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To Boycott or not to Boycott…

Should Christians boycott businesses that support non- or anti-Christian viewpoints or groups? For instance, when the Southern Baptist Convention called for a boycott on all Disney products due to the fact that they supported Gay Rights… or recently, Home Depot and Pepsi Co. who publicly support Gay Rights organizations. On the surface, one might say yes, however, first, what does it accomplish, and more importantly, who does it truly affect?

First, unless every Christian completely boycotted the business, nothing really happens. Disney still exists, for example, and secondly, they still support Gay Rights – having a Gay Day every year and so forth. Did Disney suffer? Did Disney change their view and stance? The answer, quite simply, is no. First, not every Christian, or Baptist for that matter, boycotted Disney. Would a boycott work today? Again, the answer is no. Second, every Christian would never boycott a company – first, not every Christian goes to church, not every Christian cares. Also, in today’s postmodern society, not every Christian is “socially conservative,” – we even have openly gay ministers in pastoral and church leadership roles – most notably in The Episcopal Church (aka ECUSA). Next, all the boycott does – especially if it receives attention – is garner more press and exposure for the company to be boycotted. Thus giving adage to the term that even “bad press” is press, and therefore “good.” Keep in mind, the boycott of Disney garnered more support for Disney from the homosexual community plus the more socially liberal minded Americans and those throughout the world – especially from the more progressive European countries.

Now, who, if successful, would a boycott truly affect? Granted, if successful, it would have a great chance of negatively affecting the company, however, in this, the effect goes much deeper. All companies – i.e. Disney, Home Depot, Pepsi Co., Coca-Cola, etc, employ both believers and non-believers. If the boycott were to work, both believers and non-believers could quite possibly lose jobs. First, jobs, especially today, are hard to come by – the believers are sure to have families which they have to support – a successful boycott would put these people and their families in a potentially precarious position – not a very good witness to our fellow believers. Next, if the company was affected by a successful boycott, it would be obvious – through media coverage plus the propaganda that always circulates with such things – why the company was effected and why people lost their jobs. This is not the way to witness to non-believers – especially the ones who lost their job because of “righteous” protest. In fact, the non-believers, and quite possibly even the believers, would no doubt blame both the Church and the God they believe in. This, ultimately, could easily drive the non-believers even further away, and could even have the same effect on the believers, and their families, who lost their jobs. In addition, many of the believers who would lose their jobs, more than likely, support their local churches and parishes in some fashion – with the loss of their jobs, this support dries up – in the end also causing the houses of worship to suffer as well.

Now, I understand the desire to take a stand against companies and organizations that follow a belief system that is different then ones own – especially if it goes against the fundamental belief structure – i.e. homosexuality, abortion, etc, however, here is some food for though that I also mentioned on a friend of mines Facebook question about this  very topic. Do we boycott fast food restaurants because the promote gluttony? Do we boycott “nice” dinner restaurants (i.e. Outback, Olive Garden, Mexican restaurants, etc) because the have drink specials – thus promoting drunkenness? Do we boycott stores like Walmart because its possible that some of the products were produced in Third-World countries under extreme and lousy conditions – thus promoting human suffering? Do we boycott doctors because they trust medicine over God? Do we boycott our own (USA) government because they support abortion, gay rights, etc (thanks Scott Swanson). They answer for most of us is no… we love our McDonalds, our steak from Outback (and our martini), our cheaper clothes (especially in today’s economy), our medical care, and the fact that our government, for the most part, protects us. So then… why boycott simply because a company supports gay interests groups? Home Depot, for example, also greatly supports the United States Marine Corps – as well as all military services – and practically guarantees jobs to veterans. Home Depot (for those NASCAR fans out there) is also the central sponsor for the NASCAR’s pre-eminent Christian owner – Joe Gibbs, I do not see him boycotting Home Depot, and he is a very (extremely) devout and conservative Christian. The truth is, most mainstream companies support interests groups of all kinds – gay, women’s rights, military, religious charities, non-religious charities, humanitarian, etc, etc. No company is perfect, and the majority are not “Christian” companies – why should we expect them to behave then in a Christian manner? To that, if Christians decide to boycott a company, is that truly showing God’s love, mercy, and grace towards that companies leadership and employees? For me, the answer is no.

My last point is this, Christians in the United States need to grow up. First, this country is not a Christian nation – never has been. The majority of the Founding Fathers were either Deists or Unitarians. They saw Christ as a “moral” figure, but not as God. Thomas Jefferson “wrote” his own bible – taking away the miracles and divine references, and just putting in Christ’s words. He was also an avowed Deist. John Adams – and Samuel Adams – Unitarians. George Washington, and many others, were European Humanists and Freemasons. The list goes on. If memory serves correctly, only one Catholic signed the Declaration of Independence. Even the “Anglican” South wanted the government free from religious influence – if you recall, this nation was founded on religious freedom, not religious belief. One could say, “well, the Founding Fathers used Christian morality as their guide,” sadly, that person would be wrong. The Founding Fathers used Enlightenment morality, and philosophy, to not only justify their rebellion against England, but also as their framework for the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Based upon this, is it any surprise that the United States – though far behind Europe – is beginning to walk in a more postmodern, progressive line.

So, what do we do? Well, we pray… only God can change the hearts of men – see Moses and the Pharaoh… we, in our own action, unless ordained by God, can change nothing, in fact, we would probably make it worse – for God’s ways are not our ways. Next, we trust in God – this is true in all things, from our daily lives to national issues to world problems – only God is big enough. We must place ourselves – through the help and grace of God – as an example to all around us, walking in love and forgiveness. I almost wonder if homosexuals should boycott churches – no wonder The Episcopal Church is fully opening their arms. A lot of churches seem to not only condemn the sin, but also the sinner – even going as far as using them as examples in sermons and teachings. Whats even worse, other sins, i.e. gluttony, pride, etc, seem to be ignored. We must refuse to walk in condemnation – for we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God – for if we had not, Jesus Christ would not have needed to be sent to earth, nor would He have needed to die on the Cross. Lastly, we must stop passing judgment on the world – whether it be nations, companies, or whatever – and bless the world – nations, companies, government, and both our friends and enemies.

So, to boycott or not to boycott… I say no.

JZ Holloway

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