In a press release fashioned as an AgapePress “news” story, San Diego exgay activist James Hartline calls upon “Christians” (by which he means antigay social-conservative Christians) to boycott Starbucks.

Without any substantiation, he accuses Starbucks of aiding homosexual pedophilia and supporting a national group that opposes defamation. (Presumably Hartline supports defamation.)

Again without substantiation, Hartline accuses one group, Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, of daring to criticize “faith-based groups that express biblical views or pro-family oppositions to homosexuality.” But Hartline does not identify any of these groups, nor does he define “biblical views” or “pro-family” — he simply assumes that his own prejudices are biblical and pro-family.

Hartline does not indicate where else an antigay coffee drinker could sip a premium coffee or iced latte in a relaxed progressive environment — or why they would want to. Many of Starbucks’ independent rivals are more liberal and anticorporate, while Dunkin’ Donuts — a chain with blue-collar appeal — is based in Massachusetts, the home of gay marriage.

However, Dunkin’ Brands Inc. was recently bought by Bain Capital, and Bain Capital has close ties to Republican governor Mitt Romney, who may be lining up a 2008 presidential campaign bid. In fact, Bain Capital and its principals appear to be generous donors to quite a few Republican state and federal campaign committees and political action committees.

Bain Capital’s partners in the Dunkin’ Brands purchase, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, also are generous in their donations to Republican political candidates.

Unless Hartline substantiates his far-fetched accusations against Starbucks, it would appear conceivable that he is smearing a politically moderate coffee chain in order to drive business toward a rapidly expanding rival chain that will become financially friendlier with the GOP while it expands its already strong appeal among cultural conservatives.

(Disclosure: I buy Dunkin’ Donuts by the half-dozen once per week. I buy Starbucks malted mocha frappuccinos three times per week.)

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