Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I still don't like boycotts

I just don't like boycotts.

Yes, I know, this has been the tried and true method of protest - I don't like what business X or State Y is doing - let's organize a boycott.  Right and Left, both sides do it.  That will learn them!

Yet, here's the thing.  Just think on the 10 commandments from your catechism days.  What's the meaning to the 7th Commandment?  "We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income."

So someone's doing something *I* don't like.  Isn't he still my neighbor?  Am I somehow excused from showing him love and helping him?  That's convenient - if I don't *like* what someone does, I can stop loving him and feel all good about it... um... or something.

And it just doesn't even make sense.  How am I going to convince someone to change her mind if I utterly ignore her - if I castigate her and wish her harm.  That's not going to convince anyone of anything.

But lest you think I'm just not dedicated enough to your cause (whatever cause it is), consider what Paul writes in Romans 12:   "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

So - alright - if someone bothers you so much that you just can't do business with them... okay.  So be it... but leading the glorious boycott revolution against your neighbor... you aren't going to overcome evil with doing harm yourself.

But - if this strikes too much of a nerve, you can always organize a boycott of my blog =o)

You can also check out another post on Boycotting I wrote if you haven't determined I am thus evil incarnate.


John Flanagan said...

It is not an act of vengeance to simply avoid doing business and supporting financially a private company in America today which openly declares in a statement of policy that they advocate gay marriage, Choice(I.e. pro-abortion), or insult the convictions of Christian customers.
Some of these companies are headed or influenced by liberal or leftist CEO's who inject politics into the market instead of simply treating all customers neutrally. The absolute castigation of opposing views comes primarily from the left, not the right. The right does not start these things, but today's liberal elitists do, and you can use the example of Chic-Fil-A franchises a few years ago, When the owner said they did not discriminate in the service of all customers, however, the founder believed in traditional marriage between one man and one woman. A media firestorm followed and the gay Fascists called for a national boycott for "bigotry". We can and should boycott companies which hate Christians and support those which are either neutral or supportive of one's conscience to follow our faith.

Myrtle said...

To use the word "vengeance" implies reference to Romans 12:19, but verse 20 takes us further. Just as Luther's Large Catechism does with all of the commandments. It is not enough to simply not take vengeance, but rather were are to feed our enemies, to succor them.

One could say that what happened with Chic-fil-A was a hate campaign. Boycotts, as least the public campaign ones, not the personal convictions ones, even if for what one might term a "good" reason, become another hate campaign.

I am thankful for the reminder this post has about how we treat our enemies. Sort of reminds me of Jeremiah telling the exiles that that were to seek for the welfare of the city in which they were held captives and to pray for its behalf. That's the part of Jeremiah 29 it seems folk skip over in leaping to verse 11, about God have plans for a future and a hope. Those words were words given to folk who were mostly likely going to live out their lives in captivity. Good welfare, a good future, hope. God gives those even in captivity.

I think the part I struggle with in the idea of campaigning for a boycott over some sin or evil is the lack of acknowledgement in the boycott rhetoric that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness. The focus nearly always seems to be on the sin of others, rather than on Jesus, who forgives us, and the Holy Spirit, who helps us to forgive others, to care for our enemies, to pray for their welfare and offer them food and drink.

I personally think that a campaign of caring for others, even the enemies, is far more effective than a campaign of judging other and wishing for their downfall.

Carl Vehse said...

"I don't like what business X or State Y is doing - let's organize a boycott."

That may or may not be a legitimate reason to organize a boycott. But instead, what if the statement were:

"What business X or State Y is doing is immoral - let's organize a boycott."

And if such a claim is substantiated, then organizing a boycott would be appropriate. For example, Missouri Synod Lutherans would definitely be justified in boycotting meth labs, whorehouses, abortion clinics, and the Democratic Party politicians.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

There is a difference between a "boycott" and refraining from using something immoral.

A boycott is when you refuse to use a product or establishment that you otherwise would. The US boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics because they were in Russia, not because they suddenly didn't like the Olympics.

So - unless Carl Vehse *likes* and frequently uses whorehouses and meth labs (which may be a possiblity) - that's not a boycott.

+ + + + + + +

As for John Flanagan - if some company's policies bug you - sure, don't use them. If it goes against your conscience to give them business - that's fine. But do you really, really want to answer "they hate Christians" with a "let's hate them back and shut them down" when your Lord instructs you do turn the other cheek and to pray for your enemies?

Do you want to teach and organize people to do that - because it's one thing if *I* don't use a business - it's another thing if I organize others with the purpose of harming that business.

Carl Vehse said...

You use a selectively narrow meaning of "boycott" and then attempt to support it with a fallacious ad hominem snark.

Is this how called servants of the Word publicly dialogue issues?

Rev. Eric J Brown said... definition number one for boycott: "to combine in abstaining from, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion"

Given the context of my article, I'd imagine that would be the clear thrust of the word I was intending. Generally simply avoiding something isn't deemed a boycott.

And as for is this how servants of the Word publicly dialogue (I'd prefer "engage in public dialog") - I would direct you to the "about me" to the left, where I self describe myself as sarcastic and smarmy -- so yes, in this forum, absurd snark is allowable.

If you do not like or appreciate this, feel free to no longer participate in discussions here. It's about being insightful and having some fun at the same time -- but if that isn't your cup of tea, feel free to not participate.

However, I'd recommend against organizing a boycott of my blog - that would just be gauche.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I would also note from the Blog post itself - "So - alright - if someone bothers you so much that you just can't do business with them... okay. So be it... but leading the glorious boycott revolution against your neighbor... you aren't going to overcome evil with doing harm yourself."

That statement directly deals with the individual avoidance of places like brothels. Just so we all are clear and not tilting at straw-windmills.