Should Howard Schultz have Caved to Homosexual Activitist Censorship?

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Last week, Willow Creek Church and its association held its Global Leadership Summit; a worldwide leadership conference for Christians. Every year, this conference invites a cross section of our population to speak and share leadership principles to help improve our world. Past speakers have included Jim Collins (“Good to Great” book author), Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Jack Welch, and others. Willow Creek invites leaders to share their not-exclusively-Christian message to A LOT of Christians worldwide. This year, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, was invited to come, and he accepted. I have no doubt he would have shared some pearls of wisdom from his book “Onward” that sells in Starbucks stores worldwide. However, when homosexual activists protested his presence at the conference, he caved and withdrew from the speaking engagement.

So, the question this week is: Should Howard Schultz have caved to homosexual activist censorship? Other related questions that also come to mind… Was this an appropriate response? Does the homosexual community benefit from this censorship? Does the Christian community benefit from this censorship? Does Starbucks, it’s customers, employees, and stockholders benefit from this censorship? Would you have recommended he speak or stay home?

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  1. says

    I thought I posted a response to this, but it was on Facebook (and must not carry over here). Anyway, I think Bill Hybels was right to call on conference participants to forgive Schultz for caving to the homosexual agenda. I even agreed with him that we should all patronize Starbucks to show our support. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what Schultz’ caving says about his leadership. I think the old saying is that “actions speak louder than words – and I’m having troubling listening to your words right now because your actions are so loud.”

    • Skittles says

      Your right that he needs to rethink that and next time homosexual activist come after him to stand-up and speak anyway.

  2. Skittles says

    Looking at it I can see why he would turn tail and run. While it would have really been best he stayed and spoke many (not all I know there are peaceful too) homosexual activist can be very hostile. He might have felt threatened and scared. I can’t say I blame him for that alone because he is only human as all of us are. My suggestion to Howard Schultz is that he can asked to speak this time and do it. He can’t change the past but he can ask to do it differently this time. If he explains it that way they very well should let him.

  3. Adam Birkholtz says

    I looked into this because I could have sworn Schultz is an LGBT ally. Turns out he is as I remember reading a while back. Giving something benign like leadership advice is no big deal but going to a place as anti-LGBT as Willow Creek Church would have gone over just as well with LGBT people as giving it at The Freedom from Religion Foundation would have gone over with Willow Creek Church and all Christianity. Withdrawing was best for maintaining a relationship with his customers, in my opinion (versus changing course to go somewhere else and add salt to a wound… I don’t know, maybe there isn’t a right answer, just that he took all things into account and did what he thought was right).

    • says

      Adam, I get a sense from this comment and others on our site of the issues you are passionate about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You made the statement “to a place as anti-LGBT as Willow Creek Church”. What specifically has Willow Creek Church done in your eyes to describe them as anti-LGBT? In other words, can you back up this claim?

  4. Adam Birkholtz says

    “to a place as anti-LGBT as Willow Creek Church” Thanks for addressing this. Indeed, this is an unqualified statement (lite reading and little sleep from a night shift may have contributed…). Apparently, they severed ties to Exodus International (an ex-gay group now defunct/split in different directions) in 2009 for change in focus reasons (they put less focus on ministering to gays to change and got a ton of backlash for supposedly “going soft” on homosexuality). I guess the main complaint is that they do take a stand that LGBT people should remain celibate (also one of their celibate lay leaders was asked to step down when his orientation became known). Personally, I think the petition was reactionary now that I have read a bit more, but I am personally not LGBT. I consider belief that gray area that is necessary for freedom (no thought police but Jesus, please). On the one hand you can believe whatever suits you (you can’t choose to believe what you don’t). On the other hand, how people believe the commonly named “clobber passages” and the “natural order” (which one can’t realisticly claim is caused by the believer themselves… more like group think) are to be interpreted and apply has had a huge range of results (many have split up families and harmed children). Despite all of my reading of pro-gay literature, anti-gay literature, and life experiences of gay people, I will never have a full context of what it feels like to have someone discredit whatever girl and I might be married (note: going to bed now, if anything more needs addressing or whatever other talk you would like to have, I’ll continue perhaps Monday, goodnight).

  5. Storm Smith says

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I will state now that I am a openly gay atheist college student. That being said I find the issue I have found of christian intolerance is not the belief that homosexuality is a sin, I do not begrudge you that belief. My issue comes from the following: In a state that is legally secular, attempts to force a certain view on others. For example, attempts to force a federal marriage amendment to classify marriage as between one man and women. You have every right to believe that principle, but in your attempts to place that belief which i feel is inherently christian on a secular nation. My issue is not on your belief that marriage is a holy union between a man and a women, or that sex is for procreation, if that is your belief. My issue is when you attempted to force your view what is right whether the issue be marriage or abortion. Also using terms such as homosexual activists or homosexual agenda. I feel in that you are inherently passing judgement and demeaning what for people like myself is a struggle for dignity and toleration.

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