I don’t want to take too much time addressing this issue, but it does need some clarity.
An Effective Boycott?
Recently, in a conversation that had the potential of causing irreparable damage to my reputation of being nice, I was accused, once again, of being, for lack of a better term, a “liberal.” Why was this accusation (although the term “liberal” was never used) thrown up to me? Simply because of the fact that I went to Disney World.
The History. Back around 1996, the American Family Association (decent group of people) called for a boycott of Disney World and all Disney products. On the heals of this decision, in 1997 Southern Baptists voted to boycott Disney. The reason for this was something called “Gay Days.”
For a couple of years I went along with the ban (which was overturned in 2005). We didn’t go to or buy Disney movies, nor did we go to the theme park in Florida. My wife and I felt that the boycott was justified because we wanted to send a message. We wanted Disney to know that many of their patrons (traditional families) were upset with their decision to have a special day set aside for, and promoting, homosexuality.
The only problem with this particular boycott is that it was unfounded. It was based on faulty information spurred on by indignation. Simply put, the Christians got the facts wrong. Sadly, too many are still refusing to face the facts – Disney does NOT now, nor did it ever, have a “Gay Day.”
What, then, is the true story? In 1991 the gay community in Orlando decided to band together and select a day in which they would all go to Disney world wearing red. What started out as a single day of solidarity turned into a week-long event that now makes up “Gay Days.” Totally apart from Disney, the LGBT community started this. Now, it is a big celebration that takes place all over Orlando. Disney has absolutely nothing to do with it. [Click here for a link to the "Gay Day's" actual site.]
When it became clear that Disney did not set aside their parks for a day to promote the LGBT lifestyle, I was very happy to ride Mission: SPACE and eat at the Crystal Palace. I was free to purchase Disney DVD’s for Christmas. Finally, I could travel the World Showcase at EPCOT without feeling like I was supporting same-sex marriage. Getting the facts straight (pun intended?) was liberating, and it didn’t make me a “liberal.”
Get the Facts, NOT the Rumors.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 KJV – “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
It is so embarrassing when Christian groups boycott something based on erroneous information. All it does is send a message that we don’t know what we are talking about – that we’re crazy – that we’re misinformed. When we can’t even do a little research into what is so obvious, what does that say to the unbelieving world about our theology? Have we really studied God’s Word, or are we just going on false assumptions based on the rants of a prejudiced preacher?
- BTW, another business that is still being boycotted by Christians is Proctor & Gamble. [For more info on the Proctor & Gamble story, click here.]
What to Do?
It is this simple: unless you never spend any money, you will never be able to keep all your dollars out of the hands of unbelievers who believe differently than you. In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a fallen world full of fallen people. So, what is the answer? There is no perfect answer for every individual. Just try to abide by the following suggestions…
Use good judgment. If you feel like you are supporting something ungodly in a direct way with your patronage, then stop. Boycott it. On the other hand, if you are not sure, do your homework.
Don’t be unrealistic. When you are driving across the country and you come to the last gas station for another 200 miles of sand, fill up your tank! It would not be a smart thing to keep driving in hopes that God would drop a fuel can beside a cactus, all because you don’t feel right about buying fuel at a place that sells alcohol. Get real!
Keep things in context. What is most important? Sometimes we will put our personal crusades ahead of the welfare of our own families.
Want an example? Have you ever avoided the better product or medicine and selected a known inferior, therefore subjecting your children to the possibility of further infection and/or pain? I have. Why? I didn’t want the Devil to get a dollar. Never mind that my child might have died. Never mind that I drove to the other side of town on gas that funds the persecution of Christians in Saudi Arabia, thereby giving the Devil about 25 dollars, all in the hunt to find non-devil-supporting medicine.
Make it Clear. In other words, make what you are doing clear to the one your boycotting AND the one you patronize. If you never let the business you’re boycotting know about it, what good is it? They need to know why you’re choosing to withhold your money.
Recently, we had to make a major purchase involving building supplies. I made it perfectly clear to the manager from which I did purchase the materials that I chose his place over another. I made it clear that until The Home Depot changed its activist-like policies supporting and promoting the LGBT agenda, I could no longer give them my money, a portion of which would be donated to LGBT causes (click here for more info). The manager of the competition promptly gave me an additional 10% off.
Be gracious. You don’t have to be a self-righteous jerk to make a point or stand up for what you believe. If you feel there is Biblical support for your stand, make your stand in a biblical, Christ-like way. Don’t bring reproach to the name of Jesus and His church by acting hateful.
Keep This in Mind
If you feel like you must make a stand, do so with all your heart (Col. 3:23). Don’t let intimidation keep you from speaking out for what is right. On the other hand, keep in mind where you are. You are not in heaven, and this is not the Promised Land or the New Jerusalem. Don’t expect unbelievers to always act like saints. When you boycott a decent, secular business for not acting like the Church, you run the risk of alienating the very ones you’re called to reach. Consider the following words of Paul:
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 KJV – “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
Should we never go to the mall because the owner of the property is possibly an adulterer? Should we quit buying fuel because most providers are Muslim and hate Christians? Should we never buy clothing because the designer used half-naked models in a Paris show? Maybe, but where would it all end? Paul made it pretty clear in the above verses that there are times when it is necessary to “company with fornicators.”
The sad reality is that the very ones we should be boycotting may be IN the church, not outside. If we choose to boycott the world, it might be advisable to first determine if we are being hypocritical. Hypocrites make terrible evangelists and worthless boycotters.