AFA Defends the Use of Boycotts

Randall Murphee, one of the top officials of the American Family Association, has an article in Charisma News defending his groups use of boycotts. It seems some Christians don’t think boycotts are a Christian thing to do, for some reason.

Through the three decades that I’ve been on the AFA staff, we have often been roundly ridiculed and royally roasted for boycotts we initiated. But the truth is, they were often an effective means of getting a company’s attention. They still are on occasion. And AFA still employs the tactic occasionally when corporate entities refuse to communicate or demonstrate any concern regarding the faith and family issues that we hold dear.

Many of our detractors charged that boycotting was not a good Christian witness. But for me, it has always seemed a simple matter of good stewardship. Where should I spend the money with which God has blessed me? I recently had occasion to look up a column I wrote in AFA Journal in 2009, and I believe the principles are still solid. AFA initiated a 2008 boycott of PepsiCo because the company had made a $500,000 contribution to the Human Rights Campaign, possibly the nation’s most influential radical pro-homosexual activist group.

Fortunately, Pepsi changed its practices, and AFA ended the boycott in February 2010. But it’s a war that’s landed us where we are now, with same-sex marriage being debated by the nation’s highest court. I think there should have been a lot more boycotting going on to support moral values of all sorts, including natural marriage. Here’s what I thought then (and I still think it now):

A few days ago, I received an email from a Christian lady who believes boycotts are not a valid means of defending moral values. Specifically, she disagrees with the AFA boycott of PepsiCo, in part because she has relatives working for Pepsi, and she fears they might lose their jobs. She agrees that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong, but thinks a boycott hurts innocent people; thus we should never “judge” others.

She suggested that boycotting is judgmental self-righteousness; we call it judicious, in other words, wise stewardship.

I don’t much care whether boycotts are a good Christian thing to do or not, of course. They can fight that out among themselves. But it would be nice if they were at least a little bit consistent. While Murphee defends their own use of boycotts, others at the AFA calls it “economic terrorism” when anyone else calls for a boycott. It can’t be right if you do it but terrorism if someone else does it.

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  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    It can’t be right if you do it but terrorism if someone else does it.

    Why not? That’s what the US government does.

  • John Pieret

    Fortunately, Pepsi changed its practices

    Really? Is that why Pepsi was one of the 379 corporations signing an amicus brief urging SCOTUS to rule SSM bans unconstitutional?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/marriage-equality-amicus_n_6808260.html

    It can’t be right if you do it but terrorism if someone else does it.

    I believe that comes from Jesus’ famous saying “Do unto others before they can do unto you.”

  • dugglebogey

    I appreciate how he claims a victory in one battle from 2010.

    It’s 2015 and the war is almost over. All your hatred and bigotry in history is what got us here. Thank you for your assistance in this endeavor.

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    When someone asks me to join a (Christian) boycott I always tell them: “Now that I know there is a boycott I will go out of my way to patronize that establishment.”

  • Larry

    The use of boycotts is perfectly OK and justifiable. Its only that they aren’t doing your cause of spreading the hatred any good. Compare and contrast with the proposed boycott of all things Indiana when their governor signed the legal-to-discrimate hate law. The mere threats of boycotts had them backtracking at warp speeds.

  • cptdoom

    Really? Is that why Pepsi was one of the 379 corporations signing an amicus brief urging SCOTUS to rule SSM bans unconstitutional?

    They also scored a perfect 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index in both 2014 and 2015.

  • John Hinkle

    … Specifically, she disagrees with the AFA boycott of PepsiCo, in part because she has relatives working for Pepsi, and she fears they might lose their jobs. … She suggested that boycotting is judgmental self-righteousness; we call it judicious, in other words, wise stewardship.

    Shorter: Boycotts entail fundraising. Fuck your relatives.

  • Alverant

    Do boycotts even work to a reasonable degree?

  • freemage

    Alverant: In some cases, yes. A lot of it depends on how they are structured, however. Often, it’s not the boycott itself, so much as the negative publicity that is associated with it, that causes a company to change their conduct.

    Also, it’s easier to get a company to pull back to neutral ground than it is to get them to actually be proactive, or change internal policies. For instance, the vile “Doctor” Laura’s television and radio shows eventually imploded due to lack of sponsors, precisely because of the boycott by gay-rights activists. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have both lost advertisers, as well.

    OTOH, Operation PUSH’s attempt to use a boycott to get Nike to hire more African-American executives fizzled and died.

  • caseloweraz

    Boycotts can be effective.

    When Arizona Gov. Evan Meacham refused to declare a state holiday for Dr. King, a Super Bowl boycott worked well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/park.james.102 parkjames

    ” It can’t be right if you do it but terrorism if someone else does it.”

    I’m pretty sure this is actually conservative Americans’ exact view of our foreign policy. So you can do it, you just have to do a lot of special pleading, which they’ve demonstrated they are fully capable of doing.