Gloria Jean’s – Lying for Jesus?

Oh dearie dear, the PR’s just getting worser and worser for Gloria Jean’s!

Here’s a tip. If you’re going to plough money into causes which deny equality to your fellow Australians then you’d better:

a) be prepared to stand up for your beliefs, regardless of the public outrage and economic fallout; or

b) find a really, really good PR company.

Unfortunately, GJ’s has pursued neither of these options.

My dear friend, Dave the Happy Singer from Dave the Happy Singer dot com has been cogitating on the Gloria Jean’s dilemma.  He’s a great cogitator, my friend Dave.  And, during his cogitational revery, he kept thinking about a particular image that just didn’t seem to gel with Gloria Jean’s’ insistence that their $30,000 donation to the Australian Christian Lobby was purely for advertising and that:

“This was a once off donation during the time of the election… in support of the prime ministerial debate only. What’s more, it is important to reiterate that we are not religiously affiliated or affiliated to any other beliefs or preferences, including Hillsong.

By the same token, nor do we discriminate against others based on their beliefs or preferences. We are proud of our culture of equality and embrace diversity across our entire business.

The religious affiliation and preferences of some our management, Franchise Partners or Team Members, is their personal choice and bears no relevance to the way that our business runs day to day.”

As tens of thousands of outraged coffee-drinkers joined the boycott of Gloria Jean’s (this little blog, alone, had almost 30,000 unique views of the Gloria Jean’s material this week), the increasingly desperate company issued this statement on their Facebook page:

“To the community,

Over the last few days there has been a lot of discussion about our company and we would like to take the opportunity to clear the air.

Gloria Jean’s Coffees has a strong culture and belief in respect, equality and diversity. As a brand we comprise of many individuals including our Support Office team, hundreds of Franchise Partners and thousands of coffee house team members, each with the right to hold their own beliefs.

As a company we hold no position on marriage law, and in line with our values support people’s freedom to choose who they love. We are not homophobic and are proud that our team members come from all walks of life and sexual orientations, and we respect everyone’s opinion and the right to freedom of choice – political, religious, marriage or otherwise.

Again we would like to apologise for any hurt or offence which may have been caused by the paid advertising we undertook for the 2010 prime ministerial debate event, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

The paid advertising was undertaken on a commercial basis only, and it appears that there is now a perception that we endorse the views and values of the ACL. This is not the case. Gloria Jean’s Coffees does not support the independent views and values of the ACL.

There is also still confusion about our relationship with Hillsong Church. Gloria Jean’s Coffees is a privately owned business and not owned by the Hillsong Church.

This misunderstanding often arises because our founders are active parishioners of their local Hillsong Church.

We are not affiliated with Hillsong, however we do support a wide range of charities and churches in the communities in which our coffees houses operate including Hillsong.

We are proud of our contribution to the community so please follow this link to our website where you can see the range of causes that we support.

Yours sincerely,

Gloria Jean’s Coffees Senior Management Team: Nabi Saleh, Angela Saleh, Keith Brown, Gareth Pike, Rudi Selles, Nicole Saleh and Matthew Button

But, despite the spin, it just wasn’t ringing true.  No religious affiliation? How do you explain this little gem, provided by one of Dave’s trusty readers, ‘Shaz’:

click to enlarge

Or this, which washed up on Facebook today:

As  my dear friend, Bruce Llama reveals in Jesus Jean the Coffee is Off, Andrew Fisher, the owner of this car probably put his foot in it when he said that sponsorship from ‘mainstream secular companies’ would ‘confuse’ the Christian message of his enterprise too much.  Indeed!  Thanks Bruce – love your work!

But wait! There’s more!  Following a lead from one of my very astute readers, Kas Grigonis (see Kas’ comment here), Dave did some more digging on Gloria Jean’s parent company, Jireh International Pty Ltd. Cleverly, Dave thought, “If  $30,000 was donated to the Australian Christian Lobby under the name of “Gloria Jean’s Coffees”, what donations might have been made under the parent company’s name, “Jireh International Pty Ltd”.  And what do you know? Bingo!

As Dave explains at Dave the Happy Singer dot com:

“In 2004, Gloria Jean’s holding company donated to the NSW Liberals and an entity called Families Australia. Pulling up the return [PDF] for Families Australia, we see that it received $105,000 in three donations, promptly donating that same sum on to…

Family First.

And whose name do we find next to one of those donations? $10,000 came from:


See Dave’s blog post:  Did Gloria Jeans donate to Family First, too? for all the tawdry information.

