Thinking Out Loud

March 16, 2013

To My Fellow Bloggers: What Your Amazon Links Support

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought -  Gay marriage donations?

This week we were asked by a Christian bookstore manager, “How many people know that the founder of Amazon is the largest single donor to the cause of gay marriage?” Honestly, I didn’t know myself, and the amount, $2.5 M (US) is staggering. He told me, “Tell your local churches that are buying from Amazon just to type ‘Jeff Bezos’ and ‘gay marriage’ into a search engine for themselves.”  A week later, I did this myself. There were many, many articles, but this one describes a behind-the-scenes look at the donation:

Thank Lesbian Jennifer Cast for Jeff Bezos’ Huge Gay Marriage Support

Like most of us, Jennifer Cast said she figured her former boss, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, was well aware of the threat to gay marriage in Washington State by the upcoming the ballot iniative and wrote to him, “I figured that if you felt the desire to support marriage equality, you would do it.” But, unlike many of us, this time she spoke up with a direct ask, and for the first time in twelve years working on the issue, Cast, 50, partners of 20+ years with Liffy Franklin, 63, emailed Bezos, “I beg you not to sit on the sidelines and hope the vote goes our way. Help us make it so.” She wrote, “We need help from straight people. To be very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who want to help us win.” She asked the billionaire for a contribution of $100,000 to $200,000. Within thirty-six hours he replied, “Jen, this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie”

This is the largest ever donation in support of marriage equality and it only happened because a lesbian spoke up and asked for it. Learn from her. The announcement also inspired other gifts, according to the Seattle Times, which reports, “Cast said she has received hundreds of emails since news of Bezos’ gift broke early Friday from well-wishers and those who suddenly wanted to give. One donor pledged $25,000.”

Jeff Bezos is worth $18.4 billion. Although William Lynch, the CEO of Barnes & Noble, isn’t a billionaire, his compensation last year was $10 million, going up to $15.3 million this year. He doesn’t have a connection to Washington State, but some of the Amazon haters need to ask Lynch for a significant donation. He can give to Maryland’s or to Maine’s campaign…

A link for this and what follows is available if you wish. The perspective below was actually from a gay website. The first line really sums up what’s happening even as you’re reading this.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…gay marriage donations?: The founder of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, just donated 2.5 million to help pass Washington state’s Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage. The donation from Bezos, the 15th wealthiest man in America, has been called a “game changer” by Washington gay marriage campaigners.

I do not see how any Christian blogger or media outlet possessing this information can continue to remain an Amazon affiliate or referrer. To everyone else, if you or your church purchases from Amazon, I think you need to take a long, prayerful second look at that situation.

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11 Comments »

  1. Here’s a link you might like. http://matildaproject.wordpress.com/
    Sue

    Comment by suesconsideredtrifles — March 16, 2013 @ 7:17 am

    • Hi, I’m Emily, the person behind the Matilda Project, the link you’ve posted on this site. I just want to say that my objection to Amazon is based on the fact that I disagree with their business model and the monopoly they hold over bookselling. I really resent the implication that an objection to a company’s practices is in any way similar to a rejection of its CEO’s personal beliefs. Furthermore, I happen to agree with the CEO’s beliefs regarding gay marriage, though I may disagree with pretty much everything else he stands for.
      Firstly, I think it’s really immature to boycott a company just because you disagree with the personal views of the individual who runs it. This is in no way similar to my boycott – for me it is about the business model they choose to employ, the way they interact with the rest of the market, their treatment of their workers and the implications of their business on other people in the same field. The fact that Jeff Bezos supports gay marriage leads me to have a bit more respect for the man; I admire his principles in doing so and wholeheartedly support the work he is doing. However, I for one am able to separate the personal from the professional. While I may believe that his support of gay marriage makes him a decent person, I still do not support this company.
      Secondly, as you’ve gathered, I completely, totally and absolutely support the efforts of Jeff and everyone else who is crusading to end discrimination against the gay and lesbian population. I cannot stress this enough; it’s an issue that is so important to me that it has made me question my own relationship to my church because of its unwillingness to practice the tolerance and compassion that it preaches.
      I resent your attempt to connect my writing to this nonsense. Please either qualify what you mean by linking my blog to this post, or delete your comment.

