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Starbucks, Willow Creek
Split Over Gay Issue

BY STAFF                                                                                                                            ©2011 Baptist Press
Shortly before he was scheduled to address thousands at the annual Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz withdrew, prompted by a petition signed by only 700 people on the liberal website that said Willow Creek Community Church has a "long anti-gay history."

The petition objects not to the purpose or content of the annual leadership summit, but to former associations of the host. Willow Creek Community Church once had a relationship with Exodus International, the nation's largest Christian organization dedicated to reaching out to homosexuals. The church's break with Exodus drew criticism from some conservative Christians.

The petition called for a Starbucks boycott, saying that by not denouncing conversion therapy, Starbucks was giving "tacit approval."

Gay activists have targeted a growing number of corporations working with churches and ministries on various projects. The activists often call conservative Christian organizations "hate groups" and the label seems to be sticking.

However, "'hate' is too big a word to be thrown around with so little discretion," said Focus on the Family President Jim Daly.

"It is a damaging and dangerous thing to hang such an emotional epithet on a person or group because they think differently about some issues than you do," Daly said. "Believing what the Bible says about human sexuality is a personal conviction, not an act of persecution."   

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