Last year, Religious Right activists believed — without any evidence — that their boycott campaign against Starbucks over the company’s endorsement of marriage equality cost Starbucks billions. Ken Hutcherson, the Washington-based anti-gay activist and the favorite pastor of conservative leaders like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, seems to be under the impression that he dealt similar damage to Microsoft as part of his protest of the company’s pro-gay rights positions.
While speaking to a Tea Party Unity conference call, Hutcherson said that he led a mass-selloff of Microsoft stock on March 15 as a demonstration against the company’s stand for equality that cost the company tens of millions, if not billions, of dollars.
“I had Christians buying stock in Microsoft and they gave me one share and they kept the rest of their shares and gave me their proxy to go to the meetings here in Seattle and say that as stockholders we do not like the way you’re going down in our country, in our state, trying to change the laws and to push the homosexuality as a minority group,” Hutchreson explained. “I said if you guys don’t back off I’m gonna sell my stock and I’m gonna have everyone that bought sell stock; they laughed, they pooh-poohed me and they thought I was nuts so I said, alright just wait and see.”
He said that “there was a selloff of stock on March 15, $30 million in one day Microsoft lost and they have not recovered yet, someone told me the difference was $30 billion and I never can confirm that because they won’t allow that to come out.”
That would be pretty impressive if it were true.
Check a timeline of Microsoft stock for yourself.
Hutchreson started the campaign in 2008 and said he led the selloff campaign three years later.
On March 11, 2011, stock was valued at 25.68; on March 18 it was valued at 24.80. By March 25, the price was 25.62.
Today, the stock is valued at 32.43.
Linda Harvey is not happy with the recent vote in Washington state in favor of marriage equality and she is even less happy with the decision by the state to revise its marriage licenses to add an option for "spouse," in addition to "bride" and "groom," allowing those who are getting married to choose which they prefer.
In Harvey's eyes, this change undermines the "legitimacy of man-woman marriage" and, even worse, creates confusion about the Christian imagery in which Jesus one day returns to earth to marry his "bride": the church.
Well now, even though truth has not changed; marriage is still, in reality, one man and one woman, the voters' decision prompted health department officials to propose a change in language until enough people objected. The words "bride" and "groom" were going to be replaced with "spouse A" and "spouse B" or "person A" and "person B" on marriage licenses, according to the original proposal.
That's right; on official marriage documents, the words "bride" and "groom" were going to disappear. When advocates of homosexual marriage say how would two men or two women being allowed to marry change your marriage, here's one way. Nonsense like this starts showing up and the legitimacy of man-woman marriage is automatically on defense against pretenders to the throne.
Homosexuality, far from being marriage, is always a grave sin in Scripture.
Then, speaking of brides and grooms, there's another Christian concept that illustrates the unchanging standard of man and woman as the model for marriage: in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to several times as the "bridegroom." And when he returns, he will return as a bridegroom seeking his bride: the church, which is the body of all believers, also called the Bride of Christ. It's a beautiful analogy.
What happens to such a concept in a same-sex marriage? Does Jesus as bridegroom seek another groom? No, that would be a twisted and frankly offensive spin on a profound and marvelous concept.
As Christians, we must never accept the idea of same-sex marriage. It certainly doesn't work as sound Christian doctrine and it will be shown before long not to work as revolutionary secular law either.
Pastor Kenneth Hutcherson is blaming leading conservative groups for sidelining him in the unsuccessful campaign to overturn Washington state’s marriage equality, and while speaking to Sandy Rios and Fred Jackson of the American Family Association said that churches who aren’t involved in anti-gay campaigns are “an abomination to God.” Hutcherson also reassured Rios, who predicted that Obama will “bring in gay marriage nationally” and “human misery,” not to feel discouraged and to remember that he is the “gayest guy you know.” “I am sick and tired of the homosexuals taking words that God has given us, I am sick and tired of the homosexual community taking our rainbow,” he said, calling on the “evangeli-fish” in the Religious Right to stop being “irrelevant” and “sissified” in the culture wars.
