The owners of a chocolate company in Switzerland are sticking to their Christian convictions in the face of a decision by Swiss Air Lines to drop them as a vendor. The air carrier made the decision to sever its ten-plus year business relationship with high-end chocolate manufacturer Läderach after the candy company received backlash over the Christian and pro-life values of its owners.
For more than a decade, Läderach has provided small boxes of its luxury chocolates as complimentary gifts to Swiss Air passengers. But following months of disruptive protests by LGBTQ and abortion activists against Läderach over the Christian and pro-life activism of owner Jürg Läderach and his son, company CEO Johannes Läderach, Swiss Air decided to stop doing business with Läderach. According to Swiss magazine Beobachter, a significant number of homosexuals are employed by Swiss Air Lines.
Jürg Läderach is president of a prominent Swiss Evangelical Christian organization, Christianity for Today, which advocates for traditional marriage and against abortion, and CEO Johannes Läderach is on the board of the ministry. Additionally, both of the Läderachs are heavily involved in European pro-life ventures, including helping to coordinate March for Life events across Switzerland.
TheBlaze.com noted that on its website, Christianity for Today “promotes traditional marriage between a man and a woman, reinforced by a Christian foundation, as the backbone of civilization. The organization also calls for parents to instill Christian values in their children and the protection of human life — from conception in the womb to natural death.”
Since the Läderachs’ Christian convictions became widely known, the company has faced acts of vandalism against some of its stores in Europe, and shortly before Swiss Air Lines severed its ties with the company, a German homosexual activist group called for a boycott of the Läderach company, advising that “one way of protesting would be, for example, if hotels or restaurants decided to eliminate Läderach’s products from their range of goods and clearly mark the reason.”
Johannes Läderach said in an interview that while his company’s business is still growing, including expansion into U.S. markets, because of their commitment to Christian values “we have customers who will no longer buy from us. However, new customers came into the store, who were sorry to see a conflict being played out on the back of the employees.”
Läderach emphasized that the candy company does not discriminate against individuals who identify as LGBTQ. “We have homosexuals working for us,” he said, and “we don’t ask them. I attended a gay network event because I wanted to hear what the LGBTQ movement has against Läderach. I explained that I may have a different opinion on same-sex marriage or on the question of when life begins. But this does not mean that I have anything against homosexuals. Läderach has a zero tolerance for discrimination.”
As for his pro-life stance, Johannes Läderach said, “I understand if people value a woman’s right to choose more than an unborn child’s right to life. But I ask for understanding for my opinion. I’m allowed to have a different opinion.”
He added that regardless of the attacks against his family and company, he has no intention of abandoning his convictions. “I don’t want to stop fighting for my Christian values just because we’re having success as a company,” he said. “Ultimately what counts is not how much profit we make, but whether we stand by our convictions.”
Image: flickr.com / bigbirdz