Boycotts Are Easy

The American Family Association, a Christian political activist group, was threatening to boycott Ford Motor Company for being too “gay friendly.” Here’s a quote from Forbes“The American Family Association first announced the boycott against Ford and related brands on May 31. The group said Ford gave thousands of dollars to gay rights groups, offered benefits to same-sex couples and actively recruited gay employees.

After a spring meeting with a group of Ford dealers, the association said in June that it was suspending its boycott until at least the beginning of December.

The Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and other gay rights groups expressed concern about reports there was a secret deal between Ford and the American Family Association to end Ford’s advertising in gay media.”

So the nutshell is – the American Family Association was bent with Ford because Ford offered benefits to same-sex couples, and because they were advertising some of their vehicles in gay magazines. The AFA told Ford, “Knock off the gay crap, or we’ll organize a boycott. So there.”

According to today’s Forbes article, Ford says their decision to pull ads from gay magazines wasn’t related to the threat of a boycott. Yeah, right. Whatever.

I’m a Christian. I think homosexuality is wrong. HOWEVER…

I just want to say the American Family Association doesn’t represent me. Unlike them, I realize that Ford is a SECULAR BUSINESS. It’s not a church. It’s not a religious organization. Ford doesn’t owe me anything. For some reason, it doesn’t occur to me that I have the right to tell a SECULAR BUSINESS how and where to advertise, nor do I have the right to tell a SECULAR BUSINESS who to offer health benefits to. It also doesn’t enter my mind that Ford needs to run their policies by me or my Christian friends before making business decisions.

In addition, I don’t think our culture is made any worse by gay people having the opportunity to see Ford ads (and possibly own and drive Fords), and I don’t think our culture is worsened by gay couples having medical insurance. They get sick; doctors are expensive. Who’s going to cover the cost if they can’t have insurance – the American Family Association? Somehow I don’t see that happening.

Oh wait – maybe the hope is that if gay people get really sick, and can’t get insurance and can’t afford to go to the doctor, they’ll realize that if only they weren’t gay they could have insurance and then maybe they’ll change. What a cool strategy.

I don’t recall Jesus making homosexuality the focus of his ministry. He didn’t seem to be nearly as afraid of it as we are. I don’t recall him organizing boycotts.

Jesus said, “I’m here to fix people’s basic problem. They need to get reunited with the God who made them so they can live the life he passionately wants them to live.” When Jesus finished his work, he told his guys, “Go get other people to follow me. ” Why? Because that’s the main thing.

Boycotts weren’t part of the disciples’ instructions. Jesus didn’t say, “Go get people to follow me. And by the way, if some of the people who don’t follow me bother you (like those annoying homosexuals or companies who try to sell cars to them), boycott them and try to wreck their businesses until you make them act like they follow me, even though they don’t yet. That’ll get their attention. Then, maybe you can get them to follow me.”

Boycotts are easy. Any idiot can throw those tantrums. What’s harder is actually making friends with people who are broken and who don’t like God because they don’t like the people who represent him. …

I want to be a guy who changes people’s minds about God and inspires them to consider getting to know him.

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5 Responses to Boycotts Are Easy

  1. joannmski says:

    Today’s Wall Street Journal says that this same organization is now turning its attention to Target. Target has been only using “holiday” in its ads, not “Christmas”. This has the AFA up in arms.

    There is no way I am boycotting Target, I love Target.

    Oh, BTW, and I agree that we should love people to Jesus, not boycott them to Jesus.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We actually didn’t go to Target to buy our tree like last we did last year because of the “holiday” PC thing. Knowing they don’t allow Salvation Army to set up a donation stand is stinky, too, especially because I love this store!! 🙂
    The whole boycotting thing is tricky because where do you stop? We’ve all heard that Starbucks supports liberal causes; the Marriott is owned by Mormons (hence the Book of Mormon in their hotel rooms), etc. I guess its kind of a meat-eater, vegetarian thing~ if spending money at these places pierces your conscience, then don’t do it. Good stewardship comes to mind, too, but again…that can become an obsession unto itself!
    Since our PC media/society keeps insisting that homosexuality is just a beautiful expression of “diversity”, I can kind of understand why the AFA took this type of action. Enough already! And I say this as a close friend of quite a few gay people whom I dearly love!! The best we can do for all those we encounter in our lives is to be a friend and remember that we’re Ambassadors for Christ (I think we should get lapel pins or something!!)
    Loving people and taking stands as our faith and conscience dictate are an awesome combo. Someday when I grow up, I hope I can do both these things well!! 🙂
    Wait…I’m suddenly offended…why don’t they call them “girlcotts”??!!
    XOXOXO
    Cindy Lou Who 🙂

  3. Charley says:

    I hear ya, “Anonymous!” It’s not always easy. I guess that’s why we need to pray for wisdom.

    But what motivates me to write about this issue is this:

    1. My (unscientific, subjective) observation is that boycotts like this usually don’t work. Disney still offers health insurance to unmarried domestic partners (for that matter, so does Ford and lots of other companies).

    2. Even though boycotts like this don’t usually work, they do get a lot of attention, which tends to make Christians look like control freaks.

    3. We’re supposed to have a positive, healing effect on the culture. Sometimes that requires taking stands that are unpopular and go against the grain. I guess it’s just that in most cases, the boycotts I’ve observed aren’t exactly hills I want to die on. However, there would probably be other issues, i.e., abortion, that I might, in certain situations, take a stand against.

    But again, I totally agree with you that this isn’t easy! The associate pastor who spoke at Mosaic last Sunday was mentioning the pastor who was electrocuted at church a month or so ago. It turns out that there have been numerous blog postings about this being “God’s judgment against the emerging church movement.” Which is not only a dumb thing to say, but a pretty hateful thing to say about a 32-year-old pastor who left behind a wife and four kids.

    The Mosaic guy said something that really sticks with me – “Those people who are spewing all that hate don’t represent me. That’s not what I as a Christian want to be known for.”

    I know that’s not exactly a boycott issue, but it just frustrates me when Christian organizations make public stands on peripheral issues. By doing so, whether they realize it or not, they’re appearing to represent me and all Christians.

    P.S. – Let me know if you need me to pick up anything at Target for you, before I go to workout at the Marriott!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes! The whole “guilt by association” thing leaves us all like sitting ducks! And what’s also a shame is, this same AFA (its members) probably do some really wonderful things (as a group and individuals) but will probably be best known as the “anti-gay” group!
    Boycotts do tend to be flashes in the pan. Look at “Last Temptation of Christ.” With or without boycotts, the film wouldn’t have done well anyway because even non-Christians weren’t willing to buy the distortion of facts~even though directed by the brilliant Martin Scorcese (and his eyebrows.)
    I’m with ya, though, my Brotha!! I’m all for that “positive effect” thang! Thanks for the offer about Target but will probably be going there myself!!Ho Ho Ho!!!
    XOXOXO
    The Artist formerly known as Miss Cindy! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Sorry - I'm Not Boycotting Starbucks « charley’s blog

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