Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Starbucks and Subsidiarity

I absolutely love Starbucks coffee. I first started falling in love with coffee about five years ago when I started having it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I started drinking it more frequently, and now I have coffee a few days a week.

For several years Starbucks was my only source for coffee. I loved going there and getting a warm mug of coffee and sometimes I would even treat myself to one of their delicious scones (pumpkin being my favorite).

If I wasn't drinking coffee at Starbucks I was brewing Starbucks at the rectory. My favorite blend was the first one I fell in love with - Christmas Blend. Like Pavlov's dog the little red bag of Christmas blend would get me pumped for all the other wonderful things about Christmas.

Then it happened...

As Lifestie summarizes - "Kalen Holmes, Starbucks executive vice president, told U.S. partners in January that the Seattle-based company backed Washington state’s same-sex “marriage” legislation as “core to who we are and what we value as a company.”

At a board meeting on March 21, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz confirmed Holmes’ statement as the position adopted by the board and “not something that was a difficult decision for us.

Most of the people I know boycott Starbucks for supporting something that is seeking to undermine marriage. The priests I gather with on Thursdays at Starbucks now go elsewhere. The point here isn't so much to point out the Starbucks boycott but rather to talk a bit about subsidiarity.

As followers of the blog can attest, I am a big fan of subsidiarity. It is the Catholic social teaching that says things (commerce, government, schools, etc.) should be done at the smallest level possible. We've heard a lot about "buying local" lately, but the Church has been pumping that for centuries...and this Starbucks debacle provides a great illustration of one of the reasons why.

When companies get to be as large as Starbucks, suddenly they aren't just selling coffee anymore, they have so much money that they can publicly start supporting causes and have a GIANT impact on these causes with their coffers of cash. Often the public is under the guise that they are just buying a hamburger or a coffee or shopping at Wal-Mart, but the Church (and a lot of economists recently) are pointing out that people have no idea where their money goes, and most of it leaves the community.

I've since found lots of locally owned coffee shops, and I actually am going to start getting my coffee beans from some monks in Wyoming. I know where my money is going now, and even if the local coffee shop owner does decide to support the redefining of marriage, the best he/she is going to be able to contribute is, say, a few thousand bucks.

When governments OR companies get too big, everyone starts to lose.

Be Catholic - GO LOCAL!!!


  1. Oh no, I have been purchasing Starbucks coffee and even having it donated to my school. They have entered into a"partnership" with us and by doing so, they have donated a pound of coffee ever since Dec. (I have Christmas Blend in the coffee urn now as a matter of fact).....I will end our relationship today.

    I am sorry.

    1. I trust that you will all be boycotting Apple, Microsoft and Facebook who all eqaully support SSM as much as Starbucks do......no? Ah just a boycott of conveneince for you then isn't - not that i would be bothered but it would be mighty hypocritical for you to boycott starbucks but ignore the fact that you are still supporting SSM by blogging and linking to facebook.

    2. Actually, there is nothing hypocritical about boycotting a luxury product when there are alternatives available and not boycotting every platform important communicating tool because there are no alternatives. Show me an OS from a company that doesn't support grave evils and I'll consider it.

      Scott W.

  2. I was not a regular Starbucks customer, but after learning of their support for same-sex marriage, I am now a life-long Starbucks customer and supporter. They are also helping create jobs in this terrible economy through their Jobs for USA program. How many jobs is NOM creating?

    1. is job creation a good tool to judge moral issues? If so, WWII got the German economy cranking again.

    2. Fr. Hollowell,

      If you think that gay people getting married is the only group that undermines traditional marriage...think again. Straight people are their own worst enemies when it comes to assaulting traditional marriage. Here are some examples:
      1) Divorce: Jesus said "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." How many traditionally married couples divorce every year, yet claim to be a follower of Jesus??

      2) Adultery: I can guarantee you that every single day there is somebody in this world that is committing adultery. I've seen it with some of my close friends and even some of the people I work with; but aren't close friends with. Heck, I've even seen adulterers in church! They do that yet they claim to follow Jesus.

      3) Fornication/co-habitation: I see this more than anything. Every one of my friends have fornicated before marriage and I know more than one couple that are currently co-habitating and have been doing that for years. Heck, my former roommate used to fornicate in my house with his sweet heart before he moved out and in with her! And, they are still living together in a house the two of them bought TOGETHER and aren't married yet! Fornication leads to illegitimate children and I guarantee you there are thousands illegitimate children here on earth!
      Bottom line is, take a look at the three assaults to traditional marriage and tell me that gay people getting married is the BIGGEST thing that undermines traditional marriage. Why is the church always dogging on gay people? Might as well put a sign on your church door that reads "NO GAYS ALLOWED." Deep down that's what the church wants.