Oh, happy day! Gloria Jean’s – the ‘non-religiously affiliated company’  slipping 10,000 bucks to Assemblies-of-God-linked Family First? Who’d a thunk it?  Was this another one of those ‘one offs’, Gloria Jean’s?

And why does Assemblies of God ring a bell? Oh, yes! It’s because Nabi Saleh – one of the co-signatories to the protestation of innocence above – is the director of Alphacrucis (formerly the Southern Cross College of the Assemblies of God). What an incredible coincidence!

Following the bouncing ball with this lot is so much fun.  Guess who one of the Family First’s senate candidates was? Yes! A gold star for those of you who got it right:  @WendyJoyFrancis – now Queensland director of … the Australian Christian Lobby.

Come on! You remember Wendy. She’s the one whose twitter feed read:

“Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.”

But let me stress, Wendy didn’t tweet this herself! It was some unnamed person, tweeting under Wendy’s name. Someone who just happened to have her twitter password. And believe me, those are NOT Wendy Francis’ views and the person who tweeted them HAS BEEN COUNSELED!  Let me restate that, they HAVE BEEN COUNSELED!

In a ham-fisted effort to dig herself out a rapidly deepening hole, Ms Francis told AAP that children used in the “social experiment” of same-sex parenting were open to emotional abuse, like those of the stolen generations.

Wendy, of course, IS NOT HOMOPHOBIC; although, mysteriously, having failed to gain a Senate seat, she is now a senior manager in an organisation which spends the majority of its time  telling us that allowing same-sex couples to marry is not in the best interests of children and that that child rape by clergy is primarily attributable to homosexuals infiltrating churches.

In 2010, Family First disendorsed David Barrow,  a Victorian candidate for the Federal Seat of La Trobe, because it was discovered that Barrow “supports the marriage of any committed partnership and says same-sex couples should have the right to adopt”.

Family First  chairman, Peter Lake, said:

“It came to our attention that he had posted some information on his website and blogs which was inconsistent with the stated position that he had given us as a candidate when we had endorsed him and the views were different to the values that Family First espouses” (emphasis added).

This is the party to which the NON-RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED Gloria Jean’s decided to donate 10,o00 smackeroonies.

Geez GJ’s! I’m a little short of cash this week.  If I strap on a sandwich board that reads “God Hates Fags” and walk up and down the Queen Street Mall at lunch time will you throw me a lazy ‘thou’ or ten – in the most unreligiously, unhomophobic way of course!

The thing is, Gloria Jean’s, you are neck deep in the manure of Balaam’s talking donkey. Your company has enthusiastically sponsored a variety of homophobic organisations and now it’s beginning to have negative financial consequences you’re trying to backpedal as fast as Nabi Saleh can mumble in tongues.

I was asked by a Christian this week why I was ‘so angry’ about this.  Well, you know, the social environment created by organisations which deny the scientific consensus on homosexuality causes gay teens to attempt suicide at a rate significantly higher than their heterosexual peers. That tends to get me riled. I guess I’m just funny that way.

The facts are that:

  • homosexuality  is entirely natural in terms of the spectrum of human sexuality
  • it is neither chosen nor changeable
  • children do equally as well with homosexual parents as they do with heterosexual parents
  • homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked – the use of the term ‘homosexual molestation’ does not and should not be taken to imply that the adult molesting the child is a homosexual, only that the molestation was performed by a man upon a male child or teenager.
I also get very cranky about people trying to dig themselves out of bad situation by feeding the public with bullshit.

As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake … HUGE!”

It’s too late now to take a ‘neutral position’ on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, Gloria Jean’s. You guys are going to have to pick a side.

May I make some suggestions?

a) Admit that, under the influence of Saleh (and others?) your organisation has unwisely invested in organisations that have caused great pain and suffering, not only to homosexuals, but to other vulnerable groups.

b) Admit this has been contrary to the interests (both personal and financial) of your franchisees and their staff.

c) Announce that you are now prepeared to put the past behind you; that neither Gloria Jean’s – nor any companies even remotely associated with it – will contribute either financially or in kind towards organisations which view homosexuality, the sexual expression of homosexuality and same-sex marriage as ‘abnormal’ or ‘sinful’.

c) Pledge to compensate for your company’s betrayal of your LGBTIQ customers and employees by contributing the sum of $30,000 plus $10,000 to Australian Marriage Equality.  After all, it’s the least you can do.


Simply come clean and say, “Yes, we contributed that money to organisations which think homosexuality is sinful and abnormal because our company is based on fundamentalist Christian values and as a corporate entity, we endorse those views.  Further, as this is our fervently held position, we are prepared to accept (on behalf of our franchisees) any backlash that might occur because of this principled stance.”

At least that would be honest.

