About Boycotting…

I have spent a week praying about the topic that I am going to blog about today. In the past week, I have also asked several Christian friends their opinions on the subject. I found that most people agreed with me but there were a few who did not. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the opinion of friends who do not believe in the Bible, so I do not presume to know their opinion of the topic except for what I have seen expressed on facebook or in online comments on news articles.

If you have seen the news or have had any presence online in the last week or so, I am sure that you have heard of the conflict between the media and Chick Fil-A. In an interview, the company’s CEO stated that he supports traditional marriage which caused an uproar in the gay and liberal communities. Anyone who knows anything about Chick Fil-A would also know that the company was founded by a Christian man and has been run with Christian based values its entire existence. Despite pressure from communities, Chick Fil-A closes its doors on Sundays so that its employees have the option to go to church if they choose to do so.

(Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the New Chick Fil-A song)

What surprises me (well actually it doesn’t really) is that when the company’s CEO was asked his opinion in the interview, and he stated it according to well-known Christian beliefs, the media acted shocked at his response.

Of course, the gay community immediately jumped to the conclusion that Chick Fil-A and its CEO and owners hates all gays. This is something that I do not understand. Why does disagreeing with homosexuality automatically equal hatred towards or afraid of homosexuals? I might disagree with someone on any topic (religion, how to raise kids, what movies or books we like, how we spend our money, etc) but that doesn’t mean I hate them or am afraid of them. In my opinion, only when someone’s actions show that they are hateful or afraid, should that argument be used (such as Westboro church has so frequently demonstrated). Anyway, due to their misguided opinion, a lot of the liberal community has declared a boycott on Chick Fil-A. For some reason, it seems as though gays only seem to have an intolerance toward Christians and Christian companies when Biblically based beliefs are expressed. I wonder if they realize that all Abrahamic religions (Christian, Judaism, Islam) as well as other world religions find homosexuality morally wrong.

Which brings me to the point of my post. Obviously most people tend to support companies either that support their values and/or that provide goods/services that we need or want. (For example, if I need a Christian book I more than likely will purchase it from a Christian book store instead of a large book store chain unless the Christian book store didn’t have the book I needed). But what reason(s) would make someone choose to boycott certain companies? When I asked this question of friends, I received several responses.

One friend says he has a loose boycott of all large corporations.  Whenever possible he shops local and pays slightly more for things but he does so knowing that 100% of the retail markup goes to local people; who then spend it locally. This doesn’t prevent him from shopping at larger corporations if commissions from his purchases will help a personal friend or if a local shop is closed and there is an immediate need for an item or service.

Another friend tries to avoid all companies that he knows are pro-gay.

Yet another friend has a whole list of companies that she boycotts based on the following three reasons “1) open hatred of Christians in general 2) Use of practices that are in direct opposition to God’s will, like using aborted stem cells for flavor enhancement and 3) support of agendas that hurt the morality of the country, abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity etc. “

Another friend points out that “in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is telling believers that there is no harm in buying and eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. The issue he was addressing was one of whether eating that meat caused a brother to stumble, but the context of the verse is that in the first-century, pagan temples funded themselves in part by selling the meat that they sacrificed. A Christian, knowing that idols are nothing, could purchase and eat that meat without fear of incurring the wrath of said idol, but apparently, Paul had no problem with money passing into hands of pagan temples from Christian pockets.”

My husband said that according to the Bible, we should fast in private without announcing it to the world which would bring glory to ourselves instead of God. So he feels that if a Christian is going to boycott a company, they should do it quietly so as to not draw attention to themselves so that they do not seem “more holy than thou, preachy, a bully, or intolerant.”

