Sunday, November 2, 2014

Perkins suggests Christian boycott of Apple

In an email to supporters Friday evening, Tony Perkins, head of Family Research Council, has reacted to a public statement by Apple CEO Tim Cook that he is proud to be gay. Perkins implies that Christians should not provide the money “that God has given us” to Apple Computer.

Before I get into this, some perspective is in order. Apple has a market cap of over $600 billion. With revenues of over $182 billion it exceeds the GDP of 143 countries including New Zealand. With about 50,000 US employees, Apple could populate a city the size of Grants Pass, Oregon. All of this is ultimately the responsibility of Tim Cook.

Perkins is obviously concerned about the sheer magnitude of having one of the earth's largest corporations headed by a gay man:
For the LGBT community, having the weight of one of the world’s biggest companies at their disposal is being hailed as a watershed moment. “This serves as an opening of the door for other CEOs, senior-level managers, senior-level executives to say I’m ready to bring my authentic self to the office and I know now that it’s not potentially a detriment, it’s an asset to be out and proud in the workplace,” a homosexual activist cheered.
“At their disposal?” Apple has been championing gay rights for over 20 years. In 1993, for example, Apple was going to build an enormous corporate campus in Round Rock, Texas. Williamson County rescinded on a tax break in order to show disapproval for Apple's equal rights for gays policies. Apple – “as a matter of both principle and economics” – pulled the project. This is nothing new. Apple gets credit for developing a talent like Cook, who happens to be gay.

Tim Cook's sexuality was no secret but publicly announcing his sexual orientation and his pride constitutes some form of activism that Perkins doesn't like:
This may surprise liberals, but as far as I’m concerned, Cook’s sexuality is irrelevant. It only becomes an issue when homosexuals make it one -- and use their businesses as a platform for radical activism.
Apparently that's the case at Apple because Perkins writes:
When companies get involved in cultural battles, every consumer is forced to take part. And whether people realize it or not, their money could be fueling an agenda they strongly oppose. As conservatives, we aren’t looking for businesses to take our side. We don’t want them to take either side! All we’re asking is for them to focus on their mission of providing quality products and service.
Many businesses have taken a side when it comes to equality. They have donated money and filed amicus briefs. When Prop 8 was first on the ballot in California, Apple donated $100,000 to fight it. At least 60 other companies got involved including Facebook, Google, Intel, Micorosoft, Nike, Xerox, Oracle, Qualcomm, eBay, and Zynga.

Mr. Perkins speaks as "we," a voice of conservative Christians. He is (or they are) seemingly unaware that the quality of a corporation's products is shaped by the corporate culture. Inclusive cultures are more productive. Furthermore, the best talent (gay and straight) are attracted to equality-oriented companies, particularly in the tech sector. Sorry Mr. Perkins but American companies have and will continue to take sides (as you put it). The issues are too important to stay on the sidelines. Perkins continues at his own intellectual peril:
Unlike liberals, we aren’t grabbing pitchforks and demanding Cook’s head like the “tolerant” Left did with Mozilla’s Brandon Eich (who, incidentally, never wore his marriage views on his sleeve -- like Cook literally has). We will not be working to force Cook out, because we believe in freedom and the power of dialogue. Tim has every right to express his views -- just as Brandon did. But consumers have rights too -- including the right to respond.
It's not a valid comparison to suggest that Eich and Cook are similarly situated. Mr. Eich's views are inconsistent with Mozilla's culture while Mr. Cooks views are in line with Apple's. Oops, once they are wearing it on their sleeve we are only a step away from "shoving down everyone's throat."

And while it's nice to know that Perkins won't be working to force Cook out (give me a fucking break), countless LGBT citizens are forced out of jobs, not hired or not promoted simply because they are gay. Mr. Perkins encourages that intolerance and Family Research Council is an anti-gay hate group. Perkins gets to his point:
As Christians, it’s incumbent upon us to be good stewards of the money God’s given us. And there are powerful resources to help us do exactly that -- as consumers and as shareholders. Over the past couple of years, several programs and apps have exploded on the scene to help Americans not just voice their values, but shop them. One of those options is 2nd Vote, which evaluates companies on host of issues including life, marriage, the Second Amendment, and the environment.
Ironically, 2nd Vote provides four apps; iPhone, Android, Kindle and web-based. That translates to Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Go Christians!

Perkins realizes that calling, outright, for a boycott of Apple would be a dismal failure so he is trying to work around the margins. And all this BS because a corporate executive publicly outs himself. Measured by market cap, Apple is the largest company in the world. Perkins cannot handle the fact that an openly gay man is at the helm. Why would God allow that to happen? If the money we earn is, as Perkins claims, given to us by God then surely God has a say in who's the boss. No?

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