Darren. 19, Sydney.
Wanderlust and the French language. International Studies and Law student at the University of New South Wales.
Recent revelations in Australia about Gloria Jean’s Coffees’s hefty donation of $30,000 to the Australian Christian Lobby in 2009 have resulted in public scrutiny of the business’ philanthropic dealings, pushing headspace to withdraw their support for R U OK? Day this year.
The misconception that the religious beliefs of their Management Team, some of which are parishioners at Hillsong Church, do not manifest in their dealings must be addressed. Each Gloria Jean’s franchisee was required to display a collection box for one of their initiatives, Mercy Ministries, until the program was forced to close in 2009 due to Herald investigations and ACCC reports of misrepresentation. As well as this, it is Jireh International that trades as Gloria Jean’s Coffees, and Jireh is a compound name for Jehovah. Take of that what you will.
Their Facebook post on Friday reeks of the idea disproved by genetics research that sexual orientation is a choice, using language like “freedom to choose who they love” and “freedom of choice… marriage or otherwise”.
The statement was also quick to assert their non-affiliation with Hillsong, but said nothing of the religious foundation of the other NGOs they support: Waterhope partners with a program that “integrates Christian values into the regular learning modules”, Opportunity International is “founded on Christian values” and, as pointed out by Chrys Stevenson, Compassion International clearly states:
Compassion funds will not be used to purchase or promote the distribution of condoms. The message of “safe sex” to youth is contradictory to the Biblical message of sexual purity.
A personal note: I never knew Christian values had anything to do with the universal rights to water access and economic self-determination, but all right. In addition, GJ’s declares that they have a “strong belief in diversity”, there is no evidence that there is any desire for religious diversity.
Now, some comments/refutations:
Bigotry is “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself”. Such a word implies that there is room for tolerance or a middle ground between conflicting views of marriage, which there clearly isn’t: you either believe that marriage is between a man and a wom*n, or you believe that it is between two persons. In addition, to call the movement for marriage equality bigoted is to simplify the cause. It is a movement that is intolerant of differing opinions of marriage for the aforementioned reason, but also of the clear violation of the civil right to marriage equality.