Have you ever heard of Kemmerer, Wyoming? It is the county seat of Lincoln County and according to the 2010 Census has a population of 2,656.
On April 14, 1902, three businessmen partnered and opened a retail store called The Golden Rule. In the next few years, they opened two more stores in the area, but in 1907, two of the partners, Thomas Callahan and Guy Johnson dissolved their partnership. The remaining partner, James Cash Penney managed to purchase full interest in all three stores and took control from there. In 1909, he moved his headquarters to Salt Lake City, Utah and by 1912 he had a grand total of 34 stores located throughout the Rocky Mountain states. In 1913, James Cash Penney placed all of his stores under the name of J.C. Penney and the rest is history.
The Great Depression hit Penney hard and he nearly lost everything he had. In an effort to salvage his retail company, he borrowed on his life insurance policies in order to meet payroll. The stress of the Great Depression and the financial burden it placed on Penney took its toll on his health and he ended up admitting himself into Battle Creek Sanitarium for treatment.
While at the sanitarium, it is reported that Penney heard the hymn God Will Take Care of You being sung in the sanitarium chapel. He was so moved by the hymn that he gave his life to Christ and became a born-again Christian.
This makes me wonder if Penney was alive today (he died in 1971 at the age of 95), would he have approved of the company’s decision to endorse homosexuality and bring famed lesbian Ellen DeGeneres to be the new company spokesperson? In February of this year, that is exactly what J.C. Penney did. Just prior to Father’s Day, J.C. Penney launched an ad campaign promoting gay fathers.
When the company announced their gay activist plans in February, their stock sold for $41.32 a share. Groups like the American Family Association and One Million Moms took to the Internet to lead an effort to boycott the company and hopefully make them change their policy or regret having done so. As of the time of writing this about them, J.C. Penney’s stock had plunged to a low of $20.02. In addition to their stock dropping to less than half of what it was, Standard & Poor’s Rating Service has taken the action to lower the company’s credit ranking for the second time in two months where it is now four levels into junk territory.
American Family Association director of special projects Randy Sharp says the timing of the stock plunge just happened to coincide with the company’s two full page ads in the their catalog that features a pair of gay dads and gay moms. Sharp commented:
"A company loses money [and] they lose sales when they offend their customers -- and this is exactly what's happened with JC Penney. Moms and dads, traditional families find it offensive that JC Penney is now going into the activist mode for homosexual marriage."
The company’s drastic downturn caused Michael Francis to resign as president of J.C. Penney after only 7 months at the helm. All indications say that Francis was responsible for the changes in the company’s marketing policies, although CEO Dan Celia may also share part of the blame as well.
James Cash Penney built an empire of retail stores and as a born-again Christian, he would never have let his company embrace something so anti-biblical as homosexuality. To coin an old expression, he probably turned over in his grave a few times since the company’s February announcement.
Until the leadership of J.C. Penney changes their current endorsement of homosexuality and gay marriage, I urge everyone to continue to avoid giving them your business. There are plenty of other businesses out there that honor traditional families and family values that would greatly benefit from your dollars and cents. As Christians we need to make our voices heard loud and clear and our voice is saying NO to the gay agenda of J.C. Penney!