Disclaimer: This may turn into a rant, but I’ll try to keep it a balanced discussion. However, those who know me well are aware how any scandal that besmirches the good name of coffee vending raises my ire.
If you’ve been frequenting similar areas of Facebook/Twitter/Blogsphere that I’ve been, you may have heard of a little bit of a sh*tstorm in the past few days regarding the coffee chain “Gloria Jean’s”
The basic gist of the story is that the coffee chain, which is owned by members of the Hillsong Church, donated $30,000 to the Australian Christian Lobby in the last election year. At the outset, I’ll make it clear that this donation was made by the owners, and was not (as far as I know) done in consultation with the franchisees.
GJs have said in a statement that the donation was a once off, made “in support of the prime ministerial debate only”. They also are at great pains to point out that Gloria Jeans “are not religiously affiliated or affiliated to any other beliefs or preferences, including Hillsong” – evidently, hoping we’ll forget all about that business with Mercy Ministries a few years ago.
On the discussion thread on their Facebook page (currently 350 comments or so), many are calling for a boycott of Gloria Jeans. Which is hard for me to implement, because I was already doing so.
On a (somewhat) related note, over in Georgia in the US, the Ku Klux Klan are looking to Adopt-a-Highway – causing a slight headache given that the application cannot be denied merely on religious or political views. (I do wonder whether they intend to paint the tarmac white? )
Which brings me to the subject of charity: Should the KKK be prevented from doing charity (arguably a public good) merely because it brings them publicity? Should a company be held to account for donating to a political party or charity? After all – they, like us, are entitiled to religious and political views. If we don’t like them, the polling booth or the MP’s office is the place to make that statement. I recall an incident at a previous workplace where, after the tsunami had devastated Indonesia, one staff member was happy to donate to the relief efforts, but not to Red Cross because she was Jewish and felt that (despite their charter) they were de-facto a religious charity since they used a cross as their emblem. (I’d presume she wasn’t a blood donor, then…)Tweet this!