2008: Will Apple’s Stance on Ballot Measure Come Back to Haunt It? / PC World

Apple and a number of other technical giants, who for whatever reason think they need to be champions of the gay/lesbian lifestyle, will soon learn the same thing that McDonalds learned about fast food: for every gay / lesbian activist who is their customer, they have 50 conservative Christians. Their Christian employees were also looking for the opportunity to use their considerable skills in an environment less frantically involved in the wrong side of the culture wars, such as In-n-Out Burgers, whose predominently Christian servers are both nice and nice-looking. MacDonalds recently took the sensible position of backing out of championing the gay lifestyle after a five-month switch of Christian customers to Burger King, and are now declaring that they are neutral on the social issues. See the story on the Christian Today website at this link.
Let’s look at which groups of customers or employees are growing or shrinking.
Gays and lesbians automatically fit in the category of dying out for lack of a next generation, and also die 20 years early because of unhealthy lifestyles and sexual practices. But secular and atheistic people, married or not, also die out because they would rather take care of themselves selfishly rather than make the great sacrifice of having and raising children. Gay & lesbian supporters in the liberal religions such as the United Church of Christ and the Episcopalians have no children for the same reason as the secular people (and thier Churches are dying for that and many other reasons). Fewer and fewser hamburgers, fewer and fewer i-Pods, fewer and fewer Google or Yahoo searches (and clicks on the resulting advertisements.)
The conservative Jews and Christians (including the Mormon Christians) have one wife or husband, make the sacrifice of being faithful to them, and have naturally-occuring by-product of many more children. Evangelicals, Catholics, Latter-day Saints, Black Christians, Hispanic Christians, Eastern Orthodox Christias, and the skyrocketing number of Asian Christians from Korea, China, the Philippines, are rapidly growing. They buy more hamburgers, more i-Pods and computers, and do more e-bay, Google searches, or Yahoo searches. If they find providers other than you, they will , in true Christian love, get even.

My message to technical leaders is, while you clearly are making a great impression on your fellow executives, and on a small slice of technical superstars who need a completely unstructured culture to fit in, you are making a terrible impression on a high percentage of the two resources without whom the golden goose dies and Silicon Valley becomes Death Valley: your faithful customers, and your faithful employees. Wake up!

What is wrong with Microsoft’s approach starting in 2005? My sense is that their gay and lesbian high-level talent is happy with the great benefits and open work environment, and their socially-conservative Christians are happy that they don’t have to be an example of or facilitator of the radical gay agenda.

Levi-Strauss, I also want to inform you that I have purchased my last pair of Dockers (or any other Levi’s product), and encourage other Orthodox Jews and Conservative Christians to do the same.

See the original article on the PC World website at this link.

Thanks much,

Steve St.Clair
Will Apple’s Stance on Ballot Measure Come Back to Haunt It?
Apple made headlines when it donated US$100,000 to defeat a measure appearing on Tuesday’s California ballot that would ban same sex marriage.
Lisa Schmeiser, Macworld.com
Monday, November 03, 2008 05:30 PM PST
Apple made headlines when it donated US$100,000 to defeat a measure appearing on Tuesday’s California ballot that would ban gay marriage in the state. But even more noteworthy than the size of Apple’s contribution was the prominence given the decision–Apple posted a statement on its Hot News page outlining its opposition to Proposition 8.

Many Silicon Valley executives have outlined their opposition to the ballot measure, which Californians will vote on Tuesday. Google has announced its opposition to Proposition 8, and both of that company’s founders have donated heavily to anti-Prop-8 efforts.

Still, it’s rare for consumer-oriented companies to weigh in on potentially controversial topics. For Apple to publicly commit to a specific political stance is unusual, both for the company and for corporations on the whole since it runs the risk of alienating the percentage of its customer base that may not share those views. But, some argue those risks may be outweighed by the rewards.

Liz Loden, who heads cause-marketing firm iRainmakers, says that companies typically donate to multiple candidates or special interests. It’s a way of ensuring the corporation keeps its business options open. “They want to promote conversation and dialogue on both sides,” she said.

Taking a specific stance could certainly risk potential lines of revenue. But when a company takes a public stance on any issue, the first and most immediate risk comes not from the outside, but internally.

Take Microsoft, which has long enjoyed a reputation as a progressive employer. The software giant was one of the first major companies to provide domestic partner benefits and to include sexual orientation in its corporate nondiscrimination policy, it’s lobbied against various local anti-gay initiatives and bills, and it has donated sponsorships or equipment to numerous lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil-rights and service organizations.

But in 2005, the company
withdrew its support from a Washington state bill that would have banned discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, employment, and insurance. The reason, according to an e-mail Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent, was the potential for divisiveness in the company.

“I don’t want the company to be in the position of appearing to dismiss the deeply-held beliefs of any employee by picking sides on social policy issues,” Ballmer wrote at the time.

As of press time, there has been no reports of dissent from Apple employees over the company’s donation to No on 8. Apple has described its involvement with the ballot measure as a civil rights issue, not as a social one.

While Apple may see the California proposition as a civil rights issue, some longtime customers do not share that perspective. Former Mac User Group leader and longtime Mac user Allen Hall told Macworld that his commitment to Christianity was a reason why he’d no longer buy Apple products.

Jeff Bell, another long-time Apple customer, plans a similar boycott. “I have no problem with Steve Jobs giving the gay rights movement all of his money but to put Apple Inc. as the donor makes my blood boil,” Bell told Macworld. “I don’t want to have my hard earned money wasted on this cause that I do not believe in.”

However, iRainmakers’ Loden says the likelihood of a company suffering a serious business setback over its stance on one social issue is small. Usually, she says, consumers take a wider view based on a number of different issues. For example, a consumer may not care for a company’s position on gay rights, but applaud its environmental efforts.

In fact, it may be in a company’s best interest to start speaking out on social issues. Loden says that there’s been a shift in consumer sentiment–people like when corporations take positions on social issues because it’s perceived as proof that corporations are concerned with what’s going on in their consumer’s communities.

“More and more consumers are looking for companies that are helping their communities to thrive. Visibility on issues for social good can be beneficial to corporations,” Loden said.


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