Starbucks founder and CEO Howard
Schultz has decided not to speak at a church that once supported
'ex-gay' therapy, the
Chicago Tribune reported.
Schultz was scheduled to deliver a talk
Friday titled How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing Its
Soul during the Willow Creek Association's annual Global
Leadership Summit taking place Thursday and Friday at its South
Barrington, Illinois church headquarters. The Willow Creek Community
Church has 6 Illinois campuses.
Starbucks confirmed that Schultz will
not appear at the summit on Friday, but denied the about face had
anything to do with a Change.org petition launched last week that
asked Schultz to repudiate the church's connection with the “ex-gay”
group Exodus International.
However, Willow Creek Community Church
says it cut ties with Exodus in 2009.
Exodus believes gay men and lesbians
can – and should – alter their sexuality. The group says this
can be achieved through “reparative” therapy, the discredited
pseudo-science that opponents say confuses shaming gay people into
being celibate with conversion and creates real psychological harm.
Church spokeswoman Susan DeLay told the
paper that Willow's views on homosexuality had evolved.
“They were one of the few Christian
organizations having conversations with people who struggle with
being gay,” she said.