I believe the first boycott that I ever heard of/got involved in happened when I was a kid. A local gas station / convenience store took the “men’s” magazines from behind the counter and put them in front of the door where all could see when entering. Our local church called for a boycott of the store– which is/was a chain. We were getting some regular grocery products like milk there, and we decided that we would boycott that and the gas, and move to the competitor.
It appears that it did nothing. The station is still there today. They still have the same display (I believe). So what did it do?
There are many boycotts running around today. Some are a hoax or are positively pointless. Once could do a search on Snopes.Com for boycotts and find 61 links to boycotts. Now, I didn’t check on their veracity,
but a majority of these are urban legends or pointless. Remember the one about boycotting gas stations on a particular day?
Should Christian’s get involved in boycotts? My mother in law won’t buy anything Proctor and Gamble because of some of the things they support. My parents went through a phase where they left AT&T because they supported homosexuals. The United Way comes around asking for money, and yet some times their recipients are Planned Parenthood.
When I try to think Biblically about this question, I come to Paul in Romans 14. The discussion there is on Christian liberty, but Paul uses two examples. One of them is eating meat offered to idols– and he claims
that a strong Christian would know that it was ok to eat this meat.
According to my understanding, this meat was offered as an offering to an idol, and then sold in that temple’s court. Now, one could assume that the money would be used to support the temple and to line the
pockets of the peddlers. Was Paul blessing giving money to false-god worship? I also understand that the price of that meat was cheaper, though I could be wrong. Does this mean that if I can get a better price at a place of ill repute I should?
What can we take away from Romans 14 about boycotts? First, I think that if not boycotting would be wrong
for you, it’s definitely a sin– don’t buy it! Second, what the person you buy something from does with your money is their responsibility– we are called to be good stewards of our money. If we’re paying for a product/service that we need, we should get the best price.
There is room in here for differences of opinion. There’s also room in here to say that if you find someone who is competitive who is doing the right things and supporting the right people, we should support them. However, I don’t know that we should go researching every person we do business with and asking to see their financial records before spending a dollar!
The better point is that, even if we choose to buy something from someone who is not going to do right with
it, that we maintain a Christlike attitude and love that person, even if he is doing something wrong with his money…