Monday, March 26, 2012

the last post from Starbucks...

I’m sitting in “my spot” at “my Starbucks”.  Hilton Head has a truly amazing Starbucks on the North End in Pineland Station.  The layout is awesome with plenty of cushy seats and a “vault” room for those who want a more conferencey setting.  The Baristas are some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered.  It’s a multi generational crew who include moms, retirees, the occasional hipster and a gal who upon taking my order tonight excitedly showed me her engagement ring. Another barista just gave me a free pastry.  They’ve managed to to take a huge franchise and give it a truly hometown feel.  I love it.
I also love coffee, and people know it.  As a “gold card” holder, I receive gift cards all the time as tokens of appreciation, thanks and birthdays.  It’s a go-to and much appreciated gift for everyone who knows me.  And since I’m a brewed coffee fan-- I don’t need a latte, just a strong dark roast with a bit of cream so my gift cards stretch and I frequent this Starbucks several time a week.
This is why it grieves me that before I get up from this cushy chair, I will be going to and... well... dumping Starbucks.  However, I wanted to blog my reasons because I have an inflated internet-ego and live under the illusion that people sit at home, reading my tweets, dying to know my motivation for doing things.
It was recently announced that Starbucks has adopted “a corporate-wide position that the definition of marriage between one man and one woman should be eliminated and that same-sex marriage should become equally 'normal'”.   To clarify, they didn’t just take a passive, “I’m ok, you’re ok” position.  They’ve stated that it’s one of their “core values” and followed with legal action. It’s this-- their political involvement-- that I find offensive.
I believe that marriage was instituted by God when He created us as male and female, and I believe what the Church teaches-- that it is “ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1601).  Procreation between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is simply not possible.  Therefore, marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is simply not possible.  Do I love my friends who are attracted to members of the same sex?  you betcha...  Just like I love my friends who choose to use contraception, have sex outside of marriage, etc, etc, etc.  I don’t go around boycotting people just because I disagree with their sexual morality.  Only befriending people we agree with is certainly not what Jesus would do.    My annoyance with Starbucks in no way transfers to anyone living the lifestyle they are seeking to promote.
It’s the audacity of Starbucks-- their attempt to re-define something that God did perfectly fine at creation-- that has me steamed (no pun intended).  It’s their decision to use resources acquired from my purchases to “participate in a legal case seeking to overturn a federal law declaring marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”  It’s this brazen involvement in politics and morality that I simply cannot support.  I realize there are other corporations that I should boycott and I invite you to point them out because these days, as a pro-life Catholic, it’m losing track. However, Starbucks goes first.  They are simply too outspoken to ignore.
But I am really going to miss these cushy chairs.

Friday, March 23, 2012


When my friend Anne was teaching English to some spunky Creole girls in Belize, she admonished Sandy Jones, one of the feistiest students in her class.  Sandy turned around and glared at mild-mannered Anne, an English Literature major from Boston who thought nothing of offering a bit of correction.  Sandy's eyes narrowed and she growled (in a tone that would haunt Anne for the rest of the semester and her adult life) "Miss...  You have ignited the wrong flame."  

Anne admitted that while she did not know what exactly that meant, it terrified her.  She learned soon enough that Sandy and her friends would make her life miserable-- talking back, questioning assignments, trying her patience in every way and tormenting subs to the point that no one would cover her class.  While she stood by her initial decision, she learned that she had, indeed "ignited the wrong flame".

Today, in over 140 cities nationwide, there will be rallies to stand up for religious freedom.  The hope is that our President and Congress will see that with the HHS Mandate-- forcing Catholics to violate their consciences and pay for contraception, sterilization and abortions-- they have ignited the wrong flame.  We will speak up, act up and-- if necessary-- resort to civil disobedience-- before we disobey our God.  

We have a cloud of witnesses-- a tradition of over 2000 years of saints and martyrs who have risked their reputations and shed their blood -- and have led us to this moment by their example.  Truth does not change, whether it's accepted and practiced by 100% or .01% of the population. 

Mr. President, you have ignited the wrong flame.  

If you're like me and unable to attend the rallies due to distance or work, do the following:
Share this fact sheet with your friends, explain that this is not a birth control issue, it's a liberty issue.
Call your congress person at the Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask them to overturn the HHS Mandate.
Register to vote and vote for a president who will allow us to be Catholic.