Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks was supposed to speak at The Global Leadership Summit at the Willow Creek megachurch. But that didn’t happen.
Schultz decided to back out of his talk after a small online petition called for a boycott of Starbucks if Schultz maybe the Willow Creek appearance. The official word from Starbucks was quite opaque. Via the Chicago Tribune:
Though Starbucks confirmed Schultz no longer planned to be there, the company would not attribute it to a campaign launched last week calling on Schultz to denounce the church’s stance before the event.
Earlier this summer, the coffee company announced an investigation of allegations that an openly gay New York barista was fired for discussing his personal life because Starbucks had “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
With that in mind, activist Asher Huey, of Washington, criticized Schultz for agreeing to appear at a church with a long-standing membership in Exodus International, a ministry that believes homosexual behavior is destructive and Christians can “grow into heterosexuality.”
Huey didn’t mention that Willow Creek left Exodus two years ago.
Willow Creek is an evangelical church, and their beliefs on homosexuality are about what you would expect. They definitely don’t approve of homosexuality, but they’re not the rabid gay bashers that Huey suggests.
But, as The Atlantic noted, “Starbucks is still pretty touchy about that homophobia thing.”
Kind of crazy that Schultz and Starbucks could be that easily influenced, but their stranglehold on gourmet coffee has definitely slipped. Dare I say, I prefer the brewed coffee at McDonald’s some days.
How did Willow Creek respond to the negative treatment. With a good touch of grace. Check out Pastor Bill Hybels in the above video.