby Lobby and eat anywhere except Chick-fil-A perhaps. 

But again, some companies are so blatant, so outspoken, so militant in their anti-biblical stances, that if I have a choice, I will choice to steward my money elsewhere (which is ironic, I know, since we're talking about $5 coffee drinks). I don't actually drink coffee, but I do like an iced mocha now and again. Because I am not a coffee snob, I'm perfectly fine getting it at McDonalds (I know some of you coffee drinkers are spewing coffee at your computer screen upon reading those words), or perhaps at Caribou Coffee or a local coffee shop. I have those choices, whereas others don't, so I don't judge those who choose to continue to patronize Starbucks.

If, for example, I have a choice between Home Depot, Lowe's, and Menards (which I do), and I know one of them is outspoken in support of gay marriage, it will influence my choice as to where to spend my money. I don't necessarily see it as a "boycott" or think that I will somehow change their corporate policy, I'm just making an informed choice as to where to spend God's money.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

TylerR's picture

Editor

Maybe I'm just evil, but I don't bother paying attention to what silly CEO's believe on Biblical issues. I don't care what they believe. I do care, however, if their coffee is good.

Behold, the best cafe in the world, a few steps away from my old apartment in Camporotondo-Etneo, Sicily. The second one is the second best cafe in the world, in Motta San Anastasia, Sicily. BTW - the guy smoking on the left is not me . . .

 

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Steve Davis's picture

We have a seminary student who interns in our church who is employed at Starbucks. We have a man in our church who was homeless when we met him when we were providing meals. He now works at Starbucks and is becoming self-supporting. Maye they should find work elsewhere according to the rationale of some. I rarely go to Starbucks because when I'm out I prefer Wawa hazelnut (if you don't know what Wawa is you are not in a civilized area of the country).

Individuals who have the time and interest to research these issues and choose to boycott have that right. However if you look hard enough you will find something in most companies to call for boycott. Why not boycott companies that provide benefits to same-sex couples, or under Obamacare provide will insurance that covers abortions? We shouldn't be surprised that sinners act like sinners and promote unbiblical values. It may be tough to be in the world but not of the world but the answer is not to isolate from the world.

Of course there may be companies that are exist to be hostile to Christians, won't employ Christians, and actively oppose Christianity. Boycott is not off the table but should be used judiciously and we should choose our battles carefully. And when possible, when given a choice, we can support companies that promote biblical values. But if their products aren't good and prices aren't competitive it's not a slam dunk. 

Greg Long's picture

Steve, I'm just curious if you read the rest of the thread? It seems to me at least some of your points have already been addressed, including by my post (although perhaps not effectively or persuasively).

As I explained, I dont see the "Where does it stop?" question that has been asked several different times as all that relevant. This is not an all-or-nothing situation, but a case-by-case situation.

Personally I would not choose to work at a company that so blatantly pushes the homosexual agenda, but that is my personal conviction. I may be the weaker brother and do not judge others for a different decision.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Steve Davis wrote:

I rarely go to Starbucks because when I'm out I prefer Wawa hazelnut (if you don't know what Wawa is you are not in a civilized area of the country).

Can't disagree with this.  They are all over Maryland where my parents live.  Whenever I head south to go back home, the furthest south I have found a Wawa is in Virginia.  I wish they had them here, but no such luck.  Not only is their coffee great, it's reasonably priced, too.

 

Dave Barnhart

DrJamesAch's picture

Perhaps a boycott would encourage more Christian entrepreneurship :) 

But I would say that you could probably apply Romans 14 here. If it is genuinely offensive to Christians (and I, for one, am offended) and it bothers your conscience then don't go there. But since the CEO was so blatant about his beliefs it would be hard for me personally to buy anything from that shop. If Wal Mart released a statement saying "We hate Christians and loathe the fact that they buy anything from our store" I would likely consider not shopping there.

But then again, with #4 on that list above (Microsoft) if we all boycotted it, nobody would be commenting on here.

I do think Greg Long made 2 good points; that it is a case-by-case basis, and that if a company so blatantly expresses their disdain for the values that Christians subscribe to, we are free to exercise out stewardship toward one company over another.

However, Greg is not right with God, 3 Thessalonians 1:1 says that believers must consume coffee Smile

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

rogercarlson's picture

What I find odd, was that when this happened to Chick-Fil-A, we were all up in arms (and rightfully so).  So how is what some of us are advocating any different than what the organizers of the boycott of Chick-Fil-A was trying to do?  I think we all know there is no difference.  It's a glaring inconsistency.  Certainly we all have a right to boycott, but I just find that they are not productive.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Dan Burrell's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Certainly we all have a right to boycott, but I just find that they are not productive.

 

I'm still not advocating a Starbucks boycott.  However, I don't agree that boycotts aren't or can't be productive.  The left (Gays, African-Americans, Feminists, etc...) consistently use them with substantial impact.  The mere "Threat" of a boycott is enough to make many companies capitulate to the demands.  The reason they are not productive to the conservatives or more specifically conservative Christians is because we lack the unity and the will to make them work.  I've seen them totally work back in the 70's and 80's.  Now, most evangelicals and fundamentalists feel activism is either passe' or somehow unbiblical and others see them as a distraction or a poor testimony.  Meanwhile, bit by bit our culture has been lost.  I would equate the cultural lethargy of this generation of legitimate believers to be the equivalent of what was found in the 50's and 60's when we had the Sexual Revolution, antiauthoritarianism, liberal activism and rise of secular antagonism toward religion all burst onto the scene.  Falwell/Robertson organized a brief interlude in the 70's/80's when we indeed DID have clout, but we've truly ceded that at this point with our lack of unity and general apathy toward such actions.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Jeff Straub's picture

My sneakers (tennis shoes or runners just to be politically correct), my computers (my old PC and my new Mac), my blue jeans, my websurfing, and my travel. This would take all the fun out of life. Fortunately I don't drink coffee!

Personally I listened to what the guy said several times. I didn't take him to be anti-Christian . . . and he's simply saying that his company is tolerant--by choice. Be nice if Christians had this kind of conviction. Why shouldn't he be tolerant? He's lost! If we boycott Starbucks then we must need go out of the world and become monastic.

Jeff Straub

Greg Long's picture

Which Greg are you addressing, Jeff? I'm going to assume it's Greg Linscott, because those weren't arguments I was making. And no, if you choose not to purchase from Starbucks (notice I did not use the word "boycott"), you do not have to go out of the world and become monastic. Maybe it's as simple as making a specific choice as to buy coffee at a company other than one that outspokenly promotes gay marriage, involving itself in the political process. As I've said three times now on this thread, this is not all-or-nothing, black-and-white, but rather a case-by-case decision.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Anne Sokol's picture

I really wish we'd be talking more about Monsanto and Nestle. They are moral outrages in many more ways than starbucks. Right up there with hollywood.

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