By Toby Harnden in Redmond, Washington 11/16/2007
From the Telegraph.co.uk.
A black conservative Christian pastor of an evangelical megachurch has vowed to take over Microsoft by packing it with new shareholders who will vote against the company's policy of championing gay rights.
The Reverend Ken Hutcherson, a former Dallas Cowboys linebacker, heads the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, home of Microsoft.
He told Microsoft executives at a shareholders' meeting last week that he would be their "worst nightmare" if they continued to defy him.
Antioch Bible Church attracts around 3,500 worshippers for its services and Mr Hutcherson is a powerful figure in the Christian conservative movement.
His church, which emphasizes racial diversity and a strict moral code, grew from a bible study class for just 15 people in 1984.
An advocate of a "biblical stance" against divorce and homosexuality, Mr Hutcherson, 55, is asking millions of evangelical activists, as well as Orthodox Jewish and other allies, to buy up Microsoft shares and demand a return to traditional values.
Microsoft, he declares, will be just the first company targeted in an escalation of the culture wars between evangelicals and corporate America.
"There are 256 Fortune 500 companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars into pushing the homosexual agenda," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"I consider myself a warrior for Christ. Microsoft don't scare me. I got God with me.
"I told them that you need to work with me or we will put a firestorm on you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare. I am a black man with a righteous cause with a whole host of powerful white people behind me."
Mr Hutcherson's office is decorated with the heads of deer, elk and a buffalo – "when I run into animals, I kill them and bring them home and eat them" – as well as invitations to the White House and signed pictures of himself with President George W. Bush.
His ambitious plan signals a new offensive in his two-year battle with Microsoft after it abandoned its neutral stance on gay rights legislation, which he says he helped secretly negotiate before outraged gay employees intervened.
By trying to become a political player in Washington state, he said, the company was trying to impose its sinful ways on others.
"Microsoft stepped out of their four walls into my world so that gives me the right to step out of my world into their world," he said.
"They tried to turn their policy into state policy, making their policy something I had to submit to. And my playbook [the bible] tells me you don't submit to sin."
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Microsoft has some 79,000 employees in 102 countries and an annual revenue of more than £25 billion.
Mr Hutcherson said that this made it a Goliath to his David but he insisted that he could call on enough Christian foot soldiers to win.
"I don't care how big Microsoft is," he said. "They are nothing but a feather in the wind of God. America basically got started with a tea party and Goliath, if I'm not mistaken, got taken down by David, who believed in the same cause I believe in.
"I'm going to go after the new Goliath with one little rock called a share and I'm going to make them tremble before we get through."
At the shareholders' meeting, Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said it was up to shareholders to continue their longstanding support of Microsoft's diversity policy, which includes an internal "affinity employee group" called the Gay and Lesbian Employees At Microsoft (GLEAM).
Mr Hutcherson, who grew up in segregated Alabama and played football to "hurt whites" before he became a Christian, believes homosexuality is a sin rather than a biological phenomenon.
He rejects comparisons between the black civil rights movement and calls for gay rights.
"How many homosexuals have you ever seen had to ride on the back of a bus? I haven't seen one. I know that many blacks have in the past.
"I've never seen an ex-black. Michael Jackson couldn't even achieve that. But I've seen ex-gays. We minister to them every day. We talk to them about how to get out of that sin."
© The Daily Telegraph.co.uk