Faith

Franklin Graham Says Target CEO 'in Denial' Over 20% Stock Decline After LGBT Stance

Evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

The Reverend Franklin Graham said that Target CEO Brian Cornell “must be in denial” about the real reason Target stock has plummeted during the past month. Cornell attributed the 20 percent decline to “unfavorable weather trends in the Northeast,” rather than to the 1.3 million people who have pledged to boycott the company over its transgender bathroom stance.

On April 19, in response to the North Carolina law on similar issues, Target announced that it would open restrooms and changing rooms to men and women who identify as the gender opposite their biological sex. The next day, the American Family Association (AFA) launched a boycott effort, which reached one million signatures about one week later. It currently stands at 1,295,748.

“Target stock is tumbling after they announced a pro-transgender restroom policy allowing men to use women’s bathrooms and changing rooms,” Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, said in a viral Facebook status. “Stock value has fallen 20% and shareholder value has lost $10 billion since they began promoting this dangerous policy.”

Graham noted that Target CEO Brian Cornell attributed the stock drop to weather trends. “To date we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business. Just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted,” Cornell explained.

“Really? He must be in denial,” Graham declared. “Wake up, corporate America and stockholders– American families clearly do not want this.” He urged more people to sign the AFA petition.

Some of the reverend’s numbers are rather questionable. It is true that in the month following this decision, Target stock dropped 20.12 percent: from $83.98 on April 19 to a low of $67.08 on May 19. It currently stands at $68.67. Breitbart News used a chart from yahoo.com to estimate that this translates to a $10 billion loss in shareholder value.

This $10 billion number seems rather suspect. The Wall Street Journal reported a drop in revenue of $0.12 billion.

Overall for the quarter, Target reported a profit of $632 million, down from $635 million a year earlier. Revenue declined 5.4% to $16.2 billion, largely due to the sale of its pharmacy and clinic businesses to CVS Health Corp. last fall. Analysts had forecast $16.32 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Nevertheless, a 20 percent drop in stock prices is a serious decline. “We have seen a noticeable slowdown post-Easter,” Target CFO Cathy Smith admitted. The passing of that holiday season has hit other retail outlets as well. Macy’s and Nordstrom have both experienced declines as well.

In the same period, Walmart stock also fell, but by a smaller margin. From $69.77 on April 19, it fell to a low of $63.15 on May 18, and has since rebounded above where it was last month, to $70.55.

Next Page: But other companies are holding steady, and Target’s public image has declined…

Nevertheless, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the TJX Companies department store and Home Depot have reported healthy traffic and spending, “suggesting that consumers are willing to spend but are being more selective about where.” TJX stock has remained relatively stable, from $77.72 on April 19 to a slight drop of $72.68 on May 13, climbing back to $75.02 on Wednesday. Home Depot’s stock has also held steady, from $135.44 on April 19 to a peak of $137.51 on May 10, and holding at $134.01 on Wednesday.

Data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed that consumer spending in April rose to the best level in over a year, with Internet and catalog sales growing more than three times as fast as overall sales. These alternate ordering methods are up by 10.2 percent, while department store sales sank 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.

A YouGov report in late April showed that the public perception of Target also took a hit after the transgender bathroom announcement. “The percentage of consumers who would consider buying items at Target the next time they want to go shopping at a department store dropped from 42% to 38% over the past two weeks” since the decision. YouGov also found that respondents heard more negative news about the company since the decision, and that women had a more negative view than men.

Even if the stock drop is mostly explained through seasonal declines after Easter and the overall struggles of the retail industry, this image problem shows a real negative consequence from the transgender policy announced last month.

The transgender bathroom issue has caused a great deal of stress recently. After the Department of Justice ordered North Carolina to reject its own law on the issue, the state declared that it will sue the federal government. A baseball team may be prevented from attending the national championships because New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cut unnecessary travel to North Carolina.

Both the Department of Justice and the Department of Education sent guidance to schools across the nation that they should open their restrooms and changing rooms on the basis of gender identity, and 78 representatives responded with a letter asking how the agencies would enforce this rule. The guidance also led Oklahoma lawmakers to ask their national representatives to impeach Obama over the issue.

Next Page: A transgender dragon lady is the logical extension of this denial of human nature.

Unbelievably, a female employee at a Roman Catholic university is under investigation for the “hate crime” of explaining the biblical — and orthodox Catholic — view that all human beings are either male or female.

One transgender person took the ideology of denying human nature to its ultimate conclusion, saying it identifies as a dragon. The 55-year-old dragon lady born “Richard Hernandez” and now identifying as “Eva Tiamat Baphomet Medusa” and wishing to be referred to as an “it” had extensive surgery to make the transition complete. Eva removed its ears, altered its nose, extracted its teeth, received horn implants, and went through a procedure to have a forked tongue.

Target, by jumping on the transgender bandwagon, has agreed with an ideology of human nature fundamentally at odds with the Christian doctrine that God makes us male and female. The stock drop and decline in public perception should convince decision-makers that the transgender stance was a mistake, but even if the company reverses course, the issues have come to a loggerhead.

Our culture should learn how to honor people as people, without needing to accept the claim that some were born “in the wrong body.” In our great age of innovation with smart phones, tablets, and laptops everywhere, surely we can find an innovative way to solve this problem. Until then, the best we can do is pray and stand for biblical truth and religious freedom.