by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Slowly but surely, traditional American culture and values are being swept away by liberal, progressive activists and culture warriors who actively encourage a break from our past, even if they don't say so directly.
The latest example of this dramatic cultural shift comes from coffee icon Starbucks, whose CEO and founder recently told customers and shareholders who happen to believe in the historical nature of marriage as a construct between one man and one woman to stay out of his stores.
At the company's annual meeting in Seattle recently, CEO/founder Howard Schultz was challenged by a shareholder who questioned his well-publicized position of supporting gay marriage and last year's support of a referendum in Washington state backing same-sex marriages. Schultz's position led to calls to boycott Starbucks from the National Organization for Marriage, and the shareholder explained that led to lower-than-expected earnings.
No tolerance for traditional points of view"In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing," said the shareholder, Tom Strobhar, whom the Huffington Post identified as the founder of the anti-gay marriage group Corporate Morality Action Center.
The criticism did not seem to affect Schultz.
"Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38 percent shareholder return over the last year," he said, according to a video of his response posted here.
"I don't know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38 percent over the last 12 months," he continued. "Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds."
The gathered shareholders responded with uproarious applause.
Schultz concluded: "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."
While national attitudes toward same-sex marriage have turned around over the past decade according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey, people who still support the traditional definition of marriage (even if they support a same-sex legal "union") are openly mocked, ridiculed and labeled as "bigots" and "homophobes."
Not a free country for allWhile many Americans mouth platitudes about supporting First Amendment "religious freedom," anyone who voices an opinion that doesn't comport with the liberal point of view on this issue is chastised. If traditional marriage supporters are business owners, they are targeted for boycotts, picketed, and even sued in court. The end result is that the business is put out of business, and peoples' livelihoods are taken away from them.
If the traditional marriage supporter is a politician or public figure, he or she will be shamed by the mainstream media, shouted down by gay rights activists (who are given platform after platform to do so by the mainstream media) and forced to apologize. The lone exception in the current 2016 presidential race is billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, although he has not made any claims to only support traditional marriage.
It's the worst kind of thought control, and it's about as anti-Constitution as it gets. After all, the nation's founding document is supposed to protect the rights of everyone to say and think what they wish as long as such speech is not otherwise deemed illegal (for example, slander).
Even if we don't agree with what that person is saying.
Apparently the Starbucks CEO stands with those who would usurp such speech because it's not what they personally believe.
During his rant against the concerns of the traditional marriage shareholder, Schultz said, "It's a free country." However, his intolerance belies that; in a truly free country where all points of view are equally respected, he would not have felt the need to belittle anyone.