      Comment by Emily — March 16, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

      • Honestly, think you need to re-read what I wrote and note the following:

        1. I did not post a link to your site, that was a reader comment.
        2. I did not use the word boycott anywhere in the article.
        3. I am not engaging the gay marriage debate here — nor elsewhere on this blog for that matter — I am simply pointing that people for whom I would expect this issue to be a big deal are choosing to ignore this connection.
        4. 90% of the item is excerpts from news items from other sites.

        Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 16, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

      • I actually have been away from my computer for the entire day today, so I simply checked that Sue had posted a valid link, but haven’t had time to study your site.

        I do have a question though: You strongly support gay marriage and say that the way the church has handled this issue (usually badly, I would think) has caused you to question your relationship to the church. Would it not naturally follow then that your respect and admiration for Jeff Bezos with respect to this issue would cause you to rethink any boycott of his company you are promoting?

        I know that’s the opposite of the position you would expect me to take, but I feel there’s a bit of a disconnect here between a couple of your core values. In other words, if your feeling on the marriage issue would cause you a rethink on the church, would it not also lead you to give Jeff’s business a little more grace? Do you see what I mean?

        Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 16, 2013 @ 11:31 pm

      • I agree, you’re not engaging in the debate – I don’t know how you actually feel,of course, but this article suggests that your mind is very much made up. And judging from the second comment, I’m not the only one who’s interpreted it that way. If you are in fact attempting to just get information out, you might be the one who needs to re-think some things and listen to the bias it sounds like you have. Even if you think you’ve been impartial, I can promise you it doesn’t read that way.
        In terms of my own difficulties with the church, I found that its position on gay marriage, for some reason, has become an important part of what it means to be Christian and it’s something I felt I could no longer identify with. It makes me deeply sad. I don’t see Bezos’ position on gay marriage as an essential part of what Amazon is, so that’s why his personal opinion hasn’t changed my position on his business. I can kind of see your point though and if you feel that supporting Amazon would be supporting something you don’t believe it, god knows no one should make you do it. All I meant by commenting was to ask you or the commenter to please remove the link to my site, because unfortunately yours is an opinion with which I don’t want to be associated.

        Comment by Emily — March 17, 2013 @ 4:48 am

      • Again, I think that people/bloggers/churches that are opposed to gay marriage but continue to deal with Amazon need to fish or cut bait; there’s no middle ground here.

        Re. the link: There is no specific trackback here. I clicked the link again and it appears to be a blog all about the book industry. There is no reference to a specific post, and I’m not even sure how you heard someone had linked here unless you’ve got all manner of alerts set up on your blog. (Not sure why anyone would do that.) Because of the discussion that link has created, it would now make no sense to pull the comment; and besides, everyone here now knows exactly where you stand.

        Re. My personal bias: This blog has a considerable readership of people who know that first and foremost, my bias with respect to Amazon is as someone who has worked 37 years in various aspects of the publishing industry, and is deeply committed to the survival of brick and mortar stores.

        Re. My take on gay marriage: I have to this point carefully avoided integrating my personal stand on this issue here, since this blog isn’t exactly about me, it’s more about the issues and about dialog.. But buried here in the comments, I’m willing to take that risk, knowing I may lose a few regular readers, and that position is that I support civil union.

        Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 17, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

  2. It is sad that you would spew out such hate. When I was child religion was taught to me as a source of compassion. I have woken up to the reality that it tends to be exactly the opposite, the vessel for hatred. I hope you are not hypocritical and have gay friends, you don’t deserve their friendship.

    Comment by charles — March 16, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    • You’re obviously new here. This isn’t the “spew out hate” blog. Quite the opposite. Here we simply report on the stories and state facts.

      As I replied to another comment here: I am not engaging the gay marriage debate here — nor elsewhere on this blog for that matter — I am simply pointing that people for whom I would expect this issue to be a big deal are choosing to ignore this connection.

