“Folgers is the largest coffee brand in the U.S. and the leader in overall coffee sales. While the company earns more than one billion dollars per year from Folgers sales, the average coffee farmer earns only about 300 dollars annually, which is barely enough to feed a family, let alone educate its children. In the face of these sobering facts, the Folgers brand has yet to be certified fair trade and is far from being a green product. These rock-bottom coffee prices have caused a global humanitarian crisis, devastating 25 million coffee farmers, their families, and their communities in over 50 countries around the world. Coffee farming families in Latin America, Africa and Asia are now living with hunger and suffering on a daily basis. Millions of families have been forced to give up medicine and healthcare, take their children out of school, and move off their lands. Reuters reports that in Nicaragua alone, at least a dozen farmers have died and over 1,600 children “are suffering from severe malnutrition.” Thousands of workers and their family members are homeless, left to beg in the streets and forage from garbage cans.” http://forcechange.com/13053/demand-fair-trade-certification-for-folgers-coffee/
In line with my Ph.D. proposal that is attached to my application to different schools throughout the world, the irresponsible purchasing of goods by Christians at the exloitive expense of other laborers in other countries is morally wrong (Kant’s second formulation of the Categorical Imperative is applicable). A “moral wrong” within the Christian metaphysic is more potently labeled, “sin.”
Ignorance is bliss, right? A little bit of information can actually change what you are accountable for (you can thank me later!). Remember, this blog is primarily geared toward the individual that claims to follow Christ. Would Jesus have bought coffee from a company if he knew that it was resulting in the exploitation, horrendous poverty, and abuse of children, women, and men? Surely Jesus would not have been seduced by the nice little jingle, “the best part of wakin’ up is Folger’s in your cup.”
So what if you cannot afford fair trade coffee. Here is the conclusion I am coming to: either stop drinking it or drink less. In other words, reduce your consumption level. More is not always better. Oh Christian, which is better, to drink all of the coffee you want or to limit yourself so that the coffee you drink can enrich rather than curse other people’s lives?
So many Christians in the American south love to focus on moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality. But what about the issues where the rubber really meets the road for people living in the affluent West?
The link provided above also names a few companies that are 100% Fair Trade. In addition, if you live in Picayune, MS, I noticed the other day that Claiborne Hill Grocery now carries an organic, Fair Trade coffee for under $8.
Do you want to follow Jesus or keep pretending that the act of purchasing is merely an economic act? As the previous pope, Pope Benedict XVI, stated in 2009, “It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral–and not simply economic–act.”
Time to change my coffee habits.
One thought on “Is Drinking Folger’s Coffee A Sin?”
I opened my email alert that Save the Christians had a new blog entry BEFORE my coffee yesterday morning. Wow! Folgers is my favorite brand and I’ve purchased it for over 8 yrs. I had no idea of the poverty of coffee farmers. Knowing this information I just don’t see how I can go on purchasing, supporting this brand. There’s bound to be a brand that tastes similar, having an enjoyable medium roast flavor, to me. I started to think of all the thousands perhaps millions of dollars Americans spend daily for coffee brewed at home, the office or at all of our special coffee houses like Starbucks. All that money, or at least part, could go to much better use in this needy world. So then I go to pour my first cup of Folgers coffee. (I may as well finish the 1/3 bag I have left.) Believe me, it was less enjoyable. Then I headed out to the porch for my quiet time. I’ve been reading through the book of James with a group of friends for the last few weeks. I open to the last chapter where I left off yesterday.. . . and BAM!!! James 5:1-6 (NLT) Warning to the Rich
5 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people,[a] who do not resist you.[b]
I hear you, Lord, loud and clear. That was no coincidence. So I went to the grocery store and bought a bag of organic, fair trade coffee. It will get used this weekend. It’s bound to go down easier and hopefully taste great! Meanwhile, there’s got to be an additional way to bless some of these coffee farming families. I’m on a mission. Thanks Mr. Condrey for opening eyes! And thank you, Lord, for quickly confirming it.