I don’t have a starbucks anywhere near me. And, I don’t drink coffee. But, I do support traditional family and marriage, so I have followed this story over the past few days as it has popped up on my facebook newsfeed. It usually starts with the following heading:
Starbucks CEO: If you support traditional marriage, we don’t want your business.
and a link to this article with very few details.
Being the “why” person I am, I decided to investigate further and found this article, with a little more explanation.
To summarize, apparently a shareholder said that sales were disappointing following the start of a boycott which resulted from Starbucks’ support of gay marriage rights.
The CEO said “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,”
He didn’t say to a customer: “if you support traditional marriage, we don’t want your business” (although that certainly makes a more exciting headline). He said to a shareholder: “if you don’t agree with my business practices, or feel that they are affecting your profits, maybe you should find another company that better suits you.”
Honestly, it’s a valid point. I don’t know how many Christian blogs I’ve read that say something along the lines of “if you don’t agree with me, feel free to unsubscribe and find another blog to read.” Yet they aren’t considered rude. Why the double standard?
But, that’s not even the point here. The CEO of starbucks said something that has really stuck with me. The article paraphrased that he said it “was about respecting diversity, not the bottom line.”
“It is not an economic decision,” he said. ” The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity.”
Let me be clear, I support traditional marriage and family. However, I have to say that I respect a leader willing to step out and take a chance on a financial loss because of something that he believes is morally right (even if I disagree with him). To be willing to make a decision based on principle and not economics. Maybe because it seems to be such a rare trait.
Can you imagine what would happen if more Christian leaders did this? Yes, I know there are a few Christian businesses which operate on Christian principles. But far too often, business and profits cause men and women alike to lose their religion, lose their sense of moral rightness, and bow to the almighty dollar. I’ve seen it happen all to often, even in my small hometown.
What if Christians started making their decisions based on principle, and not economics? I think we could change the world.
What’s your take?