March 26, 2013

coffee tastes better with honesty

Since I've deactivated my Facebook account I'm not sure how much of an uproar people have made about a recent story about the Starbucks CEO.  It was reported that he said he didn't want to do business with people who support traditional marriage, and I've seen this spin on several blogs and twitter accounts.

Here's the thing, as a Catholic I totally get how people can take what I do/say/believe and twist into a half truth or a full-on lie. I've seen people leave the Roman Catholic Church because they read the book Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic. The book is a joke - the author, Christ Castaldo, readily admits that he was raised in a nominally Catholic home, barely going to Sunday Mass, that that they stopped attending all together by the time he was a teen. He claims to be an authority on the faith even though he was obviously barely catechized and reading through the book he clearly understands very little about what the Church actually teaches. I know second graders preparing for their First Holy Communion who could better explain what the Catholic Church actually teaches than Castaldo does. Over and over again he takes his poor understanding of Scripture, Church history, and Church teachings and misrepresents them as he portrays himself as an authority.

It's sad to see that people have abandoned the faith they were baptized into and raised in because they read Castaldo's and other, similar books. Instead of going to actual sources - like a parish priest, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or books and websites written by people who claim to be faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church - they did incredibly poor research and relied on pathetic sources. If their faith journey were a research paper they would fail for using such pathetic resources.

So what does all this have to do with Starbucks? Well, the CEO didn't actually say what people are saying he said. What he actually said was:

“Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. 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. Of all kinds.

If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” 

I know there a many people who try not to patronize companies that support beliefs that are contrary to their own. No Disney, no Girl Scouts, no Oreos, no Susan G. Komen, no Starbucks. Personally I support some of them and some of them I intentionally do not support. It all comes down to doing your research, finding the truth (because the media probably won't give it you and you'll have to check multiple sources and wade through the spin), and considering how what you've learned impacts your convictions.

Don't leave the Church because you read a stupid Jack Chick tract and don't stop buying Starbucks only because someone tells you that its CEO doesn't want your business because you support traditional marriage.

You can read more about the Starbucks CEO's comments here or here.


  1. Great write up Bonnie, I have been sick of all the spin, on this story and many others. We all need to take the time to dig deeper for what is the truth.

  2. I don't buy Starbucks because the coffee tastes bad and I can't afford five dollars for a cup of it. :)

  3. We often don't show ourselves as very thoughtful nor intelligent Christians when we put our own spin of offense on someone else's words, be they a CEO's or a neighbor's. I really enjoyed your post. And, I concur with Jenny. Give me a local coffee house any day.

  4. Well said! I admit, I'm one of those people that bought it [and shrugged it off] - I love Caribou so much more, but in a pinch I'll buy Starbucks if it's my only option and I'm dying for coffee. Thanks for the reminder to get the facts straight!

  5. My father in law married a former Catholic who encouraged me to read that book. Oh my gosh what a terrible book with NO idea what he was talking about. Makes me angry. And a perfect reminder to get your facts straight!!!!

  6. Perfect. And I live Carmel macchiatos but my husband feels that paying off college loans is more important than me drinking them. Jerk.

  7. Finally, a breath of sanity. I had to get off of FB this week because of all the ridiculous spin coming from both directions.

  8. Awesome Bonnie. I shared it with my crazies on Facebook. (But the majority of Facebook energy today has been devoted to red equals signs and the same-sex marriage debate.)

    What *I* read was a guy who was asked a business question and gave a business answer. His policies reflect his personal beliefs. As would mine. And the Chick-fil-A guy.

    I'm just not much of a boycotter. Loud boycotts (and most anything launched on Facebook) just come across as uncharitable to me.

    I wouldn't ask a guy who came to snake the drain about his opinion on same-sex marriage. And I think boycotting companies like the ones you mentioned would hurt ME much worse than it hurt them. I did have to walk away from the Girl Scouts though, the money trail was too obvious for me on that one.

  9. Thanks for the facts, Bonnie. I'll admit to lazy researching, though I'm wicked slow to jump on any boycott bandwagon. First, rarely will we find a company whose contributions or social stances agree with ours 100%. Truly, though, I feel like if I really want them to take into considerations my viewpoint, I have to be a customer - a loyal customer even more. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for breaking through my lazy!

  10. I love how informed you are. I'm just going to stop reading the news and read your blog. No joke :)


    Doesnt much matter that he didn't actually say THE WORDS. He clearly avoided it and has proven by his actions/words/funds - where his support lies.
    A comparison between a man who is no longer Catholic and his book and the Starbucks CEO is not a very good comparison given that the Church was instituted by Christ. Last I checked, Starbucks is just a coffee company.
    Your blog is free speech, granted. I also respect in a way your boldness. Think though, as a role model, and someone who women look up to, and also being a director within the Behold Conference, and also having zero authority within the church,
    your statements almost provide an accidental "guide" for other Catholics, which is reality you have no right to sway in ways such as go ahead and drink Starbucks. The facts are the facts.
    There is a FINE line is sharing your opinions and rants - whence they can be confusing and lead others to an uniformed decision and ultimately a false guide for where their loyalty should lie.

  12. THANK YOU!! I went and read the quote the moment I read I thought, "Great...we're just as bad as the other side." I hate it when "they" spin stories (like we "hate" people who are, we love them and that is why we care). I hate it MORE when our side spins it...yuck! Thanks again!