So, what do I think? I think in most cases, when Christians and conservatives boycott non-Christians and liberals then we are all feeding into a vicious cycle. I think more often than not when this happens, both sides are being hypocritical. We Christians want non-Christians to be to tolerant of our religious beliefs. Gays want Christians to be tolerant of their sexual orientation. Yet when both sides boycott every company that may or may not disagree with our beliefs, both sides are in fact being intolerant. Our country was founded on freedom. In this country, I have the right to be a Christian. Someone else has the right to be gay. I also have the right to believe that homosexuality is morally wrong just as someone who is not a Christian has the right to not believe in my God or my Bible. All that being said, if someone (conservative or liberal) truly has a conviction to boycott a company or cause, I believe they should follow their convictions. But they should do it without spouting hate and judgement towards the company they are boycotting. There are companies/organizations that I do not support because they go against my beliefs. There are also plenty of companies that I still shop at or use their services even though they may have some history of disagreeing with my beliefs. We should stick to our convictions with humility and recognize that others have different convictions without being judgemental towards each other.

I love the following song which reminds us that sometimes we as Christians stand in the way of others knowing Jesus.

Jesus, Friend Of Sinners  By: Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners
We have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your name
But the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners
The truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You
But they’re tripping over me

Always looking around but never looking up
I’m so double minded
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands
And a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world
At the end our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours

Jesus, friend of sinners
The One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away
And the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember
We are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy
Bring Your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we’re for
Only what we’re against
When we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs
Crossed over the lines
And loved like You did

You love every lost cause
You reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame
They’re the reason that You came
Lord, I was that lost cause
And I was the outcast
But You died for sinners just like me
A grateful leper at Your feet

‘Cause You are good
You are good
And Your love endures forever

And just for fun, here is the New Chick Fil-A song by Tim Hawkins…

16 replies

  1. I hadn’t ever considered a boycott from the aspect of fasting, that it ought to be done silently, without airs, so that God receives the glory and our conscience is clean, rather than loudly, for offense or applause. That’s a really good point.

    I’ve found that, in general, those who boycott do so hoping to hurt a company’s sales, or affect it in a negative way. This is a bit like spanking, except that you’re doing it to groups adults, not children who don’t know better. Of course we’re not required to purchase products that we wouldn’t use, or to support a company that we wouldn’t usually support, but Christ never calls us to actively seek to do injury to others or to their livelihood. In doing so, Christians actually borrow a play out of the Anti-Christ’s book, requiring a particular kind of worship in order to buy or sell.

    • I also had not considered the point about fasting until Shane mentioned it. Fasting is willingly abstaining from some or all food and/or drink, for a period of time. Often we extend it to giving up other things that we feel somehow comes between us and our relationship with God (using social media, playing video games, watching movies/tv, etc.). In a way, boycotting goods and/or services is the same thing. We are giving up that good or service because we feel it comes between us and God. It is a personal choice and a personal conviction that should not be forced on others but done with humility and without judgement for those who are not convicted in the same way.

  2. I’ll throw out one thought and it’s the same one I’ve mentioned to many people talking about Boycotts, and I’m not saying that you are downplaying boycotts entirely, so don’t get me wrong. Think of the Civil Rights movement without E.D. Nixon, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. As one friend said, we have to be discerning….some boycotts are entirely righteous.

    As to CFA the media’s never really been their friend, at least the liberal media. Based on their charitable donations to groups that openly lobby against gay rights. Which brings me to the question, why does a fast food company need a stance on gay rights anyways? I understand that Baptist Press and other interviewers were asking them a simple question, but I feel like a CEO should know that he’s speaking for a whole company rather than just himself when he answers…and that it’s just bad business to alienate a whole demographic by coming out as being against them and finding them sinners. Whether it is a sin or not is not the point.

    Lastly, as to why it’s taken as hate, well you have to look at it from their perspective….to a homosexual person, and those who stand with them, being gay is like being black, it’s not something you can change, it’s not something you have a choice about, so when a person comes out as believing that it is a sin, an abomination, a degradation of marriage, etc. it’s like (to them mind you) saying being black is a sin, an abomination, a degradation against marriage if a black and white person marry, etc. Whether this is true or not, is once again, not the point, it goes back to how a person feels, how they believe something, and how they react, this is why I think homosexuality is something best talked about not in public arenas. We’re not making any leeway, and just because most of us believe it’s a choice and such doesn’t mean that’s how the majority sees it.

