Friday, April 25, 2008

Avoiding Businesses for Conscience Sake

A reader writes:

What do you think of boycotting companies or products who support things that go against what you believe in?
For example, I heard that McDonald's has a spot on the board of a homosexual committee and purchases ad space in their magazines. . .

Today, I just read from AFA [the American Family Association] that Proctor and Gamble's soap opera, As The World Turns, is including homosexual kissing and such. When I read the list of products, it made me sick. . . I counted 15 different things that I use. . .

I hate the thought of my money going to support this stuff. How far does one go to avoid supporting this, or does it really make a difference? It seemed to with the Ford boycott.
My response:

I am aware of the McDonald's problem, but we hardly ever use the establishment anymore since all my "babies" now prefer Burger King and Culver's. I must admit, though, that I was disappointed to hear that the Golden Arches placed one of its executives on the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Yet, I wasn't really surprised. I'm afraid that many businesses in the U.S. are steeped in supporting immorality and liberal, socialist agendas which I could never support with my money.

However, though we are told not to associate with those who claim to be believers and commit such things, we would have to go "out of the world," Paul says in I Corinthians 5, in order to avoid those who do not claim to be believers and commit such things. There is a certain measure in which believers must interact with unbelievers, but we must do so to a limited extent. We are to be in the world, but not of it.

For instance, when the heathen business people set up shop outside the walls of Jerusalem under the jurisdiction of Nehemiah, he drove them away and threatened to have them arrested if they came back on the Sabbath. He never prevented them from selling to God's people, nor did he tell the people of God not to buy from them. What they would do with the money after the purchase was of no consequence.

In like manner, Paul never told the Gentile believers in I Corinthians 10 not to eat what was sold in the shambles (a butcher shop where animals, which had been offered for pagan sacrifice, were slaughtered and then sold to the public). He only told them not to question whether or not it had been offered to an idol. He said it was important to keep this don't-ask-don't-tell policy because of the conscience of the one selling it. He didn't want the pagans to think the believers were supporting their idolatry by partaking of their offerings. The food was to be accepted with thanksgiving to God who owns all the animals by Creation. I believe what Paul is trying to get across is that, regardless of what the sellers practice or how they will use the money once we have made a purchase from them, eating the food itself, or in other cases using a cleaning product, does not corrupt our souls. We are not sinning by buying things from corrupt businesses. However, we may be liable if we:
  • Participate in the same or similar sins which they do
  • Make purchases for the purpose of supporting the same causes
  • Or acknowledge that the places they support are worthy causes
If it wasn't for conservative watchdogs in the media, we probably wouldn't be aware that McDonald's is actively supporting the homosexual agenda. Is this policy broadcast to the public by the McDonald's corporation? If so, then believers would bring a reproach against Christ by frequenting such an establishment. Although McDonald's is actively marketing to the homosexual community, I am not aware of any advertising to the general public that they support this cause.

Having said that, there is one exception I can think of, however, for boycotting any company which actively supports agendas destructive to the family. Is support for family-destructive causes being channeled into support for political candidates and lobbyists whose legislation will eventually bring harm or oppression to those who believe and practice biblical beliefs? Now, if this is the case with McDonald's or any other business, then, by all means, believers must not only boycott them, but seek to let them know by letter, email, or telephone message that we are boycotting them for this reason.

My dear reader asks if it does any good to boycott errant businesses, citing the Ford company. I don't know about Ford, but it sure worked with Wal-Mart. In 2006, the mega-store also entered into partnership with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), just as McDonald's has. The AFA launched a massive email campaign to alert conservatives about the alliance, which caused a huge backlash of negative feedback to the company. According to Snopes.com, a rumor verifying website, Wal-Mart announced in 2007 that, although individual stores may contribute to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered organizations, they will no longer be doing so as a corporation. Their spokesperson even cites the protests of both conservative customers and employees as the reason for their decision.

In the end, it really is a matter of conscience. If it offends your conscience to patronize certain businesses because of the charities, programs, or political parties they support, then you must avoid them at all costs. In the light of the radical homosexual agenda against biblical families, it may be time for believers to seriously consider whether or not to support the businesses who are stoking the fires for them.

We don't have to eat at McDonald's; we don't have to use the convenience items produced by Proctor and Gamble; and, no one, believers in particular, should be watching wretched soap operas anyway!

(See an update on the McDonald's ban here!)