Boycotting: A Good Idea?
The cry to “boycott!” is everywhere, as well as among evangelicals who hate seeing unBiblical decisions being made by the American stores which we visit almost daily.
I hear it on conservative talk radio nearly every day. Many have conversations about it every week at church. We see picketers in front of businesses with whom they refuse to support because of certain immoral decisions.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate seeing moral decay around me. I don’t like it any more than the next guy, but is boycotting the best solution? I want to offer another perspective.
Some think that if we can get a large group of people to stand in front of a store waving a sign in protest, then the owners will eventually give in. Others believe that if enough people just to decide to never darken the doors of Target again, then the Target executive office will say “We’re losing business, we need to reverse our decision.” It may also be a personal thing for some, under the illusion that they are making a stand for Biblical morality if they never again give any money to Home Depot. I’ve also heard of some people cancelling their catalog subscriptions and credit cards from different stores, but what good is that really doing? For the few people who are actually going to stop their credit cards and subscriptions, my guess is that those customers are a drop in the bucket compared to the normal amount of incoming revenue. Not enough to cause a reverse in company policy.
Is it probable that those things will happen? Most likely not. There are too many Americans who shop at Target every day. It’s just the way it is in a country of more than 300 million people, because 300 million people are not going to stop shopping at Target. It’s just facts. Call me cooky.
One thing is certain, however: boycotting will probably be successful to show those evil Target executives that evangelicals despise them. Ouch! That’s certainly not the impact I want to have as a Christian. I wouldn’t want the executives at GE or Groupon to think I’m saying “Take that! Ha!” by avoiding their services.
In the midst of all these conversations, have Christians stopped to think that if the executive team at AT&T actually reversed an immoral company policy, those individuals will still be headed for an eternity in Hell if they don’t know Christ? The Bible says that if someone is not in Christ, they are not a new creature, and they, too, will not inherit eternal life unless they repent (change their mind about sin), and believe the gospel. The same principle applies to homosexuals. Ever wonder why we tend to lump homosexuals in one corner and say they are bad people? Have Christians forgotten that we are all bad people, (Rom. 3:10, Mark 10:18, Psalm 53), and the biggest difference between us and our neighbor is that we believe what God says about our sin and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation? Plus, even if the homosexual revolution ended, the problem of sin would still remain in all of us. It would serve us well to remember that it isn’t Clorox that is stealing our nation away into immorality. Sin is the corrupting poison which destroys individuals, and non-Christians will do what non-Christians can only do…make sinful decisions. Why do we sometimes expect non-Christians to make Biblical decisions? Those who don’t have the Holy Spirit guiding them have not the desire, nor the ability, to make Biblical decisions. In fact, they can make all the good, moral decisions they want, but without Christ they are still in a damned state.
Of course, I do hope that we make our voices heard whenever it’s necessary, but I fear that many Christians are going about this the wrong way. If Christians simply stop shopping at AT&T and Amazon because they support planned parenthood, or stop shopping at JCPenney because they promote homosexuality, what point is really being proved? Does JCPenney know that you, personally, are not shopping at their store anymore? Do they know the reason why? What would happen if all Christians who boycott would, instead, write a letter or an email, or make a phone call to the company of their choice lovingly explaining that they don’t support these decisions because of a belief in the authority of Scripture and God? Is it possible that by contacting these businesses and telling them about the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, then those people might be converted? Then, every decision, at least from the top, would be from a Christian worldview.
I wonder if there are those who understand that if they were to boycott all businesses which support sin, they wouldn’t be able to shop anywhere? In fact, for those who are interested, here is a link to a list of all the companies who support Planned Parenthood. My guess is that most of us do business with many of these companies every day. Who is going to stop shopping at all these stores? I think this is an important point for us all to consider before we choose to boycott.
It would serve us well to remember that companies change through individuals who are changed by the gospel…not by people abandoning their stores. What a great mission field for those who feel the need to boycott! If you are a boycotter (is that a word?), share the truth about repentance and the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, because that is the only solution for the root problem of sin. We need to show sinners the only way out of the darkness and into eternal light. We know there are many companies whos leadership is lost in sin. It shows by the decisions they make. You don’t even have to shop there, just get the gospel to them somehow and pray that the Holy Spirit will change hearts. We are called to fulfill the Great Commission by preaching the Gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). And trying to get lost people to be more moral is wrong. Do you want to be one who gives moralism an easier road to travel, or one who helps to stop moralism in its tracks and instead proclaim true change through Jesus Christ and Him crucified?
We need to gently show people the reality of sin, and them show them the grace of God through Jesus Christ, and then let the Holy Spirit do the work that only He can do…convict men of sin. Wouldn’t that be the right way to handle this, instead of being patrons who turn our noses up at the community?
Once again, I’m only offering another perspective, which I am 150% convinced is not only logical, but also completely supported by Scripture.
For those of us who are born-again, we need to remember that we were once no better than the executives at Google or GE. We were once dead in our sins, too. Aren’t you glad someone told you about sovereign grace?
Our battle is not against immorality, our battle is against sin. And the victory does not lie in boycotts, but in Jesus Christ.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Heb 6