Are Apple and Starbucks America’s Biggest Hypocrites?


Like many folks, we’ve been following the storm of controversy over religious liberty measures in North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. Since we are not public policy experts, we won’t delve into the legislative issues around those measures. But we certainly feel comfortable talking about what we see as Faith Driven Consumers—the reaction of some corporate brands in the marketplace. In the wake of those measures, companies such as Apple, organizations like the NBA, and artists including Ringo Starr, Cyndi Lauper, and Bruce Springsteen have all taken brave stands against discrimination, and for inclusiveness.

Or have they?

In his latest Townhall column, Dr. Michael Brown argues this is false, in fact calling them “sickening” hypocrites. While his remarks are focused particularly on two companies—Apple (Faith Equality Score of 29/100) and Starbucks (Faith Equality Score of of 27/100), this title certainly applies to many others.

Writes Brown:

Both these companies blast Americans who stand for religious liberties and conservative moral values, even threatening states that will protect those liberties and values, claiming this discriminates against gays and lesbians.

Yet they have stores all over Saudi Arabia, a country where gays can be executed and where Muslims can kill their own family members if they convert to Christianity, as happened…in 2008.

As further evidence, Brown points to the position of Apple CEO Tim Cook when Indiana passed a similar kind of measure last year:

His words sounded noble: “This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”

And so Cook, acted “courageously,” threatening Indiana with a loss of business if the state did not reverse itself, and in a matter of days, the governor and legislature caved in to the pressure, as Apple, along with other major players, succeeded in bullying the people of Indiana.

But when it comes to countries like Saudi Arabia, where adulterers are beheaded on Friday afternoons in city squares, where thieves have their hands cut off, where those who speak against the government can be lashed 1,000 times, where someone posting openly gay messages on social media can be imprisoned, and where the beheaded victims are hung on crosses and displayed publicly for days, Apple is silent, content to make its money and not rock the Muslim boat. 

What “courage.” 

Or, more accurately, what hypocrisy

If you read the rest of his column, you’ll see a similar point he makes on Starbucks and its CEO, Howard Schultz.

We believe It is also important to note that, whatever the details, the religious freedom measures in these states are in response to legitimate concerns among Christians over their rights to openly live out their faith in society. You only need to consult the Alliance Defending Freedom to see the scores of legal cases—as pictured in the recent movie GOD’S NOT DEAD 2—being brought against Christians, or read the headlines almost every day for examples. 

Ok, so you have read this far and you agree. Now—you ask—what can I do about it?

Two things you can do right now… 

  1. Shop Your Faith. When you go out into the marketplace, take our company reviews with you. Choose the brands that welcome Christians the most.
  2. Let Everyone Know You Shop Your Faith. As you go out into the marketplace, tell people what you are doing. Share it on Facebook, on Twitter, with folks with text with. “I’m using the Faith Equality Index and I am shopping my faith.” 


Companies hear one sound louder than all others, that magic “beep” as they scan items you are buying.

Be #FaithDriven

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