Chrys Stevenson

PS: Oh, and Gloria Jean’s? We know you had the logo promoting your company as a ‘partner’ in the Hillsong Conference removed from the conference website.  Can you confirm if you’re still sponsoring the conference?

Update: Dave Singer tells me that the Gloria Jean’s logo has since reappeared on the Hillsong Conference sponsors list. Despite having ‘no affiliation’ with Hillsong they are listed as a “MAJOR PARTNER”.

Dave shares this photo of a Gloria Jeans Coffee cart.  Note the t-shirt on the barrista and the logo on the coffee cup?

30 thoughts on “Gloria Jean’s – Lying for Jesus?

    1. Chrys Stevenson

      Mikey dear, you will be relieved to hear that, as all I have done above is reiterated Dave the Happy Singer’s excellent research, you may have to leave Gregory for Dave!

  1. reasonablehank

    All I can do is cite this tweet by @Oatmeal. “It’s interesting to watch a man with his dick in a hornet’s nest try to solve the problem by tossing his balls in as well.”

    It covers so many topics which are alive at the moment.

  2. Eleanie Emm

    nice article,I haven’t bought at Gloria’s for several years since I discovered their “not existing”connections to Hillsong Brand tomfoolery. There are lies damned lies and christians, GJ seem to qualify on two out of three..

  3. tani and tallulah

    Great piece! What gets me is that these companies think they can get away with the fibbing, that they can do as they please, that they can walk all over women and the glbti community and not suffer the consequences. Or they can appease us with a bollocksy letter. I bet their coffee is overpriced and tastes like rubbish too!

  4. Jason

    Why don’t they either back down or fess up? Why sweep stuff under the carpet.

    I’ll tell you why

    They want it both ways.

    So it’s ironic they support homophobes, if you think about it

  5. Louella

    And I thought lying was something Christians believed was wrong. Sigh.
    The logo on the racing car will be harder to remove than the one on the webpage.

  6. Abbie Noiraude

    Love the way you follow up your arguments (and Dave’s).
    Makes you think there is nothing a Christian won’t do to prove their position ( or hide it).
    I have a very good Christian aunt who believes all aboriginals should be shot and who says that ( can’t use her terminology as it rankles with me) Muslims should be dumped on a boat and sent back out to sea. She also hates overtly single mothers and Jews.
    So confusing for me, an atheist…but have been told ;”It is THAT generation”.
    If so, how come she is still attending church at least once a week? Is it not ‘taking’ this ‘Christianity’?
    I know it is off topic, just wanted to let you know, I am still shockable and GJ is just living up to my own experience of those who profess to follow the mythical carpenter of Nazareth.

  7. Wayne

    Wow! Interesting read. It will certainly make me reconsider my GJ’s patronage. Anf forgive my ignorance but what is LGBTIQ? I’m smart enough to figure out some of it but not all 🙂

    Isn’t it funny that being a Christian is all about ‘love thy neighbour’ but in reality, they’ll burn you at the stake if you try?

  8. Mark Holsworth

    One of the ten commandments is: thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Of course this means nothing Christians because they believe that Jesus is the truth and lying for such a good cause is not bearing false witness against your neighbor but for the benefit of the neighbor. As Wm Burroughs said: If you make a deal with a religious son of a bitch get it in writing. His word isn’t worth shit, not with the good Lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.”

    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      In that respect you might be interested to read:

      This – re Saleh and Irvine’s dispute with Western Exports

      and “The Brains of the Operation” – – about another dispute.

      As for ‘lying for Jesus’ I like this quote from Martin Luther:

      “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church? […] a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”

  9. Glenn Crouch

    Ha ! I shop regularly at the shopping centre across the road from Hillsong’s megachurch/stadium/monument to fleecing people (in Bella Vista in North West Sydney) and there’s a very modern looking GJs right out the front of the shopping centre. They seem to do a roaring trade from the Hillsong folk who stream across the road (blocking traffic) on the weekends after their services to get a coffee. “Not affiliated” my ass !

  10. g2-5bba245eb6db01d36e28de6648a6336a

    ‎”But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)

    “Yes, Gloria Jean’s Coffees did provide a donation to the Australian Christian Lobby in 2010, in support of the prime ministerial debate only. This was a once off donation during the time of the election.

    What’s more, it is important to reiterate that we are not religiously affiliated or affiliated to any other beliefs or preferences, including Hillsong.”

    So if Gloria Jeans are not a Christian company I guess they have no problem with the words attributed to Jesus would they ?

