Backing marriage is “evil” according to Tesco boss and Tesco response

tesco01_180pxAs you plan your Christmas shopping, you may be interested to read this.

Christians are “evil” if they resist the redefinition of marriage to allow for same-sex marriage, the Head of Research and Development at Tesco.com has said.

The company has already faced criticism for dumping its support for the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ and sponsoring London’s gay pride festival.

If you won’t be shopping at Tesco this Christmas, tell them so on their Facebook page: facebook.com/tesco or email CEO Philip Clarke: [email protected]

The “evil Christians” comment was made by Nick Lansley, Head of Research and Development for the Tesco website.

He wrote: “I’m also campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners.”

The comments appeared on Mr Lansley’s profile page on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.com, where he lists his employment as “Head of R&D at Tesco.com”. But following complaints to Tesco the remarks have now been removed.

Postscript:

The Daily Telegraph carried an apology from Tesco on Tues 20 December 2011 over the “evil Christians” outburst. The report said that faced with the prospect of a Christmas boycott, the supermarket chain distanced itself from Nick Lansley, the head of research and development at tesco.com. A Tesco spokesman said Mr Lansley’s remarks “in no way reflect the views of Tesco. We are very sorry that anyone might have thought there was any blurring of the boundary between his personal comments and work for Tesco”.

PPS:

This is a reply to my email to the Chief Executive of Tesco which I received on December 22. I appreciate the spirit and content of this response, and am happy to withdraw the final sentence of my original posting.

Thank you for your e mail addressed to Philip Clarke, our Chief Executive, regarding the on-line activities of one of our staff.

I can appreciate your concern that comments made on the internet by a Tesco member of staff, Nick Lansley, might represent the views of Tesco itself.  I want to reassure you in the clearest possible terms that Mr Lansley’s comments and postings, made in a personal capacity, in no way reflect the views of Tesco.  Our values as a company are such that we abhor criticism of any religion, and we knew nothing about Mr Lansley’s comments and postings until they were brought to our attention.  It is not for us to dictate or limit those private views but we do not tolerate statements that insult others or their beliefs.  For that reason, when Mr Lansley was found to have posted material on his blog which insulted the religious beliefs of others, he was reminded of Tesco’s policy and the material was removed forthwith.

We know that being the UK’s leading retailer carries unique responsibilities.  We have a responsibility to show leadership, as we do on issues like climate change and helping to develop our people’s skills.  We also have a responsibility to listen carefully to our many and diverse customers and stakeholders, respect their views and seek to balance their opinions in the decisions we make.  This is not always easy, particularly on issues where opinions can differ markedly.  Whatever the issue, it is never our intention deliberately to inflame or polarise opinion or to make an already contentious debate more contentious.

We very much accept that, however well-intentioned we are, we do not always get everything right for everyone.  I do hope, however, that the explanation gives you some reassurance about how seriously we take the views of all our stakeholders, and the value we attach to tolerance and inclusion. I hope also that it begins to restore your confidence that Tesco does try to do the right thing and does indeed listen to your feedback.

Kind regards

Modupeola Ogutuga

Customer Service Executive

17 Replies to “Backing marriage is “evil” according to Tesco boss and Tesco response”

  1. This is typical of todays “Modern” thinkers who are quite happy to voice their opinions on Christians and our beliefs but in most cases are not prepared to listen to what the Bible teaches because it is old fashioned and outof touch. First of all these people are Homosexuals not “GAY”. Where would the human race be if we all followed suit (Extinct long ago). This is wrong in the sight of God and by the laws of nature, face pu to it.

  2. @S Simpson
    We have made a decision as a family that our £10,000 per annum spend at Tesco will be spent elsewhere, probably Sainsbury.

    Christians need to stand up and speak up.

  3. I totally agree with all the comments and I will be joining you in leaving tesco but for voices to be listened to we need to write and state that but even more important is communicating the reason!

  4. I found the responses here fascinating, particularly those who are now going to boycott Tesco. I fully support Biblical views on human sexuality, and yet I think there are much bigger issues to be concerned with, when it comes to the conduct of multiple supermarkets. They are disgracefully aggressive in the way they treat many of their suppliers. Many of our high streets have been ruined, and many small businesses closed, as a result of their dominance. And they sell garments in their clothing aisles that can only be sold profitably through the exploitation of people in the developing world. Why don’t we care about that? Why does none of that make us stop shopping at Tesco? Why are Evangelical Christians so preoccupied with sexual morality, and yet so indifferent to wider issues of social justice? Look at Ezekiel 16:49 to see how wrong our priorities are.

