Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!
-Sir Walter Scott
I wrote earlier about Gloria Jean’s awful attempt to quell the anger at their $30k donation to the vile Australian Christian Lobby. In their statement, they tried to distance themselves from the idea that their contributions were for the purpose of furthering the ACL’s aims:
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.
So it was just a good advertising deal, right? Definitely not a political donation to further the homophobic aims of the christian right, despite what the Australian Electoral Commission might think. What do they know about coffee, anyway?
Well now here’s the weird thing. The other day, when Gloria Jeans were claiming ‘it is important to reiterate that we are not religiously affiliated‘, I remembered (as did Chrys Stevenson), that Gloria Jean’s holding company is called JIREH International Pty Ltd. If that doesn’t ring any bells, check out Genesis 22. Jehovah-jireh is the site where Abraham was all down for killing his son because the voice in his head told him to. And Gloria Jean’s owners thought that was a fitting thing to commemorate by selling coffee. If that doesn’t strike you as mad-as-a-box-of-frogs religious, then their American subsidiary is much less subtle: Praise International.
I chuckled at the obvious untruth, and filed it away in the back of my mind.
And then today, it struck me as interesting that the ACL donation was listed by the AEC as coming from ‘Gloria Jean’s Coffees International’, not their parent company Jireh. I had a hunch, just as I had when I checked the Google cache for Hillsong Conference sponsors.
Had JIREH International Pty Ltd made any political donations, I wondered?
Boom! 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…
And whose name do we find next to one of those donations? $10,000 came from:
So unless I’m mistaken, in 2005 Gloria Jean’s donated $10k to the Family First party, via GJ’s parent company and a thin wrapper around the political party.
Which is a pretty big sum to give to an anti-SSM party while claiming to have no opinion on the issue, eh?