    • Point 1: I mentioned that my husband feels that if a Christian is going to boycott a company, they should do it quietly so as to not draw attention to themselves so that they do not seem “more holy than thou, preachy, a bully, or intolerant.” For the most part I agree with him but I also think that there are times where sharing what and why you boycott is appropriate BUT it should be done with humility and not judgement. A lot of the boycotts/protests during the civil rights movement were done peacefully not judgementally or violently.

      Point 2: Why does a children based company (muppets) need to have a political stance on gay rights?

      Point 3: Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a choice and most gays probably believe that they were born that way but who is right or wrong is a whole different discussion. Still, unless a person demonstrates hatred should this be an issue. I could 100% believe something like the sky is green (maybe I am color blind) and you could 100% believe that the sky is blue. We can both state our opinions without actually hating each other. We could even debate about it without actually demonstrating hatred. If one of us decided that they no longer want to have a discussion about the subject and instead startes bullying, teasing, harrassing, fighting, killing, etc. those they disagree with, THEN it becomes hatred.

      I appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by!

      • No problem, I enjoy discussions like these. And your husband has a good point I think. Also yes, they were done peacefully. One of the things I love about MLK Jr. is that he always said, “we are not gonna stoop to their level.” and that is something I think activists nowadays could learn from. As to my point about opinions…well, it’s the opinion itself that feels like an act of hatred to them. You couldn’t tell a black person that you believe being black is a sin and the very act of saying that not feel like hatred to them. This of course does not justify hatred in return, and that hatred on a homosexual’s part might indeed be coming out of an insecurity. Who knows? I just try to use discernment and always be thinking of them first before I mention my stance (albeit I’m reviewing it lately and coming to some different conclusions than before). The reactions of Jim Henson’s Co. were just that, a reaction, not a stance that caused a reaction, but yeah…why indeed? Maybe the point being that companies can have stances, who knows, and some are indeed talking of boycotting muppets now as a way to say I don’t stand for gay rights. Heh. It’s such a reactionary society we live in. I respect both companies rights to do what they want though, whether I agree or disagree with them. And I definitely don’t think it’s cool to deny business licenses because of a worldview…although we see this on the Christian side too with smaller towns denying strip bars, tattoo parlors etc. to open up in their towns because it is not biblically right (based on their interpretation of Scripture).

  3. Good post. I agree that if conviction leads us to boycott a company for solid reasons, that we should not use that perspective to judge or boast, only to love and teach. That much is clear, but I would like to add that there is a practicality to being loud about your conviction cut off xyz company. That practicality is to spread the idea and to inform the company of their folly. If you were say to self “self I am not going to buy xyz products anymore” without saying anything to the company, the company will see a dip in sales but will not jump to the conclusion that you are boycotting them for a purpose outside of a 1000 more typical reasons for not choosing there product over another. Maybe it would be a good practice to take in hand Mat 18:15-18 and employ a series of communications to try to resolve the issue (which I think is the goal, right?). It may not work, but the point has been transferred and if it gains traction to the point to where xyz company’s bottom line is stifled, then it WILL yield.

    We have to remember that companies are not people. It has no concept of morality, its only goals are to survive and thrive. Any and all actions of the company are to fulfill that end, philanthropic or not. Therefore company’s will subscribe to the popular opinion of there target audience/customer base to maximize sales.

    • My intended message is to follow our convictions without being judgemental of others as so often all of us are. But you have great point. There is nothing wrong with telling a company that you disagree with them. Companies need to have positive and negative feedback on policies, products, and services. Chances are one person, or even a few people, boycotting a whole company because of a policy, product, or service we don’t like (for whatever reason) will not make a difference especially for a large company. For a small company it could make a greater impact. That doesn’t mean that you should not boycott if you feel convicted to do so.

