Article by Cameron Spink
So Gloria Jeans are in trouble for supporting Australian Christian Lobby, Hillsong and other assorted Christian ministries. The most flak they have received is on the back of their support for the ACL. Being that I work for a company (Salt Shakers) similar to ACL in many ways I have no issue with Gloria Jean's support.
Gloria Jeans are facing a significant backlash. Many customers have promised to boycott buying their coffees from them ever again. Good thing they don't support Salt Shakers as we would not even propose relationship registers. Most posters show vehement hatred for Jim Wallace and his organisation. Remarkably most posters consider themselves to be right because they are on the side of "equality and justice". Unfortunately their mistakenness will have far-reaching effects. There are some posters who believe that businesses should remain secular. I find such a view very bemusing. Gloria Jeans is the creation of two Christians so it makes complete sense that they would support some sorts of Christian organisations. Not every Christian agrees with the work ACL do but these two do so it is their prerogative to give financial help to ACL. It is also the customer's prerogative to not buy from the store.
There are stores that I would not buy from because of their political affiliations. Smiggle is one that comes to mind but there are others that support less than savoury ends. Perhaps the thing that is making Gloria Jeans the least friends is its statement:
"Hi Mike and Facebook followers,
We've seen all your comments and feel that it is important to get in touch and put the facts on record.
Yes, Gloria Jean's Coffees did provide a donation to the Australian Christian Lobby in 2010, in support of the prime ministerial debate only. This was a once off donation during the time of the election.
What's more, it is important to reiterate that we are ...not religiously affiliated or affiliated to any other beliefs or preferences, including Hillsong. By the same token, nor do we discriminate against others based on their beliefs or preferences. We are proud of our culture of equality and embrace diversity across our entire business.
The religious affiliation and preferences of some our management, Franchise Partners or Team Members, is their personal choice and bears no relevance to the way that our business runs day to day.
Today, our sponsorship of many humanitarian projects is based on giving back to the communities who have helped us become the brand we are today. It is through With Heart, a Gloria Jean's Coffees International Foundation, that we support both local and international projects including Red Cross, in local and global disaster appeals, as well as Special Olympics Australia, Variety, the children's charity, and R U OK? Day.
We are, as always, very happy to provide any further information, so shoot us an email to
Thanks, Team Gloria Jean's Coffees"
It is hard to understand why they have decided to fall into the middle here. They cannot retract their donation but they are trying to distance themselves from both ACL and Hillsong. As they did indeed provide donations the most prudent thing to do would be to stand by their decision. But they have reacted spinelessly and now they have no friends. People are seeing through their explanation and still boycotting and they have upset many Christians, me included, by compromising on where they stood.
It seems that they will be losing a considerable amount of customers and this will weigh on their bottom dollar. A decision to support a pro-homosexual group would alleviate the strain by reacting customers but that would require extremely flexible morals on the behalf of the owners and I hope that they do not pursue such a venture. In the end you can stand for something or you can stand for nothing. Others may wish to see businesses only giving humanitarian donations but this can still leave a business soulless.