    No decent Christians would deny their faith just to make more money would they ? 🙂

  11. Scott McQuaker

    You said:

    The facts are that:

    a) homosexuality is entirely natural in terms of the spectrum of human sexuality

    b)it is neither chosen nor changeable

    c) children do equally as well with homosexual parents as they do with heterosexual parents

    d) homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked – the use of the term ‘homosexual molestation’ does not and should not be taken to imply that the adult molesting the child is a homosexual, only that the molestation was performed by a man upon a male child or teenager.

    I’m particularly interested in the misrepresentation that is:
    b)b)it is neither chosen nor changeable

    If your going to say this is a fact…

    Evidence…. Please????

    Genetics Linkage studies on Sexual Orientation showed evidence that showed a high level of correlation within the sample but was not generalizable to a larger population. That means they prove nothing about the cause of sexual orientation, they only suggest a possibility.
    Key studies I’ve read include:

    Hamer, D. H., Hu, S., Magnuson, V. L., Hu, N., & Pattatucci, A. M. L. (1993, July). A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome
    and male sexual orientation. Science, 261, 321-327


    Hu, S., Pattatucci, A. M. L., Patterson, C, Li, L., Fulker, D. W., Cherny,
    S. S., Kruglyak, L., & Hamer, D. H. (1995). Linkage between sexual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females. Nature Genetics, 11, 248-256.

    And then this piece of literature entitled:

    “Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation”

    Strings together an argument for biological determination that flies in the face of warnings of every one of the pieces of literature it references which say their findings “are not generalizable”, nor “proof of causation.” It’s actually an insult to the real significance of the evidence of hormonal and other biological factors on sexual orientation, which a strongly demonstrates that there is not a clear biological DETERMINATION…. The author’s couldn’t have done more injustice to the research than they have in this book. I highly recommend you all read it, and then read the actual research publications they cite. It becomes blindingly obvious after the first half a dozen how grossly bias the authors have been.

    The Scientific consensus is this: The cause of Sexual orientation is an unclear mix of biology and environmental factors. There are no conclusive facts of causation and the facts they have established are do in no way imply causation…. and that is a fact! Sexual Orientation hetero or homo, or asexual for that matter, are all socially constructed, biological factors of course contributing to this construction, but they do not determine it.

    On another note however, I agree GJ is a hypocritical company that deserves boycott, because I happen to know the owner attends Hillsong Church, however, that doesn’t mean they are against Gay Marriage. they may well be pro gay rights. Hillsong aren’t conservative christians and they have a very low view of the Bible, so there is no guarentee that the owner supports the anti-gay sentiments of the organizations they support, they might just support the overall Christian sentiments. But it’s certainly BS that they don’t have a vested interest in Hillsong.


      1. Anonymous

        I know that members of the Saleh family are very high up in Amway, also located right near the Hillsong Church. I thought this connection might be something that would interest you. I cant say any more.

  12. Kris

    I think some of the above commenters would be surprised at just how many Christians have shared the Gloria Jean’s/ACL link on their FB pages and have also joined the boycott. I would be one of them.
    Not all Christians are rightwing fundamentalists who go to Hillsong and think you can pray the gay away.
    In fact, some Christians ARE gay, openly so in fact, and have found churches that happily have them and their partners as members of their congregations.
    Please don’t tar all Christians with the same brush, we don’t like being connected to uneducated red-necks any more than you do.
    And for the record? Many of us despise the inaccurate wealth-based theology that Hillsong preach and everything they stand for.
    Mind-blowing, I know.
    I haven’t bought Gloria Jeans in about 5 years due to the Hillsong connection, and the sooner everyone knows their true colours, the better.

    1. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

      Hi Kris, I appreciate your comments and wish to assure you that the vast majority of us realize that what we are addressing here is fundamentalism. It is clear from surveys that the majority of Australian Christians don’t agree with the fundamentalist positions of Hillsong, the Australian Christian Lobby or even their own clergy on the vast majority of issues concerning ‘public morality’.

      It is encumbent upon Christians like you, however, to network, organize and put pressure on your religious representatives to represent your views and speak out against organisations which disseminate (and fund) homophobic propaganda.

      It is all very well to say, “Not all Christians are like that – don’t tar us with the same brush!” But the liberal Christian voice is all but silent in the debate. We have had a few religious organisations and individual clergy speak out against the Australian Christian Lobby, but the pervading attitude seems to be, “We don’t agree, we think the ACL is embarrassing, but we don’t want it to look like there’s a rift in the Christian church in Australia.”

      I say, there already IS a rift and so there should be! I would feel much less inclined to ‘tar all Christians with the same brush’ if I saw the same level of activity against the Australian Christian Lobby and its ilk from Christians as I see from us atheists and secularists.


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