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Rich DeVos on Third Generation, IBOs, Gay Marriage, Obama
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edited for size



At 83, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos prepares company's third generation, addresses church, gay-marriage concerns
by Chris Knape | The Grand Rapids Press

Tuesday May 19, 2009, 6:20 AM


Q: You gave $100,000 to the effort to defeat the recognition of gay marriage in Florida. Why did you choose to put money behind that cause?

A: Because I believe in it. That's just a sacred issue of respecting marriage. It was not an anti-gay thing.

I have been hung in effigy by the gay community for a long time, from when I was on President Reagan's first AIDS commission.


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Q: How does that tie in with the gay marriage issue?

A: From that point on, that's when they were hanging me in effigy because I wasn't sympathetic to all of their requests for special treatment. Because at that time it was always somebody else's fault. And I said, "You are responsible for your actions, too, you know. Conduct yourself properly," which is a pretty solid Christian principle. You've got to take responsibility for your actions. It went from there to a series of requests for special treatment.

I would say, "I understand who you are. I accept who you are. Live your life. I will respect you. But don't keep asking for favors." Don't ask for a concession on the marriage issue, which is not vital to them, in my opinion. They've made it a vital issue because they want to.


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Q: Is there a solution? A compromise you would support?

A: Call it something else. Call it anything you want to. But marriage is a sacred document, OK? A sacred sacrament in the church and in the world. Don't mess with it.

Go do something else. I deal with a lot of wonderful gay people. I hire a lot of them. I use a lot of them. I respect them. They're terrific. I am good friends with them. But you live your life the way you want to live and I'll live mine and I won't stick my nose in yours. But don't keep trying to change things. That's all.

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Q: Do you think it's a winnable fight, long term?

A: For them? They've won a lot of fights. They're a tough bunch. They keep asking for concessions all their lives. I don't put anything past their ability to adjust things to their way on some equality basis. That's all fine until you start dealing with sacred issues.


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Q: How is your health?

A: My mind is OK. They tell me it is. My legs aren't good, but otherwise I'm fine.

I'm getting around. I'm chasing the ball games. The kids tell me I'm doing too many things. I spoke at Grand Rapids Christian High this morning to a bunch of little kids. I said, "I wonder what these kids think about when they think a millionaire or a billionaire? What image do they get?"


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Q: What image do you think they have?

A: They always send me thank-you notes by the hundreds. The image was always of dollar bills and 10 million dollar bills. I said, that's a bad image.

I want to go and show them what I really look like, tell them about how I struggled to get through this school so they see that those things don't just happen, and here I'm some rich old guy who counts his money every day.


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Q: What do you hope those kids tell their kids about you?

A: That he's a nice guy, and that he went to this school and he didn't get all A's and he struggled. But he turned out to be good. The Lord blessed him and he can bless me if I do that. I hope they go out with an image that they can do good things too. That's my goal. "You can do this."


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Q: Amway has been accused of being a pyramid scheme, of tax evasion and a host of other things. How much of the problems Amway has had over the years can you attribute to the decisions that you made or Jay Van Andel made?

A: We failed to come down hard enough, quick enough, to stamp that sort of thing out. That was a sin of omission. We failed to discipline the organization.

Our concept is square that people would all understand this and they would observe these things. But the power to make money quick is in all of us.

But oddly enough, Jay and I used to talk about this, we never had a goal of making a lot of money. We had a goal of having a business of our own.

And there were many times we could have sold out and had a lot of money. Billions. We just put it in our pocket and go home, OK? But that was never our goal.


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Q: Looking back on on some of the major events in the company's history, what would you do differently now?

A: I would maintain better control on the business. I would have better and clearer rules. I'd have more police and enforcement-type things. We believed so much that people would do these things in the right way because they were right.

But the normal greed of all of us and a lot of these people just overcame them. They wanted to make more money now.


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Q: Did you ever find yourself getting greedy?

A: Yeah, I've always been greedy. But never to the point where I corrupted the system. The normal desire to make money is always there. But it was never so powerful in the building of the business that it overcame those things.


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Q: Do you see a third generation running the company?

A: I'm just beginning to train them. We're just beginning to hold meetings with them. It was Doug and Steve's initiative that we should meet twice a year with all the grandchildren to prepare them for not working here or, if they want to work here, what the conditions are going to be. That's all spelled out now.


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Q: If at some point the second generation want to sell?

A: They can't sell. They can sell to each other, but they need approval of the company and so forth. The idea is not to let this thing be kicked around.


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Q: How do you think President Obama is doing?

A: I don't like a lot of what he's doing. He's a little scary to me. He's terrific. I watched his Notre Dame speech yesterday, and I'll tell you, he's good. He can take a controversial issue and handle it very well and you know, there's a lot of merits to what he's talking about. You can't compromise the sacredness of the unborn child either from our belief that God created them, too. That's a sacred issue. Just like the marriage issue. Those are sacred things now; we've got to respect that.


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Q: What scares you about what he's doing?

A: The way he spends money. Throwing it around. I know what a billion dollars is around here. I remember when we first reached a billion.

