Shortly before he was scheduled to address thousands at the annual Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz withdrew, prompted by a petition signed by only 700 people on the liberal website that said Willow Creek Community Church has a “long anti-gay history.”

The petition objects not to the purpose or content of the annual leadership summit, but to former associations of the host. Willow Creek Community Church once had a relationship with Exodus International, the nation’s largest Christian organization dedicated to reaching out to homosexuals. The church’s break with Exodus drew criticism from some conservative Christians.

The petition called for a Starbucks boycott, saying that by not denouncing conversion therapy, Starbucks was giving “tacit approval.”

Gay activists have targeted a growing number of corporations working with churches and ministries on various projects. The activists often call conservative Christian organizations “hate groups” and the label seems to be sticking.

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