An Open Letter to Howard Schultz

March 25, 2013

Dear Mr. Schultz:

We love Starbucks and have been fans and patrons for decades.  We’ve collected Starbucks coffee cups from Hawaii to the British Isles.  I spend most Friday mornings in our local store enjoying lattes, Americanos, or, last Friday, a delicious peppermint mocha, usually bringing home beans for the week (this past week it was Dark Espresso Roast and Guatemalan Casi Cielo).

We love the story of the early days of Starbucks­—its revival and your commitment to provide a great place of employment, as well as benefits, to even part-time employees.  Starbucks really has been an example of the best traditions of American entrepreneurship and business models.

So it is with marked sadness that I tell you I won’t be giving my future business to your stores.  You see, I find myself on the opposite side of the cultural and political battle lines you and others have drawn over what’s being called “same-sex marriage.”

As you’re aware, same-sex “marriage” is a watershed issue in American culture, politics, and history, pitting oppositional worldviews and values against each other.  While I’m aware you and others hold that granting “marriage” status to homosexuals and lesbians represents equal treatment under the law and an appropriate, even required, respect for their lifestyle choices, I find myself firmly on the other side of this divide.

Like the president of the Chick-fil-A Corporation, I absolutely believe in showing others of every race, religion, and—yes—sexual orientation the respect I believe is due them because they bear the image of God.  At the same time I also believe homosexuality and lesbianism is a deficient and harmful distortion of the image of God, which both dishonors our maker and brings about death in a variety of guises into the lives of those who practice and promote these distortions. I firmly believe your support of this distortion, and that of the Starbucks Corporation, will in fact ultimately harm those you mean to help.

I find myself constrained to use the freedom I enjoy in this country, for now at least, to, as you invited your shareholder in the recent shareholder meeting to do, take my business elsewhere.  Like your position of advancing the homosexual agenda, my decision to oppose it and to refrain from patronizing Starbucks is not primarily an economic one but a moral and ethical one.  In trying, very imperfectly, to obey the two chief commands of God (to love Him first and above all else, and love my neighbor as myself), even in our coffee drinking, we will buy our coffee elsewhere.

In marriage and other spheres of life, I find myself far more confident in the ethics and wisdom of the One who said marriage was the joining of a man and a woman in a one flesh union (Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4-6) than in the opinions of coffee moguls or in the shifting tides of popular morality.  Cheers.

Yours respectfully,

Mike Halpin


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About Mike Halpin

Mike Halpin is an elder at Lion and Lamb Church in Topeka, KS (www.lionandlambchurch.com). He is spoiled by his delightful wife Cathie and blessed by his children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren.
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One Response to An Open Letter to Howard Schultz

  1. chad barker says:

    Love it. Very well put.

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