      For me, I think I could make more of an impact without boycotting… For example, I shop at Barnes & Noble, a large company who has books on pretty much every topic (controversal or not) including a section on gay pride. They also have a whole section of Christian/inspirational books. Personally, I usually buy from the Christian section and the children’s section. If I spend my money in only those sections it sends a message that those sections are relevant and people need and/or want them. Another example could be tv companies. Let’s use ABC…Most Christians would agree that they have plenty of shows that do not support Christian values. The latest uproar (that I am aware of) was the about the show GCB “Good Christian Bells” which many people sent emails to ABC about (and because of low ratings/views they cancelled the show). But on occasion they do have some good shows. I personally LOVE the show “Once Upon A Time” and watched it faithfully every week. That sent a message to ABC that OUAT was a show that people liked and as far as I know they will have another season.

      A big part of the propblem with the whole Chick Fil-A issue is the fact that the Boston mayor announced that he would do everything in his power to prevent the company to come to his city…all because he personally disagrees with the company’s CEO. Or the Jim Henson CEO openly dictating that the money that they received from Chick Fil-A would go to support a gay rights group just because they disagree. To me, it seems that these two people are being hateful and discriminating against the rights of someone else who has a difference of opinion.

  4. This is the third time here, and the first chance at responding. I’m not convinced that the Constitution guarantees the “right” to be gay. So I wonder about there claims that it’s their right. I don’t believe the framers ever intended to give someone the right to sin so openly and with such reckless abandon as those who are gay choose to be.

    As for boycotts, I quit doing them back in the 1990s when Dobson was calling for one every few months, especially regarding companies like Disney, who have many Christians working for them. I don’t think boycotts are nearly as effective as … proclaiming the gospel. Yes, we are to stand against that which is unrighteous, but also point the unrighteous to the gospel itself (notice that in proclaiming the gospel, there is an inherent assumption that there ARE actually those who are unrighteous. Given our culture, that is actually anathema to make that assumption).

    • They probably did not intend to give people the right to sin but they did give the right to believe how you choose. Although the gay movement would probably disagree, it is almost like they themselves are becoming a religion (that is just an observation). They argue against Christians and are firm in their beliefs just as much as atheists I have encountered.

      I didn’t realize that Dr. Dobson was the one who initiated the Disney boycott. I was in high school when that first started and maybe at the time I knew that but I must have forgot. In his book “Bringing Up Girls” he has a whole chapter talking about the princess movement and actually for the most part seemed to have no problem with it (and referred to Disney princess stories). When it comes to Disney, I look at it like I do other forms of media companies (see my previous comment using ABC as an example)…There are good parts and bad parts (if I ever get the opportunity to go to Disney, I will make sure that we do not go on “Gay Days”). Good movies and bad movies. They will be effected the most when they create a bad movie (and the people who don’t like it don’t buy it) then they would with a few people boycotting. Such as the movie Princess and the Frog. There are a lot of positive aspects of Disney. Great movies (like “The Lion King” and “Tangled”), charitable giving, etc.

      And yes, sharing the gospel should be our priority…

  5. I’m the aforementioned “friend with the whole list of companies.” I felt it was important to explain my reasoning since it wasn’t in the article and it seems that many people think it’s so wrong to boycott. I realize that without reasons, it can seem wrong (which is why quiet boycotting without explaining to the company or to others is senseless).

    When Aly asked why I boycott and how I felt about people working for companies that I boycott, this was my response:

    “I boycott TV stations because I’ve been convicted about exercising better discernment about what I let into my mind and my heart (proverbs 4:23 http://bible.cc/proverbs/4-23.htm ). I don’t watch tv shows that are going to attack my faith (GCB, Soul Man). I’m going to try to limit the number of lies that my family and especially my kids, since they aren’t saved yet, are subjected to as best I can.

    I think too many people aren’t aware of how much filth they allow into their lives and often times that outweighs the amount of time and energy that they devote to scripture and focusing on godly things. The most expensive thing anyone can possess is time, to say that it’s a shame to waste it is an understatement.

    As far as the items that I purchase and the stores from which I’ll shop, my choices are based on my desire to exercise good stewardship of the resources that God has given to our family. I feel I would be selfish to choose the item or store simply because it appeals to me on some superficial level (usually because of some successful marketing I’ve fallen victim to) when I know that the supplier of that item is doing so much harm to others with the resources generated by their sales. I feel it’s a small sacrifice to switch to another brand in order to not support godlessness, especially if the other brand a Christian one because then I believe there’s more hope that those proceeds will be used in furtherence of His kingdom.