I realized what a billion dollars was and what it took to take care of it and try and protect it. And so, when they throw billions and billions around, it's just going to get lost. It's going to get stuck in fingers. It's just going to disappear because it isn't just something you can spend like that and spend it responsibly.

Let's slow up a little bit. Let's make sure what we're doing is worthwhile. Before it all gets disappated and we say, "What happened to all that money?"

That's what happens when money is treated so casually. If it isn't your money it's easy to spend it.


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Q: Is it pretty fun to be Rich DeVos?

A: It is fun to be Rich DeVos. It's great fun.


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Q: What do you want your legacy to be?

A: I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. But I would like to have them think I'm a life-enricher, that I'm a guy who, while I made a lot of money, I spent my life helping other people do better, helping other people accomplish their goals.



http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/i...chard.html
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#2
Videos here:

http://www.mlive.com/multimedia/grand-ra...w_hig.html
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#3
"Call it something else. Call it anything you want to. But marriage is a sacred document, OK? A sacred sacrament in the church and in the world. Don't mess with it."

No churches, priests, or religious texts will be forced to recognize gay marriages. I'm wedding abroad this summer and cannot do so in a catholic church as neither me nor my bride will be catholic.

I don't understand this FEAR about teh gays. Actually, I kind of get it, its' flat out an anti-gay thing. Lets call it what it is.
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#4
I don't think that preserving marriage for one man and one woman is anti-gay.

I think that gay marriage is one place where DeVos and Obama seem to have a lot of common ground.

Here are Obama's views on gay marriage:

Quote:You know, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman." (an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper, June 16, 2008)

I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it's also a sacred union. You know, God's in the mix." (an interview with Rev. Rick Warren, Aug. 16, 2008)

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage." (an MTV interview, Nov. 1, 2008)
 Reply
#5
I think we've discussed this before? My opinion is that gays are picking the wrong fight here. I understand why, but it's simply a label. What's important is equal rights, not equal labels.
 Reply
#6
ibofightback Wrote:I think we've discussed this before? My opinion is that gays are picking the wrong fight here. I understand why, but it's simply a label. What's important is equal rights, not equal labels.

This is exactly right! It is exactly what Rich is saying in this interview.

Personally I feel the government should have ZERO to do with marriages or civil unions. It really is just a way to grab more money through the "document" process.

Anyone who is committed to one another should be allowed to have the same rights. I absolutely agree with that, but label it marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and woman.
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. --Roosevelt
 Reply
#7
TB 2 IBO Wrote:Anyone who is committed to one another should be allowed to have the same rights. I absolutely agree with that, but label it marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and woman.


Well ... I disagree with the "sacred" part, but I don't think it's worth the fight!

Hmmm ... on the other hand, if I was gay and religious, then I guess I would feel differently, that I was in fact being refused "the same rights".
 Reply
#8
ibofightback Wrote:Well ... I disagree with the "sacred" part, but I don't think it's worth the fight!

Hmmm ... on the other hand, if I was gay and religious, then I guess I would feel differently, that I was in fact being refused "the same rights".


My personal opinion is that the hardest is on Christians who are gay.

Mel White's story, I think, captures that of many gay Christians. <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.soulforce.org/article/11">http://www.soulforce.org/article/11</a><!-- m -->

For those who are taught the message of Jesus, of unconditional love (that's redundant), and grace; but then the hatred and the condemnation in the church toward them, all in the name of God...ug.

I don't have all the answers, however, after reading his book "Stranger at the Gate," I just say that my "job" is to LOVE, and leave the rest to God.

I find it so interesting...if you believe being and/or acting gay is a sin, why is it okay to rant about homosexuality, yet we don't go walking up to fat people and rant to them about their gluttony?

It's just so stupid.

(shakes her head, and walks away)
 Reply
#9
As I view it...marriage is an institution of faith. Particularly in the USA the christian faith.

It is funny that certain groups claim the "separation of church and state" when it comes to the 10 commandments in the classroom, yet throw it out the window with regards to marriage.

Not necessarily in the legal sense, but I take the word marriage as serious as say...an African American takes the N-word. Perfectly fine for others of the "same" to use it (by same I mean heteros and Africans), but highly offensive when "others" try to use it. It is an absolute commitment to my God and my wife and my children that I be the responsible one, to set an example for my children and other family members as to what true commitment is about. Which is a whole different topic altogether.

The problem with this analogy is that it is far easier to throw the word marriage around in this country than it is the N-word. Simply because it is a Christian view point and until that changes..well I guess the debate will continue.
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. --Roosevelt
 Reply
#10
TB 2 IBO Wrote:Not necessarily in the legal sense, but I take the word marriage as serious as say...an African American takes the N-word. Perfectly fine for others of the "same" to use it (by same I mean heteros and Africans), but highly offensive when "others" try to use it. It is an absolute commitment to my God and my wife and my children that I be the responsible one, to set an example for my children and other family members as to what true commitment is about. Which is a whole different topic altogether.


How would this not apply to a committed Christian gay couple?
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