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McClatchy-Tribune  04/25/2014 11:24 PM ET
Advocacy group Faith Driven Consumer faults Nike, Adidas [The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. :: ]

April 25--When it comes to having a Biblical worldview, Adidas is bad but Nike is worse in the eyes of advocacy group Faith Driven Consumer.

The organization's website has a five-star ratings for several companies based mostly on their corporate positions on abortion, gay marriage, sexual imagery and philanthropy. Fewer stars mean a company is not measuring up. Faith Driven Consumer published its rating in advance Christmas 2013; the industry magazine Adweek wrote in its latest issue about the influence of Christian activists.

Nike gets what appears the worst possible rating: a red-colored star and the notation "strongly leaning against a Biblical world view." Other brands that join the Oregon footwear and apparel company in this rating include Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Walgreen's and Victoria's Secret.

In its description of Nike's shortcomings, the Faith Driven Consumer says:

"Nike is one of the most vocal corporate supporters of abortion in America. It actively contributes to organizations whose missions are to reduce the stigma surrounding abortion and ensure that abortion services are widely accessible and affordable to all. In addition, Nike fully embraces the homosexual, bisexual and transgender political and social agenda in the workplace and beyond, and has come out in support of same-sex marriage -- forming a PAC fund to donate $280,000 to the current effort in Oregon to redefine marriage. Nike does not use the word 'Christmas' in its seasonal promotions."

Asked in an email how Faith Driven Consumer came to label Nike as "one of the most vocal corporate supporters of abortion in America," a spokesperson on Friday pointed to monetary contributions that nonprofit Nike Foundation made to the Population Council. That New York-based nonprofit has advocated for the use of the "morning after pill" as a safe form of contraception around the world. The Population Council also seeks to control the spread of HIV and advocates for girls and young women in the developing world.

The Faith Driven Consumer assessment credits Nike's advertising as "non-offensive," while encouraging young people to participate in sports. And, "As a corporation, it is also deeply committed to good environmental stewardship."

Adidas earns two orange stars and the notation "leaning against a Biblical world view." The listing erroneously says the company's North American headquarters are located in Beaverton. They're in North Portland.

Among the German company's moral failures, according to the site:

"Adidas recently came out in support of same-sex marriage in Oregon. As a thoroughly secular company at its core, adidas does not mention Christmas in its promotions and specifies that it will not partner with religiously affiliated charities in its corporate philanthropy or groups that 'discriminate' on the basis of 'sexual orientation.'"

It's rating concludes by saying:

"While adidas' is committed to environmental stewardship, offers non-offensive advertising, and contributes to causes that encourage youth, sports, education, healthcare and disaster relief, it is a thoroughly secular European company..."

In response, a spokeswoman for Adidas' North American headquarters in Portland said in an email, "Yes, we do support same-sex marriage in Oregon and yes, it is correct that we do not partner with any groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or otherwise. I will also confirm that we have highly active corporate and social responsibility teams who work every day to build more sustainable business practices. "

A Nike spokesman declined to comment.

-- Allan Brettman


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