Starbucks Controversy: Some Clarifications

Apparently this Starbucks controversy has really struck a nerve.  Before this week, the busiest day I had on this blog was 576 hits.  Yesterday I had over 39,000 hits!  I appreciate people’s willingness to read my thoughts, share the post and add their own comments.

There have been many comments on the post and instead of responding to the same concerns over and over, I thought I would add some clarifications.  Many comments were very positive and others rather critical.  I would like to respond to some of the concerns.

Some people thought that I was trying to advocate for same-sex marriage or to suggest that homosexual activity is not a sin.  That was not my intent at all.  I am probably neither as conservative nor as liberal as people would like.  However I do affirm that God’s intention is for a committed, monogamous, heterosexual relationship.

Some people thought that I was attempting to defend Starbucks.  I don’t have any particular agenda to defend Starbucks.  While I like their coffee, I am by no means a Starbucks junkie.

Other people thought that I was arguing against a boycott of Starbucks.  While I have no intention of boycotting Starbucks, it does not bother me if other people make that choice.  Starbucks has made an explicit decision to support same-sex marriage.  If you are not comfortable with that and if you do not want any of your money to go to that cause, go ahead and boycott.  All I was asking was that you boycott based on what they have actually said and not based on what you think they have said.

Some people have accused me of not taking the culture war seriously.  Guilty as charged.  To be honest, in Canada even among evangelical Christians, there is not near the same kind of culture war as there is in the United States.  But my lack of interest in the culture war is not based on my Canadian identity.  I am interested in expressing Christian truth to non-Christians.  If non-Christians see us being loose with the facts here, they are going to question us elsewhere.  Any advantage of a rhetorical attack in the culture war is not worth the damage to our reputation as proclaimers of truth.

Others accused me of not seeing what is really happening.  A number of people told me that inviting a shareholder who was not comfortable with the financial hit from supporting same-sex marriage is exactly the same as saying that they do not want business from customers who support traditional marriage.  To be honest, I just do not see that.  The logical connection is completely missing.  I have to ask: how would you like it if people judged you based not on what you said but by what they decided you really meant?

Let us try and look at this in a different way.  Let us imagine that there was a company that supported traditional marriage.  For the sake of argument, let us call this company Chick-fil-A.  Now imagine at a shareholders meeting that one of the investors observed that profits had dipped since they took a stand for traditional marriage and that the boycott from supporters of same-sex marriage was taking a toll.  What if the CEO of Chick-fil-A said that his decision to support traditional marriage was not based on financial gain but on moral conviction and that investors who were uncomfortable with that decision were welcome to invest elsewhere?  Would you hear in that statement from the CEO of Chick-fil-A these words: “I do not want anyone who supports same-sex marriage eating my chicken!”  Probably not and you would likely loudly criticize liberals who made such accusations for getting the facts wrong.

I hope that clarifies a bit about what I am trying to say.  There have been some great discussions so far and for that I am grateful.  I am not trying to force my opinion on anyone.  I just want people to think deeper about the issues.

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