Rios: Dr. Hutcherson, I know that it’s hard for all of us to fight human discouragement, how could we not be, you know four defeats on the marriage amendments and all the other propositions, plus we know that another Barack Obama four years I think is going to bring in gay marriage nationally and so many other things, huge debt, I think we’re going to see human misery. From a spiritual standpoint, Christians are going to suffer some real persecution, I think. So this human discouragement, there’s human reality that we have to face, but speak to us if you will as a pastor, are you there yet? Are you still filled with discouragement this morning? Are you there yet? Are you ready to speak to us as a pastor?
Hutcherson: I think the first thing we are going to have to do to really be discouraged is to speak to the church. I have been preaching and pushing and talking unity till I am blue in the face and you guys know how black I am in the face. I have continued to look that God is still on the throne, this is not a man’s decision in these elections, there is no way in the world that we should have had the votes that we had. So I am praying that we really get in the face of the church, really get in the face of the conservative leaders, really get in the face of churches. We have major churches out here that did not stand up, did not even raise a finger to defeat this whole thing on same-sex marriage and that is just an abomination to God.
Hutcherson: Don’t forget guys, when you think about pastor Hutcherson out here, think about the gayest guy you know, I am sick and tired of the homosexuals taking words that God has given us, I am sick and tired of the homosexual community taking our rainbow when God gave us that promise that He would not destroy the earth with water again. We have just become irrelevant, we are just sissified, we are evangeli-fish with no spiritual vertebrae and we need to wake up.
Washington, DC -- Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, released the following statement in response to victories of marriage equality ballot measures in Maine and Maryland, the lead for a marriage equality measure in Washington, and the defeat of a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota:
"Yesterday was a great day for progressive values, and none more than the American value of equality under the law. For the first time in our history, voters accepted marriage equality at the polls, with marriage equality measures passing in two states and poised to pass in another. In a landmark victory, voters also rejected a discriminatory marriage amendment. And, for the first time in our history an openly gay American won a seat in the U.S. Senate. This is not a fluke, it is a watershed.
"Eight years ago, George W. Bush and Karl Rove hitched their reelection effort to anti-gay animus, pushing discriminatory ballot measures in 11 states in an effort to boost their own campaign. Yesterday, Americans decisively reelected the first president to publicly support marriage equality and turned out to the polls to support their LGBT neighbors.
"These votes are victories for families in Maine, Maryland and Washington who will now have access to many of the protections of marriage. But they are also victories for all Americans, who step by step are building a country where all our neighbors are treated with decency and respect. We have a lot of work left to do, but this much is clear: the politics of exclusion and discrimination is no longer a winning formula."
This week the Equal Justice Task Force of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action released a statement in support of the marriage equality ballot measures in Maryland, Maine, and Washington and opposing a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota.
“At this moment in history, it is important that we stand on the side of faith, compassion, and equality instead of on the side of discrimination and oppression,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “We’ve seen again and again that when laws prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting the protections that only marriage can provide, all families are harmed and all communities suffer. As an African American and a woman I am frightened when one group attempts to limit or restrict the rights of others. We urge voters in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington to reject discrimination and vote to strengthen and affirm all families.”
Celebrating his success in putting Washington’s marriage equality law up to a popular referendum, Joseph Backholm of Preserve Marriage Washington and the Family Policy Institute of Washington once again appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show and told her that he is confident of winning in November because the case for same-sex marriage, he claims, doesn’t rely on logic. Instead, Blackholm said that unlike anti-gay activists, proponents of marriage equality depend on demonizing the opposition and “emotional manipulation” to win support.