      The only hypocritical element here lies elsewhere, with the people who do in fact spew out hatred toward whatever group, but don’t mind supporting their businesses if it saves them money. That is the true hypocrisy.

      Sorry to disappoint you, but you left your comment at the wrong blog.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 16, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

  3. Hey there Charles (and others like you). Your type (you know, the type that accuses every evangelical/conservative Christian out there of being hate-mongers?) are really the true ‘trolls’ of the internet. Here’s why. You look for every opportunity to bash Christians and ‘traditional marriage supporters’ while assuming (wrongly) that every Christian has a hate-agenda to counter the gay agenda (or as I’ve dubbed it, the ‘Gaygenda’).

    Well here’s the news: we – most Christians don’t hate gays! Dude, I have a close homosexual friend who’s been a great and supportive friend of mine (and vice versa) for over 30 years. He has lived with the same guy for longer than 30 years (though not formally married by the state). I love him like a brother but I’ve NEVER judged him for his homosexuality (or any other things that the Bible says are not the ideal choices for His creation). Judgement lies solely in the hands of God, according to the Christian bible, especially as per the New Testament.

    1 Corinthians 5:12 “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” (Paul the Apostle, New Testament letters writer).

    Now that does not mean I think that homosexuality represents the default design of the Creator or His intent for humanity, or that a gay marriage is equivalent to hetero marriage. What Christians are opposed to is being told to accept – without question – the proposition by gays and gay-supporters that ‘one of these things is just like the other’. That fact is gay sex is not like hetero sex. Without the aid of test-tubes and science (artificial means) a gay couple cannot procreate or even has the potential to naturally procreate. So no, gay marriage is NOT like hetero marriage – the one type of marriage could naturally populate a planet while the other type – were it the only type of union – would end up eliminating the human species! So if Christians (and most of humanity) have believed for thousands of years that the dictionary’s meaning of the word marriage traditionally/historically refers to male-female unions, LET THEM BELIEVE IT! Listen – you can and have the right to believe what you want, but it won’t make you right or mean you’re being truthful. You can redefine whatever you want to mean whatever you want but it doesn’t make it reality! If I called your coat colour blue when everyone else calls it black, one of us is not seeing the truth or is deluded. So if my long-time homosexual friend (who can’t stand the gaygenda nonsense by the way – parading one’s sexuality as if it was the only means by which someone is defined!) asked me if I thought his union was like mine, I would say, “No: not biologically, and not based on over thousands of years of interpretative understanding of the word (in any language, any faith group) marriage”! But would I let that influence how much I care about my friend or support him if he needed me? NO! I love him as a brother. Always have, always will.

    Christians have the right to say that they don’t believe that gay marriage is like hetero marriage. That’s all we want – the freedom to believe that. You have the freedom to believe the opposite, yet I won’t hate you for it, the way YOU seem to hate those (judging from your accusatory tone) who don’t support gay-marriage.

    So stop being a troll – you and your kind. Get to know some real Christians who love you and love gays and love hookers and love the poor – love everyone equally in society – and maybe you’ll see that their beliefs, though different from yours, can harmonize with a good and Godly nature in combination with immense respect for all mankind. (And I strongly suggest you visit Youtube and watch the entire film, “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers!”)

    Sincerely,
    Compos Mentis

    Comment by Compos Mentis — March 18, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  4. Oh and one more thing Charles: If we ever met face to face, I’d give you a great big man hug (cause golly, it sounds like you need one!), let you know that Jesus is awesome and that by His love, I’m there for ya anytime and ‘what the hey’ – I’d even buy you a coffee and a donut. One of the expensive donuts too! ;-)

    Comment by Compos Mentis — March 18, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

  5. So back to the original topic: Does anyone else out there think it’s strange that people who espouse a particular value are willing to let that principle fly out the window if supporting someone who believes the opposite means they save $2.00 on the price and get free next day shipping?

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 18, 2013 @ 4:52 pm


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