BBC Documentary Linking Catholic Church Investments to Pornography

Tom Strobhar has urged religious minded investors to refrain from investing in companies that promote and profit from human weakness through the sale of pornography. See the attached link where Mr. Strobhar, in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary, Hardcore Profits, explains Christian objections to pornography while the largest investor of Catholic funds in the world tries to defend their ownership of companies that sell the most offensive material imaginable.

In a nod to ecumenism, the investment practices of the Knights of Columbus, the Christian Brothers Investment Services, Southern Baptist Annuity Board, the United Methodist Board of Pensions have all been exposed by Thomas Strobhar.

The Corporate Morality Action Center will continue this maverick tradition. It is committed to afflicting the comfortable, be they corporations or religious groups, and aiding those who take seriously the mandate to transform the world.

BBC Documentary Linking Catholic Church Investments to Pornography:

Has Starbucks’ Stance on Gay Marriage Cost Shareholders Millions?

Is it prudent to risk the economic interest of all the shareholders on something that affects the private life of a very small number of employees? Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, coffee guru and Forbes 2010 Businessman of the Year, answered my simple question related to Starbucks’ decision to publicly support same sex marriage in Washington state by saying he did believe it was prudent. To much applause at the Starbucks annual meeting, he explained he wanted people to “feel good about where they work.” Mr. Schultz pointed to the stock price as an indicator that the market endorsed his decision.

He had a point. The price of Starbucks was near new highs and would go on to even greater heights in the weeks following the meeting. What he failed to acknowledge was Starbucks had been a tremendously successful company long before they announced their support for same sex marriage. The word was just getting out on this most recent position. Indeed, it wasn’t until after the annual meeting that the National Organization for Marriage called for a boycott of the Starbucks brand.

Unfortunately for Starbucks and their shareholders, in the first full three month reporting period since the annual meeting, Starbucks’ earnings, while strongly positive, came in below analysts’ estimates and even below Starbucks’ own guidance. This last point being perhaps the most concerning factor – it suggested Starbucks was unaware of the problem. The stock declined over 10% after the announcement, giving Starbucks its worst one-day loss in over a decade.

The problem, according to Starbucks, was domestic sales. What caused this? The boycott? According to YouGov BrandIndex, Starbucks had a positive BUZZ at the start of the year, which was very similar among both Democrats and Republicans (15.7 blue vs. 14.6 red). After Starbucks’ marriage announcement in January, the study indicated the BUZZ among Democrats increased (19.3) while it declined among Republicans (10.7).

While most people won’t formally boycott a brand, a little negative news can cause more than a few people to pass on a higher priced cup of coffee. Even a small drop in projected sales can translate into unpleasant earnings surprises. This is what appears to have happened here. With the stock down over 15% since the announcement and over 25% from its highs, shareholders are no longer applauding.

What may be more worrisome is how Starbucks’ public position on marriage might affect sales in parts of the world where gay marriage isn’t just an issue, it is unthinkable. In the Mideast, Africa, India and especially China, where Starbucks sees its highest growth potential, the impact on earnings could be even greater than in the States. While these countries don’t have Republicans and Democrats, people’s tastes are clearly more red than blue.

Is this the end of the world for Starbucks? Hardly. They are likely to grow, but shareholders did lose over six billion dollars in market value since the earnings announcement and over twelve billion from its high. This all occurred while the overall stock market was relatively stable. Clearly, Starbucks is losing some of its “mojo” as a growth company.

Howard Schultz is a smart guy, but he can’t easily extricate himself from this now. Interestingly, the company is emphasizing in public releases that they did not fund any organizations involved in changing marriage laws in Washington. Somewhat curiously, they begged off a would-be “Starbucks Appreciation Day” promulgated by a gay and lesbian rights group. It was to be a counterpoint to the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” which resulted in record sales for Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A’s owner, Dan Cathy, expressed his personal support for traditional marriage. Unlike Starbucks, Chick-fil-A is a private company. In light of Starbucks recent earnings release, they would presumably love a potential record sales day.

It is quite possible some shareholders might sue Starbucks for their missteps and misleading guidance. Trying to make perhaps one percent of the employees happy in their private lives may have cost the company billions of dollars in market value and tarnished their growth company image.

Was it prudent? Starbucks does have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the shareholders and to act as a prudent person would act. They must use common sense. Harming shareholders by taking sides on one of the most controversial issues of the day may or may not be illegal. Perhaps it is, to quote Talleyrand, “worse than wrong, it is stupid.”

Maybe Mr. Schultz should sit down, have a barista serve up a five-dollar caffeinated concoction, and remember what it was that put him in this position: selling coffee, not re-defining marriage.

Starbucks CEO to Christian shareholders: Buy stock elsewhere

Let Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz know you don’t agree with his company’s aggressive attempts to re-define marriage.

March 26, 2013

Dear Thomas,

At the annual shareholder’s meeting last week, Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz, insulted Christians throughout the country by suggesting they buy stocks in other coffee businesses if they do not agree with his position on same-sex marriage. It is no surprise that Starbucks supports homosexual marriage.

They have been sending liberal messages for years. But this is beyond anything we have seen from the left or the right. Shultz went as far as to tell shareholders who support Christian values to sell their stock and support other companies.

According to ChristianNews.net, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder, raised a question during the shareholder’s meeting about the significant drop in sales after a boycott from the National Organization for Marriage, who was protesting Starbucks support of homosexual marriage in Washington state.

See this interview in which Starbucks shareholder Tom Strobhar explains what happened at the meeting. It includes a clip of Mr. Shultz’ comments.

“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing,” said Strobhar.

In response, Starbucks’ CEO Shultz said the company’s decision to support gay marriage was not an economic one and snidely suggested Strobhar and other Christians who support natural marriage can take their investment elsewhere.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% 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.”

TAKE ACTION

1. Send an email to Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz, asking the company to remain neutral in the issue of gay marriage. We have prepared a letter for you to send. If you are a customer, please add your personal note to the message.

2. If you are a Starbucks shareholder, consider taking Mr. Shultz’ advice and sell your Starbucks stock.

3. Take strong action by resolving to no longer support Starbucks by taking your business elsewhere.

Take Action Now Send an email to Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz now!

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

UPS Says No to Boy Scouts. Yes to Gay Groups.

DAYTON, Ohio, Nov. 20, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — UPS recently announced it would stop funding the Boy Scouts of America because the Boy Scouts will not risk having its scouts led by scoutmasters who might have a sexual interest in the boys. The Boys Scouts of America faces millions of dollars in lawsuits because of past abuses by gay scoutmasters.

According to a report from the Biblically Responsible Investment Institute, UPS has given over $400,000 to nation’s largest LGBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign. In addition, they have given thousands of dollars to other gay groups.

The Human Rights Campaign keeps track of gay-friendly companies and has consistently given UPS a score of 100%. UPS has even bragged about the score. The Human Rights Campaign frequently calls people “haters” and “bigots” if they believe marriage should only consist of one man and one woman.

Attacking organizations which support traditional sexual views may have unintended and possibly life-threatening consequences. For example, a day after the Human Rights Campaign repeated the charge that the Family Research Council was a “hate group,” an employee of another LGBT organization walked in to the headquarters of the Family Research Council, armed with 50 rounds of ammunition and a bagful of Chick-fil-A sandwiches, and began shooting the “haters” who worked there.

According to Thomas Strobhar, President of the Corporate Morality Action Center, “UPS should be careful whom they support with money that belongs to all the shareholders. The Boys Scouts are a national treasure with legitimate interests regarding the safety of the scouts, while the Human Rights Campaign has contributed greatly to a lack of civility in public discourse.”