Many of us who who passionately support women’s rights, LGBT rights and human rights were outraged when we first learned that the founder of TOMS Shoes appeared at a Focus on the Family (FOTF) event recently. FOTF is an evangelical Christian group that is anti-gay and anti-abortion. It was also mentioned on numerous news articles, blogs, twitter postings and Facebook updates that TOMS and FOTF were considering a partnership.
While the founder of TOMS, Mr. Mycoskie, is admittedly an evangelical Christian, he has responded to this issue by saying:
Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family’s beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company’s part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly.
Furthermore, contrary to what has been reported, Focus on the Family is not a TOMS giving partner.
So there is no misunderstanding created by this mistake, let me clearly state that both TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all. That belief is a core value of the company and of which we are most proud.
Okay, I’ll buy it. I respect his response and even more so i respect an additional commentary I read on The Christian Post, yes I did read it because I like to get all sides of the story, “Mycoskie, like a growing number of young evangelicals, has stayed away from culture war issues and focuses his efforts instead on battling humanitarian problems.”
Does this mean that at some point in the future evangelical Christians will no longer use their religious beliefs in their political fights and votes? I find that hard to believe. If they had to choose to vote for either a Republican candidate who was against same-sex marriage, abortion and whatever humanitarian issue they are trying to fight versus a Democrat who is for same-sex marriage and abortion but also supports their humanitarian causes I still believe they would choose the Republican.
With that said, i do see a light at the end of the tunnel. What do I mean? Maybe we can start seeing past our cultural issues and realize that who one sleeps with has nothing to do with any one else and instead we should simply worry about humanity and basic human rights. We can worry about feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and helping those who need help.