A once-significant Christian organisation that’s slowly evolving into a fringe anti-gay group is being funded by a chain of coffee shops in a mall near you.
In the 2010-2011 tax year, Gloria Jeans Coffees donated a hefty $30,000 to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Since the Lobby is a political organisation, significant donations to it need to be published publicly by the Australia Electoral Commission – see Gloria Jeans’ donation to the ACL here, with thanks to LGBT equality broadcaster Doug Pollard for bringing it to our attention.
There are now more than 1,000 shops in the Australian-founded Gloria Jeans chain of coffee shops, including almost 500 in Australia – there’s even one on Sydney’s gay nightlife hub Oxford Street. Its owners are high-profile figures in the notoriously-anti-gay Hillsong Church, which used to offer so-called ‘ex-gay therapies’ as part of its ministry.
Meanwhile, the ACL is increasingly preoccupied with LGBT issues, especially marriage equality. The campaign against marriage law reform it is taking up most of its time at the moment, leading to frequent – and frankly embarrassing – appearances by its leader Jim Wallace, like the one below in which he compares gay advocates to Nazis.
June 7, 2012 – Jim Wallace vs. Dr. Kerryn Phelps on 7’s Sunrise.
Last week the ACL urged its followers to boycott channel 7 and ask its advertisers to pull their funds from its Sunrise show over coverage of Marie Claire’s new “I DO” marriage equality campaign on Thursday morning.
The Lobby’s crusade appeared to fall flat though, as no advertisers have seriously considered pulling their funds from the program, reports Crikey.
Meanwhile over in the United States, marriage equality support by Starbucks has earnt the coffee giant receive more thanks than boycotts – take a look.
But how would an LGBT community boycott of Gloria Jeans turn out? As more people learn about its financial support of the ACL, some individuals’ concern is already being directed towards the coffee chain’s Facebook page.
“Gay people drink coffee!” pointed out the latest commenter. “Not from your business anymore though I would think!”
UPDATE – Sunday June 11
Gloria Jeans has now responded to this situation with a statement admitting their donation but distancing itself from the Australian Christian Lobby and the Hillsong Church. See the statement in full here.
Meanwhile, a few forms of online protest have developed, attacking Gloria Jeans for both their donation to the ACL and links to the Hillsong Church…
And there’s even a hashtag on Twitter – #GloriaShames
UPDATE – Saturday June 16
Another reponse from the increasingly under-fire Gloria Jeans. The coffee company is still proudly funding Hillsong Church’s annual conference, but is again distancing itself from the Australian Christian Lobby – even apologising for the “hurt and offence” its donation to it has caused. See our update here.
We’ll keep you updated on any other actions as they emerge.