  5. I think Stafford should have been more careful about repeating this report which appears on The Christian Institute website.

    The report might cause some readers to think that Mr Lansley wrote his comments about ‘evil Christians’ on a Tesco website. However, he was writing on his personal Flickr website about his interests and hobbies outside his work in Tesco.

    In other words, while he is a Tesco employee, he was not writing on their behalf or as their spokesman.

    There may be other reasons for not shopping at Tesco, but I do not think Tesco should be blamed for what one employee thinks.

  6. @Colin You make some fair points about retailers: pricing structure, packaging, pay and conditions are a disgrace in many shops which evangelicals frequent – indeed own!

    With regard to Tescos, another reason I shall not shop there for the foreseeable future, other than the points raised by Stafford, is because they are open on Boxing Day (in Ballymena at least.) Our local Sainsbury’s have the decency to give their hardworking staff a break.

  7. Disappointed on your follow up on this subject from your Sunday evening service Stafford – I thought you could have powered through with Matthew 5:44.

    Also, “….by their fruits you shall know them” – cuts both ways!

  8. I have stopped shopping at Tesco last month after learning that they will sponsor the gay pride. About the “personal opinions of an employee”, first of all this employee is a senior executive of the Company, and second, Christian employees have been advised by their Unions to not mention their employment anywhere on social networks, just in case their opinions are not aligned with the Company’s ones .. in other words a Christian employee can not say that he works at Tesco while posting a comment against gay lifestyle/gay marriage!
    BOYCOTT TESCO!

  9. As the views expressed were on a private Flickr webpage, I see no reason why Tesco should be held responsible for what an employee has privately posted. This was not endorsed by Tesco or promoted by Tesco so attaching it to Tesco is serioulsy questionable.

    A bit of discernment, particularly, with some of what the “Christian Institute” publishes is required.

  10. It should also be pointed out that the comment was posted on Flickr in 2008 and was removed promptly when it was pointed out that it was a bit strong. A boycott of Tesco now relating to something an individual did years ago seems a little over the top. Just because the Christian Institute have chosen it as their latest bandwagon does not mean everyone has to join in the feeding frenzy.

  11. If Dave G is correct and these comments are 3 years old then more than Tesco needs to apologise!

    as for the Tesco apology, it bears out what has been said already on this blog, the comments were personal and had nothing material to do with tesco. The blurring – possibly deliberately – of personal comments with work for any company or organisation should not be acceptable, and organisations should not be unjustly targetted for the personal views of individuals. Maybe clarification should now be provided for those who have heard these accusations, but do not read this blog.

  12. I think the full Tesco response inthe Daily Telegraph bears reporting. So for the avoidance of any doubt;

    A Tesco spokesman said: “Mr Lansley’s comments, made in a personal capacity in 2008, in no way reflect the views of Tesco.

    “Our values as a company are such that we abhor criticism of any religion, and we knew nothing about Mr Lansley’s comments until they were brought to our attention.

    “We are very sorry that anyone might have thought that there was any blurring of the boundary between his personal comments and his work for Tesco. We have therefore asked him to remove the comments, and he has done so. “

  13. I would like to exactly echo Colin’s comment above (and well said to that man)…if people are going to boycott Tesco over something maybe there are bigger issues at play than what some employee wrote on a private website a few years ago. It makes me sad and frustrated that we get so hung up on stuff like this while we miss the forest for the trees…

  14. Lets face it if he had been an ordinary joe bloggs he would have been sacked on the spot and escorted out of the building.

  15. I really find it difficult to understand how people can get so hung up on the subject of where they shop just because somebody associated with that retailer happened to express a personal opinion about gay people and Christians on a different website. I agree with Colin and Dave that there are probably much more important reasons to take issue with Tesco than this. If you really think that taking your ball and going home (or taking your £10,000 to Sainsburys!) is an effective policy which will make a real difference then good luck to you but I couldn’t imagine Jesus boycotting Tesco for the reasons cited. But if you’re gonna do it, maybe you should knock up a few “Careful Now” or “Down with this sort of thing” placards and stand outside like Father Ted and Dougal! Least you’d give the rest of us who struggle to live in the real world a laugh!

  16. It says in the bible no same sex relationships, you can’t change religion to suit yourselves!

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