Backholm: The narrative on the other side of this issue has basically been, ‘good people support redefining marriage, bad people don’t; you’re a good person, so join us.’ So a bunch of people who—generally we consider ourselves to be kind and thoughtful and ‘live and let live’ kind of people, that’s kind of the American way—and so by virtue of that people just migrate by default to where they perceive the people to be. Their narrative depends entirely upon that, so logical discussions about this subject rarely take place with those folks. But when they happen, the logic behind their argument really does tend to fall apart. It’s also because that is what they depend on so heavily, it’s why I’m supremely confident that in the long term we win this discussion because you can’t rely on emotional manipulation forever.
Today on Family Talk, James Dobson spoke to Republican activist Attorney General candidate Steve Pidgeon about an upcoming vote in Washington state that anti-gay groups hope will repeal the state’s law legalizing same-sex marriage. Pidgeon, a birther conspiracy theorist who has likened same-sex marriage to demon worship, is behind Initiative 1192 [pdf], which “reaffirms the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.” Along with I-1192, conservatives are also pushing Referendum 74 that would ask voters to approve or reject the marriage equality law signed in February.
He told Dobson that judges in America are creating “a form of totalitarianism” that “violates the fundamental freedoms of what it means to be an American” in order to “impose” same-sex marriage. However, Washington’s marriage equality law was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor.
Pidgeon also described same-sex marriage as a “profanity” and an act of “desecrating the temple,” warning that people “must rise up” so America does not become “a cursed society”:
What you have, Dr. Dobson, is you have the oligarchy impressing its will upon the people. This is a form of tyranny, if you will, that even Thomas Jefferson warned us about, saying that when the court imposes its will on the public it’s an oligarchy, it’s a form of totalitarianism, where a few select people believe that their will should be imposed on the rest of us. It’s unconstitutional and more importantly it violates the fundamental freedoms of what it means to be an American to have a couple of select judges tell an entire state, ‘you can’t determine for yourself whether or not you’re going to be righteous in the sight of God or not.’
You know, this business of same-sex marriage is really not about same-sex marriage, Dr. Dobson, I mean it is about desecrating the temple.
You cannot be silent any more, there is a time when you cannot allow such a profanity to walk into the sacred assembly and now is that time.
Now is the time, this is the hour, people are being called, you must rise up and you must speak on behalf of the kingdom. This is the difference between whether or not we will be a blessed society or a cursed society, and it’s not just for you, it’s for your children and your grandchildren. You must stand and speak now.
Washington state pastor Ken Hutcherson, who is working with the National Organization for Marriage to repeal his state’s marriage equality law, recently embarked on a campaign to “take back the rainbow” from the gay community. Now, Hutcherson even wants pastors to “come out of the closet” and “shout loud and proud, ‘We are gay!’” As Hutcherson explained in an interview with the Christian Post, it is all part of an effort to retake “hijacked” words, arguing that the word “gay” is inappropriate to describe homosexuals like Dan Savage because there is “nothing gay” about them:
But the fact is, Hutcherson is not a homosexual, nor does the happily married man have a same-sex attraction of any kind. He is however, on a mission to take back words, phrases and symbols he believes groups, such as homosexuals and other liberal organizations have "hijacked" from the American lexicon.
"Seriously, I am the gayest guy I know," Hutcherson reiterated in an interview with The Christian Post.
"My frustration is that some groups have taken words and symbols away from the Church and from society in general. When I say I'm 'gay,' what I mean is that I am happy, that I am joyful and that I love people. That is precisely what a Christian ought to be so in my opinion we just need to be as gay as we can."
"Dan Savage (a pro-gay activist) says he is gay. He's not gay, not anywhere close. Yeah, he may be a homosexual but he certainly doesn't appear to be happy or joyful when he stands up in front of a classroom and uses profane language. Nope, nothing gay about that."
Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage isn’t the only anti-gay activist seeking to take the symbol of the rainbow “back” from the “gay lobby,” as Washington state pastor and NOM-ally Kenneth Hutcherson, who is working to overturn the state’s marriage equality law, writes today in WorldNetDaily that it is time to “take back the rainbow for God” and let “the homosexual community find a different religious symbol to commandeer.”