    3. I agree...that's why I preach against cohabitation and fornication, and that why I won't marry a couple that is cohabitating or fornicating. (they can always lie to me about it, but if you have to lie to a priest who is marrying you, that's a pretty bad sign).

      Catholics believe that acting on sexual urges outside of marriage is sinful - that would include cohabitation, fornication, and homosexual sex. Some, however, are trying to separate homosexual sex from that list and say that it ISN'T sinful. We disagree, and we believe it leads to misery and pain and we want people to know the truth.

    4. Dear Anon, just because all your friends are doing it, doesn't mean everyone is. Many of my friends did not live together or fornicate before marriage and my husband and I didn't either. We also do not believe in divorce. No matter what, we will work it out. Of course, we have it easier than those who lived together first...because we didn't, we don't have all those issues and baggage that come with that lifestyle. Thanks be to God for that grace.

    5. Well good for you! I suppose you have a halo over that perfect straight head of yours too! Saint Elisa the great has spoken!

    6. I don't think Elisa claimed to have a halo--she sounds like the type of person who would be the first to admit she isn't even close to having one. You opened the door on the discussion and then slammed it by getting nasty. You've just decreased the effectiveness of your stance.

    7. "Why is the church always dogging on gay people? Might as well put a sign on your church door that reads "NO GAYS ALLOWED." Deep down that's what the church wants.

      Tell ya what. If there is ever an Adulterer's Pride Parade and states start mandating Great Adulterers in History for public schools, I'll lobby the Church to start making more commentary on the wrongness of adultery.

      Which is to say, the Church is outspoken on homosexuality entirely in proportion to the cultural onslaught to normalize it. Yes, years of neglect have caused fornication to be overlooked, but that building has already been burned, and you have to fight the fire where it is blazing.

      Scott W.

  3. What would Jesus do?

    Back in those days? Some Romans were pretty open about their gay sexuality. (and sex)

    seems to me? if this was going on back then? Jesus would have made a comment or two,

    Perhaps a sermon, or story?

    I'm sure this "Abomination" would have caught his eye. and HE would have made a HUGE issue out of it...(Tax collectors, Prostitutes, adulterers, etc) but yet? no real comments about the gay thing?

    I mean he Tossed out those who were changing money in the Temple. ( buying and selling)... Hows the collection plate going?

    selling masses, and Candles, etc?

    Sodom and Gomorrah? Mostly The Straight folks, Partying it up.....

    The 10 Commandments ? You think maybe there would be one about Thou shalt not sleep with another guy? (Or gal)

    I think what he said was love one another,

    Love your fellow man.

    If this was a HUGE issue with Jesus?
    he would have dedicated a whole chapter to it in the Bible.

    Spent a little more time on it while he was on this earth.

    He would have made issues with it,

    Seems the Church has the problem with it? But yet a lot of Priests took advantage of it.. LOTS!

    You know what they always say?

    He doth Protest too much?

    Perhaps all this outrage is a cover up for some secret interest???


    Makes a person wonder,

    1. The Church does not have a problem with people who are gay. The problem is with sex outside of marriage, whether you are gay or not. The Bible defined marriage between one man and one woman and that is what the church believes about marriage and why it opposes sex for persons with same sex attraction. Please look into organizations like 'Courage' and 'Encourage' and try to understand that the church truly does love everyone. For more in-depth information about what the church says regarding the Ten Commandments, please refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 'Love the sinner, hate the sin.' True followers of Jesus do not make judgements about others based on sins that they may have committed. The Church too is made up of people who are sinners and we need to remember to lift each other up in prayer daily.

      May God remain with you and surround you with His everlasting love.

  4. To the Catholic Church, Marriage is a Sacrament and (correct me if I'm wrong, Father) it is not just a contract between a man and a woman, but a contract between a man, a woman and God. The Catholic Church will never accept same-sex marriage for that reason alone. Just as it will never accept contraception, sterilization, abortion or adoption by same-sex couples. In the Catholic Church the Family is the most important social unit. A family is defined as a man and woman, who as husband and wife have children and raise them as their mother and father. Both sexes are required, not just two warm bodies.

    Progressives on the other hand, despies this traditional model of the Family and its role in society. And they especially depise the Catholic Church for promoting (and protecting) the traditional model of Family. Same-sex marriage is a direct attack on the Catholic Church, becuase that is exactly what it is and is exactly how its proponents see it.

