TOMS Shoes controversy
Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2011 Jul 12
Jim_Daly Jul 11, 2011
In anticipation of a week out of the office to do some family camping, Jim Daly prepared several commentaries to run in his absence. However, in light of the developing TOMS Shoes controversy, we wanted to alert Jim’s readers and provide some background links on the issue as well as the ministry’s reaction to the story:
This Christianity Today Blog provides good background.
Also, as you’ll see from this exclusive video, this was by no means a politically motivated event. Before Jim’s interview with TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, we hosted more than 350 people who decorated their own pair of TOMS – and as a result, more than 350 shoes will now be shipped to needy kids overseas. This was just a fun family outing.
The following was released last evening to members of the press:
Focus on the Family Still Wants to Help Kids Get Shoes Through TOMS
Ministry hopes it can still air broadcast featuring TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, despite Internet controversy generated by those who disagree with group’s views on marriage
Colorado Springs, Colo. (July 10, 2011) -- Focus on the Family said today it still hopes to air a broadcast featuring TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, despite a storm of controversy in the blogosphere generated by a handful of groups that disagree with the Christian ministry’s views on marriage.
Mycoskie was interviewed by Focus President Jim Daly on June 30 in Orange County, Calif., a conversation recorded in front of an audience of more than 1,500. Over the weekend, groups that disagree with the ministry ideologically criticized Mycoskie for appearing at the event, and on Saturday he apologized for doing so, saying he wouldn’t have done it had he known the “full extent” of Focus’ beliefs -- although he did not indicate which beliefs concerned him.
Daly said he hopes to still be able to share Mycoskie’s story with the ministry’s more than 2 million U.S. radio listeners.
“We interviewed Blake because we thought his story would inspire other Christians to act on their faith like he has and to help others in need,” Daly said. “We want to tell our friends about the great work TOMS does and how they can be a part of putting shoes on the feet of impoverished kids.
“But that's not our choice. By contract, TOMS has the right to block broadcast of the program. We hope they won't do that, but we have yet to hear directly from Blake or anyone at TOMS about this situation.”
Daly admitted he was “a little saddened” by the vitriolic response of those whose protests led Mycoskie to distance himself from Focus.
“This is an unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit to help children in need simply because we hold to biblical beliefs about marriage and family,” he said. “It's also a chilling statement about the future of the culture we live in. We have to wonder: What will someone decide we're unfit to do next?
“Fortunately, as Christians we have the greatest example of all to follow in situations like this -- Jesus,” he added. “The things He stood for were not always popular, either. He was ostracized and much worse for doing the work of His Father. And through it all, He loved those who did not love Him and never stopped hoping they would come to know the Truth.”
Regardless of how the situation with TOMS turns out, Daly said, Focus on the Family will remain committed to helping families in ways based on biblical principles.
“Yes, we believe marriage is a sacred, lifetime union between one man and one woman. Yes, we advocate in the public policy arena for laws that uphold that truth,” he explained. “But the same Bible that tells us God's design and intent for marriage tells us all people are created in His image and are worthy of dignity and respect.
“While we may disagree with those who spearheaded this effort to get TOMS to distance themselves from us, our desire is not so much to defeat them at the ballot box as it is to bring them closer to the heart of Jesus Christ -- the only hope any of us have for the forgiveness and overcoming of our sins.”