How did we get here? Just when was this symbol liquidated of its meaning? When was the sign pointing to God’s promise intentionally co-opted to point to a certain lifestyle choice? Let’s just say that the homosexual movement has been busy over the last couple of decades and that many of these changes have taken place without so much as a peep from the larger Christian community. Rome’s burning; Nero’s fiddling; and Christians are taking a well-deserved nap.
Yes, let’s take back the rainbow for God. Let the homosexual community find a different religious symbol to commandeer. If they were feeling congenial, perhaps the Muslims would let them borrow their crescent moon. In these desperate economic times, maybe the Wiccans would rent the pentagram to them. I don’t really care. What I want is for the Christian community to wake up, wipe the sleep from their eyes, and realize that they are in a spiritual battle that isn’t going away and has no demilitarized zones. The rainbow is a symbol, but it’s meaning points to the very character of God. So Christians …use this God-given symbol for His glory. Using it won’t make you a homosexual. It won’t make you a New Ager. It won’t make leprechauns real. But it might allow you to get into conversations with people who need to meet the very One Who gave us His promise in the first place.
Joseph Backholm, the Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington and the leader of the Preserve Marriage Washington campaign to repeal Washington’s marriage equality law, appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday where he likened same-sex marriage to the medical practice of bloodletting. Just as bloodletting was once a common practice until it was abandoned for not working, Backholm claimed, so too marriage equality for gays and lesbians will eventually be rejected even in states where it is legal. He went on to argue that the movement for equal rights for gays and lesbians is not comparable to the civil rights movement because, according to Backholm, “today’s argument about the redefinition of marriage would be like the civil rights movement if the civil rights movement was an attempt to have black people be referred to as white people.”
Backholm: Redefining marriage in this way, saying that there is no difference between men and women, that it’s not important for children to have both a mother and a father, that’s not just bad policy, it’s wrong in the eternal sense. So because it’s untrue, it will ultimately be proven as untrue and we will come around to recognize the error of our ways. We used to believe in bloodletting as good medical practice, culture has embraced a lot of things temporarily until they realized it’s based on things that are not true. This is one of those, it has to be temporary, not just because I want it to be temporary, but because it’s untrue in the eternal sense.
Mefferd: That’s a good way of saying it. They have through their propaganda and the means by which they talk about this issue in the media all the time, won a lot of people over to the cause who aren’t thinking very deeply about it, part of the way they’ve done this is talking about equality and civil rights, trying to equate it with the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. The problem is back in the 1960s when we’re talking about the mistreatment of African Americans, that was something that was wrong to do, in this case we’re talking about legitimizing immoral behavior and calling it marriage. I don’t know how you get around the immorality angle of it unless you just say it straight out, this is immoral behavior, we are not going to legitimize this as a nation.
Backholm: Sure, it’s a very fair argument and there are a lot of people within the church who are moved by that. But when we talk about the civil rights issue, the reason these are different, today’s argument about the redefinition of marriage would be like the civil rights movement if the civil rights movement was an attempt to have black people be referred to as white people.
Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Ministries is leading a boycott of companies which endorsed a marriage equality bill in Washington state, including Google, Starbucks and Amazon, charging them with “working against Jesus and leading people to sin and to possibly go to hell.” Andrew, who previously claimed that “Starbucks hates God” over the company’s backing of gay rights, told the Christian Post that any company that favors marriage equality is “anti-God” and is “doing the devil's work.”
Andrew is currently involved in a boycott against Starbucks after the coffee company began supporting a gay marriage bill proposed in Washington State. He recently added a few others to the list as well, including Nike, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, asking Christians to no longer provide business to those corporations, which he claimed promoted homosexual sin.
