By Bob Allen
A guest preacher told worshippers at a prominent Southern Baptist church in Alabama that Christians should not drink Starbucks coffee because the company supports gay marriage.
“Starbucks is pouring all this money into destroying traditional marriage,” David Barton of WallBuilders said May 19 from the pulpit of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala.
Barton, a former preacher and teacher controversial for his advocacy of Christianity playing a more prominent role in American society and politics, cited news about Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz defending the global coffee giant’s support of same-sex marriage at a shareholder meeting in March among examples of how Christians should apply Bible principles to daily life.
“At their stockholder meeting one of the folks, a stockholder, said ‘You know, we’ve got a whole lot of people who support traditional marriage.’ We’re out front on gay marriage. We’re going to lose a lot of people who buy Starbucks coffee who don’t believe in that,” Barton said. “And he [Schultz] said profits that roll into this company are going to be poured into overturning traditional marriage.”
“They funded big time trying to destroy marriage in California through Prop. 8,” Barton said. “They did successfully pour a ton of money into whipping traditional marriage in Washington. In the election of 2012 Washington said, ‘No, we want homosexual marriage, not traditional marriage.’”
“So Starbucks is pouring all this money into destroying traditional marriage,” Barton said. “The question is, can a Christian give money to a group he knows will use it to attack what God supports? If you know that when you buy a cup of Starbucks, 5, 10, 15 cents is going to be used to defeat marriage, can you do that? The answer is no.”
“Biblically, there’s no way a Christian can help support what is attacking God,” he continued. “I’m sorry. You’ve got to find some other coffee to drink. You can’t drink Starbucks and be biblically correct on this thing. It’s just a real simple principle.”
The blog regularly quotes and criticizes Barton for making what many regard as revisionist history claims. Right Wing Watch described the Huntsville sermon as Barton’s “stock presentation,” complete with various “false claims that he routinely makes.”
“But, as he frequently does, he added in a few new bits of information; in this case, a pronouncement that Christians cannot drink Starbucks coffee because the company supports marriage equality,” the blog continued.
Barton spoke at both the 9:30 and 11 a.m. services at Whitesburg Baptist Church, site of this year’s Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting coming up in November.
Jimmy Jackson, who recently celebrated his 35th anniversary as Whitesburg Baptists’ senior pastor, is a former state convention president who currently sits on the board of trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2010 he ran for SBC president, finishing third in a four-way race won by Bryant Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.
“David is the author of numerous best-selling books, with the subjects being drawn largely from his massive library-museum of tens of thousands of original writings, documents, and artifacts from early America,” said a promotional piece that appeared on the Whitesburg Baptist Church website.
“His exhaustive research has rendered him an expert in historical and constitutional issues. He serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, has been involved in the development of social studies standards for numerous states, and has helped produce some popular history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.”
Barton is both praised and criticized for his interpretation of Christianity’s influence on America’s founding fathers. In 2012, Christian book and Bible publisher Thomas Nelson withdrew his book, The Jefferson Lies, over concerns about factual errors.