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Sippin’ Starbucks No More

The fate of Betsy Fresse, an evangelical Christian who refused to don a gay pride shirt in accordance with instructions from her manager in a Starbucks store in New Jersey is explained with remarkable concision in a recent Reuters article:

A former Starbucks Corp barista in New Jersey sued the coffee chain on Thursday, claiming she was fired illegally because she did not want to wear a ‘PRIDE’ T-shirt, which she said conflicted with her religious beliefs.

Betsy Fresse said her August 2019 dismissal from a Glen Ridge, New Jersey store, near her Newark home, for allegedly violating Starbucks’ ‘core values’ amounted to illegal religious discrimination under federal civil rights law.

This obstinate employee was apparently given an opportunity to reconsider, as NBC points out in Starbuck’s defense. Fresse received a call from Starbuck’s Ethics and Compliance Helpline after she initially eschewed the caring-sharing shirt. Since she failed to give the proper diversitarian response over the phone and in conversation with the manager, she was summarily terminated.

The fired employee thereupon sued, claiming her religious rights had been violated. To my knowledge the plaintiff was not rehired; nor was the manager who fired her disciplined; and finally Starbucks denied Fresse’s charges, insisting that it stands for “diversity,” and therefore could not conceivably have discriminated against a Christian former employee. The fault, we are left to believe, was Fresse’s appalling contempt for Starbucks’ perfectly reasonable “core values.”

Allow me to express my profound skepticism about Starbucks’ open-mindedness. Having frequented that company in the past, I could not help but notice the obtrusive reminders about the management’s politics, including cups and sugar packets adorned with leftist political platitudes. Starbucks’ CEO and founder Howard Schultz would hardly qualify as a politically detached individual. He is a socially over-the-top liberal Democrat, who according to a description in National Review is “suspicious of socialism, but woke — some might say performatively so — on immigration, LGBT issues, racial justice, and abortion.”

Starbucks spokespersons indicated that Fresse had been fired not because of her refusal to wear a gay pride shirt but because of her “comportment.” It seems this lady brazenly told her fellow-employees that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. This message, which presumably came in the wake of being urged to wear the LGBT-propaganda shirt, constituted behavior that Starbucks refused to tolerate.

Let’s imagine that the dissenter was a homosexual activist being forced to wear a shirt stating marriage is between a man and a woman. This assertion would not have caused the slightest scandal up until about 25 years ago, because it would have expressed what everyone across the political spectrum had always believed—or was expected to believe.

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