    Once same-sex marriage/civil union laws are passed they are quickly used to silence the opposition. Catholic charities in numerous cities and states had to cease all adoption services because laws approving same-sex marriage/unions were used to outlaw the denial of adoption to same-sex couples. Catholic adoption agencies (which facilitated adoptions long before any government or private entities did) had to close down their services. Furthermore, same-sex marriage/civil union laws have encouraged lawsuits against numerous churches for not allowing same-sex "wedding" ceremonies on the premises. Even privately owned businesses are threatened and bullied into providing services to same-sex "weddings".

    Most proponents of same-sex marriage could really care less about marriage. (Think about it - why should NOW, Planned Parenthood or a thousand other self-proclaimed Progressive groups care if two men can marry one another?) What they really care about is being able to use the law to their censor their opponents and limit their influcence in society. In light of the recent HHS Mandates, does anyone really think that if same-sex marriage became the law of the land, the Federal government wouldn't require the Church to officiate same-sex marriage and to stay completely quite on ALL matters that affect society?

    1. Kevin, Fulton Sheen's book is a great one - "Three to Get Married"

    2. Catholic Charities CHOOSE to close down their adoption business. They were free to continue to do adoptions, just would no longer receive government money to do so. Catholic Charities can continue to do adoptions (even while discriminating against homosexual couples) any old time they want.

    3. This is an often-circulated comment on the internet but it isn't true.

      From the Weekly Standard: “To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination.”

      It had nothing to do with federal money – Boston Catholic Charities adoption efforts were closed down by the state.

  5. @anonymous - The only thing I wonder about is whether you can compose one coherent thought. Or are old bumper sticker slogans the best you can come up with? Oh, and the false accusations you make are VERY old and tired. Of course when your reasoning is lacking, I guess that is all you can really rely on. It one thing to debate an issue, but when you start making false accusations, I have to wonder whether you are really interested in debating the issues, or just hoping to silence the opposition. I guess you are a perfect exammple of what Progressive call "tolerance".

    1. Well said. #2 on the homosexual agenda is "jamming" — "The object of jamming is to shame gay opponents into silence". Sorry, anonymous, but now is the time for Catholics to stand up for what we believe in and we will not be silent.

      Source: this great article here: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/hutchison/120322

    2. I would have to recommend you move to Iran. You won't see many gay people there.... They do to them what is instructed in Leviticus 20:13. Which, if you follow the Bible 100% that's what's supposed to happen!

    3. Do you really believe Iran's behavior is based on Leviticus 20:13? If so, enroll in a world religions online course.

      Do you really believe that Catholics believe that everything in the Bible is to be read literally? If so, enroll in a world religions online course.

    4. Fr. beat me to it. Anonymous@6:37 is giving us a varient on a meme I call "The Almighty hates shellfish" which goes that if you follow the teaching against homosexuality in Leviticus, you have to follow all those other regulations found there. It's a bad argument because it fails to recognize that Leviticus has three different types of laws: universal moral norms, ritual purity laws, and cultural regulations. The last two are largely superceded by Christ and are thus no longer in effect; the universal moral norms never change however. And the duty to slay violators of these norms is remitted which is shown in the incident with Our Lord and the woman caught in adultery. Progressives can be counted on to cite this incident as proof against any kind of judgement whatsoever. What they conveniently forget is the what Our Lord says at the end: "Go and sin no more." Adultery is STILL a sin. And like adultery, homosexuality is condemned in the Old Testament without exception, condemned again in the New Testament without exception, and condemned again throughout Sacred Tradition and the Early Church Fathers without exception. This is incidently, why that other bad argumen--that the Church changed its teaching on usury which means they could change it on other things like homosexuality--is a turkey. From the OT on through the medieval Church there was always exceptions to the usury rules--not so for offenses against chastity (homosex, adultery, fornication, masturbation, etc).

      This is good news for the sinner. On the one hand there is God's mercy and Christians are commanded to forgiveness rather than capital punishment. On the other through Our Lord's grace it is possible for the sinner to stop being a slave to Lust and acheive true freedom.

      Scott W.

  6. Dang. I liked buying their stuff, too. We spent a fair amount there every week. It should not be very hard to find coffee somewhere else that's as good and not cost as much.

  7. Great article...i actually stopped my starbucks habit wben I learned they support planned parenthood. I love the buy local angle. That is very important to our family as well.

  8. Thank you. Not just for the article, but also for the articulate and kind replies to the negative feedback here. The church cannot be seen to sink down to the same level of ridicule and abuse that supporters of gay marriage use against those who disagree with their cause. God bless.