Starbucks CEO Cancels Willow Creek Summit Talk

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Howard Schultz, the chief executive officer of Starbucks has canceled an appearance at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., after pressure from gay rights groups.

A company spokeswoman would not say why Schultz made the decision.

Schultz had signed a contract to speak at Willow Creek's annual leadership summit.

More than 700 people signed an online petition saying the megachurch is anti-gay and that Schultz should refuse to speak at the summit.

Willow Creek Pastor Bill Hybels told summit participants Thursday that the church understood Starbucks had a tough business decision to make, and they let Schultz out of his contract with no penalties.

Hybels also underscored that while Willow Creek adheres to biblical standards it is not anti-gay.

"Even as we challenge all of our people to these biblical standards, we do so with grace-filled spirits knowing the confusion and brokenness that is rampant in our fallen world," he said. "And so we honor the journey of everyone who is sincerely trying to follow Christ."

Hybels urged event participants to buy a Starbucks coffee soon from one of their locations to show Christian good will.

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