This post was originally written on March 25, 2013, but the issue has come back a few times since. Enjoy.
Christians and Boycotts: Should We Attack Starbucks?
Christians have long been known for boycotts. Sometimes, boycotts work. Most of the time, they do not. In today’s world, unless a small mom-and-pop store or chain is targeted, the company will hardly notice a small dip in sales. My own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, is famous for having a boycott on Disneyland and Walt Disney World for 8 years, because of Disney’s stance on same-sex couples and marriage. Unfortunately, what that meant for many Southern Baptists is that they went to the parks, but didn’t talk about it.
Again in recent days, social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have been ablaze with talk of another giant corporation who is pro-homosexual in it’s belief: Starbucks. Now, anyone who has paid attention knows that this is not a new stance for them.
Before I go on, let me clarify: I believe the Bible clearly says that homosexuality is sin, that it is unnatural, and that it is against God (Romans 1:18-32). I also believe that the Bible says that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin. I also believe that the Bible says that lying is a sin. And stealing. And disobeying parents. And I could go on, but my point is this: many times as Christians, we “attack” the “big” sins, but let the little ones (or the ones that we want to hold on to personally) slide. God says that anything that doesn’t conform to His character is sin! The great news, is that Jesus died to forgive ALL sin, no matter how big or how small.
So, should we boycott companies that support or push homosexuality? That’s not a question that I can answer for you. However, what I can say is that if you choose to boycott a company over a specific issues, then you should be ready to boycott all companies that agree with that same issue! You cannot pick and choose which ones you want to boycott, and which ones you want to keep doing business with. That makes you a hypocrite! Here is a very incomplete list of companies that have in some way donated money, given support to court cases or have given support or approval for same-sex lifestyles:
Abercrombie & Fitch
Barnes & Noble
Ben & Jerry’s
Best Buy (Geek Squad)
The Coca-Cola Company
Gap (Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime)
Google (Motorola Mobility, Youtube, Zagat)
The Home Depot
The Jim Henson Company
Marsh & McLennan Companies
The McGraw-Hill Companies (Standard & Poors, J.D. Power & Associates, McGraw-Hill Education)
Procter and Gamble
Sears (Land’s End)
Sun Life Financial
State Farm Insurance
The Walt Disney Company (ABC, ESPN, LucasFilm, Pixar, Marvel, Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Muppets, more)
And don’t get me started on our choices of entertainment that we choose to watch, listen to, or read, even though they push a lifestyle that is contrary to the Bible. I would really be stepping on people’s toes if I mentioned TV shows like Bones, House, Glee, Chicago Fire, Scandal, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, Pretty Little Liars, etc.
My point is this: boycotting companies is not going to change them. No amount of legislation is going to change them. Only one thing will change them: the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The failure is not that people, celebrities, corporations are so far from God. Certainly, that is tragic. The failure is that we, who call ourselves Christians (“little Christ’s”), Jesus followers, believers, etc., have not been obedient in sharing the Gospel! We have failed to do exactly what Jesus left us here to do: make disciples. The failure is ours.
You want to do something about where our country and where our world is heading? Then go, share the Gospel, make disciples, baptize, and teach. If we would all do that, these other issues would not be issues. The problem is that we would rather sit behind our computer screens, or in our little groups and make a fuss about what everyone else is doing, than to get up, go out and tell people the great, amazing, astounding news that there is a God; He loves them very much; He died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sins; He was buried and rose again; He is calling to them to turn to Him to save them from the condemnation of hell. The Bible tells us that Jesus came because of His love for us, not to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:14-18). The Bible tells us that Jesus became our sin, so that we could become His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). It tells us there is only one way to Heaven – belief in Jesus (John 14:6). There is nothing that we can do to get to Heaven on our own, but rather it is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-10). How about instead of boycotting, we go out and love people like Jesus did. Let’s show them who Jesus is by the way we live and treat them. Let’s tell them about God’s great love for them. Let’s share the Gospel with them. And let’s see the world change for God’s glory.