April 25, 2005

Microsoft & Pastor Ken

To be clear about who it is exactly that Microsoft is said to have caved to over supporting an anti-discrimination bill in the WA State Legislature, Pastor Ken Hutcherson is one of the more radical and colorful gay-haters in the state. His Mayday for Marriage just before the 2004 election, a disgusting attempt to scare people into thinking that the gay stormtroopers are going to invade their marriage bed, or something tweaked like that, and that only Bush could save them.

Maybe some really think he's in it all for the glory of God, but again last autumn he was in it for the glory of another politician, Dino Rossi:


Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Redmond mentions his "Best Friend" is Rush Limbaugh during his speech.

Hutcherson gave a speech at this political rally along with these other folks. Is that the crowd Microsoft wants to seem to throw in with in this state? People who use religion as a political baseball bat? People who use religion to imply that they're a type of new Most Chosen people by virtue of membership in that most estimable and incorruptible of all earthly affiliations, a political party.

As an aside, wtf happened to giving Caesar's things to Caesar and God's things to God? Did somebody switch that when I wasn't looking so that it now reads that you should give God's things to Caesar because verily it will give him a bump in the polls. Does it now say that you should hold all your prayers in the public square, and give God's things to the purpose of partisan advantage in the nasty brawl of political backstabbing that happens in every government yet invented? Again I say, WTF!

I went over to the Microsoft website to see if they'd put out any press releases on the subject, and the only thing I found remotely relevant was a change of corporate vice presidents in HR as of last Friday. But then via the Scobleizer's reaction, there's the full text of Ballmer's internal explanatory email, which makes the situation sound a bit better, if not entirely satisfactory.

Ballmer expresses his and Gates' personal commitment to equality, and has a very solid list of employee benefits and concrete actions taken to promote a tolerant and respectful environment within the company. I do admire that, and I see the logic in his explanation that as the officer of a public corporation you can't always use that office to express your personal views. Still, a perception has been created that even the mighty Microsoft can be bent to the will of a man who uses his position of trust in the community to be a divisive political hack and an enabler of bigots.

This can only encourage the floodgates of hackish bigotry to ... oh, to heck with it. That dam burst long ago. Mr. Ballmer, with all due respect, if you feel so strongly about this issue you might consider taking the day off to testify in Olympia as a private individual next time this bill comes up.

Posted by natasha at April 25, 2005 01:00 AM | WA News & Trivia | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Should we except that if Ballmer and Gates put themselves on the line on this their shareholders would not come along for the ride? I think, given their public personas and individual power, they could have made the case in such a way as to bring the shareholders along.

Posted by: Scott at April 25, 2005 04:59 AM

The thing I don't understand is, realistically, what difference would a right-wing boycott of Microsoft make? Mac users already hate them; geeks have already switched to Linux. Everyone else picks Microsoft due to the low PC prices bundled with Microsoft - and easy access to software.

So where's the real risk?

Posted by: Susie from Philly at April 25, 2005 05:44 AM

Do you have any idea how many millions of dollars Microsoft pays out every quarter in lawsuits? Just huge, they're a very popular target for all kinds of what I would consider genuinely frivolous lawsuits which they often settle out of court just to make them go away.

And if the government decided to change its mind about the antitrust issue under public pressure from noisy evangelicals, it could hurt not only sales but stock prices. In some ways, they are in a bit of a bind with this.

Posted by: natasha at April 25, 2005 10:26 AM

Well and you have to look at the other companies that supported the bill. Boeing, Coors. Who else can the pastor boycott? What? Is he going to go to Boeing and say, "We're not going to buy anymore of your planes?" or Coors and say "We're going to boycott your beer!". Coors could only dream of that kind of publicity.

Microsoft, and maybe WaMu, would be the easiest target.

Posted by: Scott at April 26, 2005 12:35 PM

God told Ken Hutcherson to confront Microsoft on the gay rights issue. God as 'I' understand Him is white.

Posted by: Gay Nazi at April 29, 2005 12:43 PM

It's really tragic that most people who are getting heated about what Hutch is doing don't even have the slightest clue as to why he is doing it. If they took the time to at least try to understand and let go of their hard and defensive attitudes, maybe they would understand a little better. But theyd rather stick to why they think hes doing it instead of the truth. This article claims him to be the 'hater' and the close minded one.....really now, from whos standpoint? That's pretty interesting, considering the fact that the author- who knows nothing about Hutch- hears what he is doing proably through a long long grape vine- calls him such things....what an open minded indivual. That's interesting to me.

Posted by: Kristen Corvali at April 29, 2005 01:11 PM

Kudos to Ken Hutcherson!
How interesting that homosexual groups
are getting a dose of its own medicine
via the threat of boycott. May Microsoft
endure a minor blow!

Posted by: Right Reader at April 30, 2005 12:44 AM

This article claims him to be the 'hater' and the close minded one.....really now, from whos standpoint?

How much more do I need to know than that he opposes extending to gay people the same protection from discrimination as is extended to people of faith? I don't care why he's giving ammunition to bigots. Let me repeat: I. Don't. Care.

It is hateful, and it does encourage bigotry. The evidence is all around you. Saying that they're inherently sinful is taken by many people to mean that they're second class humans. You can either promote and embrace treating them like everybody else, whether you're gay or not, or you can promote bigotry because that's the natural consequence of saying they don't deserve those rights.

I was raised in a fundamentalist household. I read the Bible through a couple times or more in the course of attending church and studying the bible several times a week, and I know that Hutcherson is probably claiming to do this out of a love of God and his fellow man. And it's my considered opinion that it's all a bunch of bunk spouted by people who want a really good excuse for being nosy jerks.

Out of a love of God, you try to set your own house in order. You try to increase the amount of love and tolerance in the world. You minister to the afflicted, afflict the comfortable, curse the moneychangers, feed the hungry, house the homeless, and you beg your fellow man to be merciful to one another because none of us knows enough to claim that we are righteous. I don't buy that anyone has time after all that to go nosing around in other people's bedrooms, and I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind when he laid down the only two commandments that he thought people really needed to follow. Any of you smart*sses sufficiently caught up on loving God with your whole heart, mind and soul and loving your neighbor as yourself that you think you deserve to go around sneering at gay people?

Bibles are for reading, not for thumping.

Now some people say that being gay is just a chosen lifestyle, but I can't imagine choosing a lifestyle that makes you that much more likely to get beaten up, kicked out of the house, fired, insulted, or generally treated like crap. But you know what is a chosen lifestyle? Religion. If you've reached the age of consent and you are practicing a religion in this country, you're doing it of your own free will. (Granted, Jewish people also face ethnic discrimination, but that's a separate issue.) Let me tell you, there's quite a bit of evidence supporting a genetic component to homosexuality, none that I know of supporting a genetic component to choosing a religious denomination.

If you can be protected by law for the chosen behavior of going to a Unitarian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, or Evangelical church, or protected by law for the chosen behavior of going to a mosque, temple or synagogue, then it's just a bunch of hypocrisy to be saying that people shouldn't be protected for deciding who to love.

This is the same debate that was going around when people were freaking out over allowing whites to marry non-whites. Newsflash: civilization as we know it survived just fine.

Posted by: natasha at April 30, 2005 04:22 PM

Three cheers for Ken Hutcherson. He has the courage to stand behind his convictions. Because of dedicated people like Ken, there WILL BE NO same-sex marriage. hooooooray!

Posted by: Dave at May 3, 2005 07:09 PM