Richard DeVos considers himself a prototypical Christian of sorts, who seeks to reunite two long divided Protestant sects. DeVos is very religious, and lives his life by the word of the Christian Reformed Church, which should mean something like “we are all God’s children and in this thing together.” Apparently not. Judging by this interview, the billionaire Amway co-founder selects his acts of charity for people he deems deserving. Read what he told mLive back in 2009, and let it slosh around in that skull of yours for a while.
[mLive] Q: You gave $100,000 to the effort to defeat the recognition of gay marriage in Florida. Why did you choose to put money behind that cause?
A: Because I believe in it. That’s just a sacred issue of respecting marriage. It was not an anti-gay thing.
I have been hung in effigy by the gay community for a long time, from when I was on President Reagan’s first AIDS commission…
From that point on, that’s when they were hanging me in effigy because I wasn’t sympathetic to all of their requests for special treatment. Because at that time it was always somebody else’s fault. And I said, “You are responsible for your actions, too, you know. Conduct yourself properly,” which is a pretty solid Christian principle. You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions. It went from there to a series of requests for special treatment…
…Call [gay marriage] something else. Call it anything you want to. But marriage is a sacred document, OK? A sacred sacrament in the church and in the world. Don’t mess with it.
Go do something else. I deal with a lot of wonderful gay people. I hire a lot of them. I use a lot of them. I respect them. They’re terrific. I am good friends with them. But you live your life the way you want to live and I’ll live mine and I won’t stick my nose in yours. But don’t keep trying to change things. That’s all.
His insistence that gay folks shouldn’t “keep trying to change things” sounds like the most callous, simple, and ignorant way to view the issue of gay rights — something he also deems “favors.” Because “helping thy neighbor” is “special treatment” when it comes to laws enacted to deter hate crimes, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and workplace discrimination.
Hey, this isn’t nearly the same thing as Donald Sterling’s recorded hate-rant. It is, however, food for thought when discussing the NBA as a place for everyone, vis-a-vis the opinions held by the owners.
Photo via Getty