Another reason to drink Starbucks, America. Right Wing Watch has done what they do best and spotted another blatant piece of hypocrisy from fundamentalists. Liberty Counsel’s Mathew Staver, who has endorsed boycotts of both McDonalds and of public schools, whose deputy Matt Barber has previously castigated gay rights advocates for supposed “economic terrorism for protesting companies that were part of the CGBG commercial group that allowed customers to grant proceeds to the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Liberty Counsel,” is now calling for a campaign of economic terrorism against Starbucks.
We have previously met Mathew Staver back in January when he was arguing that the separation of church and state is unconstitutional, even though it’s in the Constitution; we’ve seen him and Liberty Council declare independence from the United States with he Declaration of Independence of 2011, and, of course, we saw him get his undies in a bunch over repeal of DADT. This is a man who does not play well with others and finds a society in which other people have the same rights as he does institutionally flawed.
Staver now says that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz bowed to “homosexual” activism and cancelled an appearance at the Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek church, which is noted for its past ties to Exodus International, a ministry which claims as its mission “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.”
Exodus International claims as a policy statement:
Exodus upholds heterosexuality as God’s creative intent for humanity, and subsequently views homosexual expression as outside of God’s will. Exodus cites homosexual tendencies as one of many conditions that beset fallen humanity. Choosing to resolve these tendencies through homosexual behavior, taking on a homosexual identity, and involvement in a homosexual lifestyle is considered destructive, as it distorts God’s intent for the individual and is therefore sinful.
Instead, Christ offers a healing alternative to those with homosexual tendencies. Exodus upholds redemption for the homosexual person as the process whereby sin’s power is broken, and the individual is freed to know and experience their true identity, as discovered in Christ and His Church. That process includes the freedom to grow into heterosexuality.
So homosexuals can be healed of homosexuality? It’s a shame Staver can’t be cured of ignorance and bigotry – not to mention hypocrisy. But such is life.
According to USAToday:
Schultz had been scheduled to speak today at The Global Leadership Summit organized by the Willow Creek Association, based in South Barrington, Ill. The annual event draws tens of thousands of viewers via satellite. Past speakers have included former President Bill Clinton, GE’s Jack Welch and rock singer Bono.
Schultz did not say why he had canceled. As USAToday reports, “A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed Schultz would not speak as scheduled, but she declined to say more.” But Mathew Staver says that the Starbucks CEO was “intimidated” by “homosexual activists” because of a online petition condemning the congregation as anti-gay.
The petition says,
The church that is sponsoring the event on August 11th and 12th has a long history anti-gay persecution. For decades the church was a member of Exodus International, the organization that seeks to cure homosexuality through dangerous conversion therapy. The church split ways with the group, but in doing so stated that it wasn’t a change in belief but a change in focus. The church also has their own “outreach” programs to the LGBT community to spread their anti-lgbt message.
Organizations that attempt to cure people of their sexual orientation are dangerous. They are rejected by major medical organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.
But the church says they cut ties with Exodus International in 2009. According to a July 2011 report in The New American,
Willow Creek officials said the move has more to do with the church’s overall ministry approach than to a change in its view on homosexuality, which has been traditionally viewed by Christians as sinful. Susan DeLay, a spokeswoman for Willow Creek, told Christianity Today that the congregation has an open-door policy toward individuals struggling with same-sex attraction. “Willow Creek has a whole host of ministries for people dealing with these issues, and we would never intend for them to feel sidelined,” DeLay said. “All we’ve changed is how we’ve gone about inviting them into the church, which is the primary issue here.”
Apparently, though cutting ties in 2009, the news did not get out until June of 2011 – not a highly advertised move and it sounds as though the church may have only itself to blame for falling prey to the online petition. According to The New American,
Scott Vaudrey, a member of the congregation’s leadership team, told Christianity Today in a statement that the church’s decision was not meant to reflect a political or social position on the issue, emphasizing that the church was in “a season of reviewing and clarifying some of our affiliations with outside organizations.”
Not exactly a ringing denunciation of Exodus International’s activities or beliefs about homosexuality. It sounds like Willow Creek wanted to do some fence sitting, distancing itself from Exodus International but not antagonizing anti-gay crusaders by telegraphing its new direction. But Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek, seems to think his church is gay-friendly now. He had this to say about Schultz’s decision:
“To suggest that we check sexual orientation or any other kind of issue at our doors is simply not true. Just ask the hundreds of people with same-sex attraction who attend our church every week.”
Exodus International says the move by Willow Creek was simply fear of backlash, an unwillingness to stand with other Christians. Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, said Willow Creek’s stance “highlight a reticence in the church to stand up for biblical truth….” He added that such moves are “coming at a time when we’re going to have to stand up for what we believe. I think there’s a way to stand up. We have to find that way.”
Of course, all Staver sees is a homosexual conspiracy. The petition caused Schultz to reveal his hand as “pro-homosexual” and beholden to “his homosexual constituency.” Staver suggests that “probably the people that buy Starbucks ought to consider patronizing another place.”
Giving thinking, freedom-loving Americans another reason to drink a cup of Starbucks.