Church Protests at McDonald's
Members of a Richmond County church have been protesting outside the Aberdeen McDonald's, encouraging a boycott of the restaurant chain.
The group, which is part of the congregation of Derby Fundamentalist Baptist Church near Ellerbe, is protesting McDonald's ties to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
The group contends that the restaurant chain's involvement with that organization is proof that it is trying to undermine traditional family values.
"McDonald's says they are going to promote the homosexual agenda," Dave Komenas, one of the protesters, said in a telephone interview. "We're making the Christian community aware of where their money is going."
The church believes in a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible. Komenas himself has practiced "street evangelism" for about 10 years.
Komenas said the issue isn't with McDonald's serving or employing homosexuals, but instead with the corporate office using its funds to "indoctrinate" young people into thinking that homosexuality is "acceptable."
He said homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle that is "an abomination to God" and goes against the teachings of the Bible.
The flier the group is distributing claims that "McDonald's has signed onto a nationwide effort to promote gay and lesbian business ventures" and "will aggressively promote the homosexual agenda." It points out the company's donations to the NGLCC, as well as the fact that McDonald's vice president of communications, Richard Ellis, serves on the organization's Board of Directors.
The flier asks residents to take action by contacting McDonald's and ask why it is "using its size and resources to promote the homosexual agenda."
Komenas said his efforts have garnered a lot of support from the Christian community.
William Whitman, of McDonald's USA, issued a written statement to The Pilot in response to the protests.
"At McDonald's, we respect and value everyone," the statement said. "Diversity and inclusion are business imperatives and integral components of our culture. We have a long and proud history of leadership in these areas and continually strive to maintain a work environment where everyone feels valued and accepted.
"We recognize and appreciate the contributions diverse groups and individuals bring to our society, including McDonald's. We stand behind and support everyone's right to live and work in a society free of discrimination and harassment."
The protests have been occurring on certain evenings for the past four weeks. Komenas said he was arrested by Aberdeen police during the first night of protesting because he didn't have a permit. He believes his First Amendment rights have been infringed upon.
Capt. Jim Foster, of the Aberdeen Police Department, said Komenas was asked on several different occasions to obtain a permit, but he did not. On Sept. 13, Komenas was arrested, cited and then immediately released.
The American Family Association (AFA) has been sponsoring a nationwide boycott of McDonald's until the company agrees to support "traditional family values." The AFA Web site said Thursday that it was ending the boycott because Ellis resigned his seat on the NGLCC board because it is the company's policy not to be involved in "political or social issues."
The NGLCC said in a statement on its Web site there has been "no discussion between the NGLCC and McDonald's regarding continuing membership, nor has the NGLCC been notified of any move not to renew our work together."
According to the site, "the NGLCC exists to foster relationships between major corporations and businesses owned by LGBT people and to ensure a fair and equitable workplace for all Americans. The NGLCC does not lobby on the issue of same-sex marriage."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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