    Just as it would be imprudent not to comparison shop by price, I feel it would be equally foolish to ignore that some companies are so blatantly attacking everything I believe in to the detriment of those who have not yet come to know Christ.

    I can best sum up my view of boycotting by comparing it to Paul eating the meat sacrifices to idols (1 Cor 10:28 http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/10-28.htm). It’s not wrong to do it because all things are permissible (1 Cor 10:23 http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/10-23.htm ), but if you know it’s going to lead someone else to stumble, then it’s best to avoid it for their sake.

    About people working at such places, my dad just got a job at Home Depot in June!

    My dad isn’t a Christian, so I wouldn’t judge him for any of his decisions as I would someone who was in submission to God. If a Christian chose to work at Home Depot or another similar company, I wouldn’t judge them either. It would be a good opportunity to try to talk to those lost folks who are walking in lockstep with the leadership. I don’t think that by working for a company that brands you as necessary believing everything that the leadership does. Being a military spouse, you know what I’m talking about!

    I think everyone does things for a reason and everyone gets convicted of things in God’s time. The only thing I would say to someone working in such an environment is to guard their heart and remember 1 Cor 15:33 http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/15-33.htm “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'”

    I heard a phrase that I try to keep in mind when I find myself judging a Christian: “We judge others by their actions, we judge ourselves by our motives.” God sees the heart and as long as an action isn’t a sin, then what matters is your motives (Romans 14:23 http://bible.cc/romans/14-23.htm). Christians need to be careful not to judge each other on such silly criteria as whether or not they boycott or how outspoken they are about whether or not they do. In the end, the righteousness of these actions are entirely dependent on the motives and they’re something that you can’t surmise. Only God knows the heart (1 Sam 16:7 http://bible.cc/1_samuel/16-7.htm)

    God Bless!

    • Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, Kim, but I think that your definition of “boycott” may be different than the one that Aly and I are employing. Much of what you describe in your third, fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs isn’t so much of a boycott as stewardship and abstinence. I get that. I don’t have cable or an antenna wired into our television. Everything we watch comes on television comes in through the DVD player. My daughter never has to catch crude commercials, and there are no embarrassing moments that can’t be fixed by the stop button. Likewise, where alcohol is concerned, I have made a commitment before God not to drink. But those things aren’t boycotts, and that kind of reasoning can’t really be used to support boycotts. A boycott is defined as a coordinated abstinence meant to impair a person or company’s income. It is a offensive (as opposed to defensive) action against another human or temporal power when our true struggle is not against flesh and blood.

      In I Corinthians 8, Paul is discussing the practice of eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols. This meat was sold at a tremendous discount because its shelf life was so short, and most of the potential market (Romans) were extremely superstitious about such things. The idea of discounted sacrificial meat appealed to Christians because they knew that, as Paul said, idols were nothing to them. They needn’t fear pagan superstitions about them. Inevitably, however, when a Christian purchased sacrificial meat, the money contributed to that particular pagan temple. Paul was, in every way, an incredibly thorough theologian. I do not believe this was a simple oversight on his part, nor could it have been an oversight by the Holy Spirit who inspired him. The conclusion that I come to is that because Christians were only indirectly funding a temple, and not doing so for the purpose of funding a temple, Paul saw no harm in money going from Christian pockets to pagan accounts.

  6. One other thing, and it goes back to Romans 14:6-8 says:

    “He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

    What we (and by we, I mean “I”) need to keep in mind is that as Christians, most of what we do is (or should be) guided by a desire to see God glorified. Sometimes we get it wrong and do something that doesn’t glorify God, which is why there has to be grace. But we also need to keep in mind that most people don’t make decisions in order to be evil or wicked. Whether we’re talking about PETA or GLAAD or Focus on the Family, the people behind it aren’t out to hurt people. If they’re wrong, it’s because they don’t understand how to help. Shouting them down and boycotting them will only reassure them (as martyrs) and drive them deeper into their error.

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