For Andrew, his nonviolent protests did have a "biblical warrant." "Boycotting anti-God companies is one way a Christian lives out the First Commandment," the author of Making a Strong Christian Nation, told The Christian Post. "If you love Jesus, you won't give your money to those working against Jesus, our Savior."
He believed that if the stores in Sodom and Gomorrah that openly mocked God were boycotted, they could have possibly been saved. "God calls Christians and churches to not share in the sins of others. To love God is to flee sexual immorality. If we help the wicked, then God's Word says God judges us (2 Chronicles 19:2). God calls Christians to 100 percent love Him and to 100 percent oppose sin."
God also called the United States to have the fear of God as a nation, but complacency with sin did not indicate fear of God, Andrew asserted.
"Ungodly politicians, Starbucks, Nike, Amazon and others are doing the devil's work ... trying to 'change' our Christian laws into non-Christian laws ... Every Christian and church should boycott companies making light of Jesus Christ. It is unwise for a Christian to give their money to those working against Jesus and leading people to sin and to possibly go to hell."
Family Research Council vice president Rob Schwarzwalder yesterday called for a boycott of Starbucks and warned that the company may be endangering the country’s economic health by supporting marriage equality in Washington. “By supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit,” Schwarzwalder writes, “[Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.”
It’s difficult to see how ensuring that gays and lesbians have the right to marry would “vitiate the already weakened family unit” and consequently damage the economy, as studies show that marriage equality is actually a boon to the economy. Researchers have also found the legalizing same-sex marriage does not impact the divorce rate of married opposite-sex couples. But according to Schwarzwalder, marriage equality has “dangerous implications for individuals, families, and culture.”
My home state of Washington has produced some of America’s leading corporations and entrepreneurs: Microsoft and Bill Gates; the Nordstrom, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser families and their eponymously named companies; the Eddie Bauer sporting goods empire; and the nearly omnipresent Starbucks (almost 11,000 stores worldwide). Starbucks emerged in the 1970s at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. One of my sisters bought me a bag of cocoa powder from this location more than three decades ago; if I still had it, it likely would fetch a nice collector’s price.
For many years, I’ve enjoyed going to Starbucks, becoming acquainted with any number of “baristas” and drinking enough of its variously flavored beverages that “grande” characterizes my waistline as much as the size of a given drink. Even when traveling in the Middle East, the taste of a frappuccino has been a welcome reminder that one can go home again. And I’ve always been glad to go into a place that, in some ways, still reminds me of home (there’s a reason Starbucks’ interiors usually are muted; it’s a Pacific Northwest thing).
With Microsoft and several other major firms, Starbucks last month endorsed the effort of some of the Evergreen State’s leading politicians to enact homosexual “marriage.” Although this initiative passed in the state legislature and was signed into law by departing Gov. Christine Gregoire, it likely will be on the state ballot in November.
What is a bit maddening, given Starbucks’ strident advocacy for the redefinition of marriage, is CEO Howard Schultz’s claim that he is non-political. As he said just a few days ago, ”I have no interest in public office … I have only one interest, and that is I want the country to be on the right track.”
To Schultz’s credit, he authored a pledge, now signed by a fairly large group of CEOs, in which they promise, “I join my fellow concerned Americans in pledging to withhold any further campaign contributions to elected members of Congress and the President until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing.”
This is admirable, and no doubt motivated by a patriotic desire to see the U.S. once again become the engine of economic growth that, for so many decades, it has been. Yet the key to a strong economy is a strong family – a family composed of a father, a mother, and children. The hard data prove it. By supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit, Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.
Additionally, Schultz’s decrying of divisiveness rings a bit hollow when he plunges his company feet-first into the culture wars. The effort to redefine marriage to include same-sex partners is a radical social innovation, one fraught with dangerous implications for individuals, families, and culture. Claiming to be post-political and then allowing one’s chief corporate spokesperson to say that same-sex “marriage” is “is core to who we are and what we value as a company” are assertions that don’t quite add up.