The American Family Association (AFA), a Christian organization led by president Tim Wildmon, is picking up the gauntlet thrown down to them by the giant Starbucks coffee chain, saying they will urge stockholders who are Christians to sell their stock because of the chain’s chief Howard Schultz’s support for same-sex marriage.
The conflict began last year when Starbucks backed a same-sex marriage bill in Washington state. Last week, at the annual meeting of Starbucks, one shareholder, Thomas Strobhar, who heads a group opposing same-sex marriage, stated that the company’s support for same-sex marriage was hurting it financially because the National Organization For Marriage boycotted the coffee chain.
Schults responded by daring the Christian groups to leave. He threw down the gauntlet, saying, “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.”
AFA, angered because the Christian community holds thousands of Bible studies sessions at Starbucks, bringing in tens of millions of dollars, decided they would pick up the gauntlet and hurl it right back. Wildmon stated:
“Christians and pro-family groups across the United States have contributed significantly to the economic success of Starbucks. However, we can certainly honor Mr. Schultz’s request to take our business elsewhere. The prospect for Starbucks’ future growth due to faith-based individuals and groups across the country held great promise. But due to Mr. Schultz’s alienation of our beliefs, which he demonstrated through his blatantly intolerant, politically charged actions, Christians will likely heed his advice.”