By Dwayne Hastings / Baptist Press
Thursday, April 3, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--McDonald's, known for its distinctive golden arches and, here in the South, its dollar sweet tea, is now being recognized for the dubious distinction of having a member of its executive team on the board of directors of the national Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
McDonald's has been a "corporate partner" with the chamber for some time; now its national vice-president for communications is on the organization's board of directors.
"I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce team and ready to get to work," crowed Jim Ellis, the chief spokesperson for the fast-food restaurants, in a chamber press release last month. He went on to say that he shares the chamber's "passion for business growth and development within the LGBT community and I look forward to playing a role in moving these important initiatives forward."
In addition to McDonald's, corporations represented on the chamber's board of directors include IBM, Motorola and Wells Fargo. Just last month, United Parcel Service (UPS) announced a partnership with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to offer discounts to "LGBT-owned" businesses. The chamber reportedly exists to promote the economic health of such businesses.
It's one thing for a corporation to be a "member" of the chamber. Most major corporations are . It's another thing entirely to take such a prominent role in promoting the "LGBT" cause, especially for a company like McDonald's that has built its business on the backs of America's families -- most of them solidly heterosexual and with children.
What will this do for Ronald McDonald's image? What secret has Ronald been keeping? What does McDonald's hope to gain by this action? No corporation does something like this without looking to benefit their bottom line.
I didn't realize McDonald's felt its market share among the "LGBT" segment of the population was suffering.
My family has decided to help the burger chain in beefing up its percentage of non-heterosexual customers. If we feel the need to eat a cheeseburger and fries, we'll be eating elsewhere. That'll leave room at their counters and their indoor playgrounds for the other customers McDonald's desperately wants to court.
That'll be tough for me. I really do like their french fries.
Dwayne Hastings is a vice president with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Originally published at iLiveValues.com, a website of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission