What do I think about boycotts?

Well, I’ll tell you–over at the Register.

Speaking of the Register, I also have a couple of pieces up in honor of Good Friday
and in honor of all the folks who entered the Church this weekend. Welcome!

Is the Bible Inspired and Inerrant?
The Family as the Icon of the Holy Trinity
The existence of God is, in the end, common sense
Today we are discussing the Inner Ring…
  • dasrach

    As someone who used to do quite a bit of boycotting, I’ve come to be more in line with Leah Libresco’s opinion: it’s more effective to donate a percentage of every purchase to an opposing cause. Disney donates to Planned Parenthood, and if I buy my son a $20 stuffed Tigger, a tiny fraction of that money will fund them as well. However, if I donate $2 to my local crisis pregnancy center, I’ll be doing more to oppose PP than to help them, since Disney isn’t kicking over 10% of every purchase. (My reasoning for this, incidentally, is also very similar to Leah Libresco’s. I got really, really tired of every single purchase and meetup getting politicized and driving wedges into my relationships–”I’m not going shopping with you at JC Penney because they donate to Planned Parenthood, and now I’m opening the door for a giant argument about abortion that we’ve had a million times before; I’m not going to meet you at TGI Friday’s for dinner because they donate to Planned Parenthood, and now don’t you feel like a bad Christian because I boycott them and you don’t; etc. etc., etc.”)

    If you’re interested in reading her post about it, it’s here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/2012/08/im-only-writing-once-on-chik-fil-a.html

    • Almario Javier

      This, so much this. I always wondered what the people who boycotted Chik-Fil-A would do if, say, the CEO of Southern California Edison was found to have supported Prop 8 (which, let us remember, puts him along with half of California). Would they freeze in the dark, and let their phones run out of battery? Oh, wait, they’d still be using their services, because they operate the streetlights too.

    • sez

      Excellent idea! Thank you!!

  • Kathleen S.

    I remember that Blessed John Paul ll was against boycotts, and for the record when I buy something on amazon they donate 5% of what I spend to the Little Sisters of the Poor. You can pick which charity you want your donation to go to on their list.

  • Brian Sullivan

    Mark, hows that petition to get you kicked off the register going? Have you signed it yet? :-)

    • chezami

      I ran across it the other day. They got 157 signatures and then it apparently hit an expiration date. A sad day for humanity.

  • Doug Sirman

    Boycotting the register.

  • LFM

    I actually don’t think boycotts should be used over-much as a political weapon, however worthy the cause, unless the organization or business to be boycotted is *directly* involved in some obnoxious or immoral practice or policy (like Pepsi financing stem cell research). It should also *never* be used to target individuals and their jobs (as in Eich’s case at Mozilla). If it were used in that way regularly, it would quickly shut down any possibility of real debates and exchanges of opinion in whatever society adopted the practice.

    So – boycott McDonald’s for mistreating their employees? Yes, assuming that this is true (a local McD’s in my area was recently voted best employer of the year). Boycott bus companies that refuse to let black people sit in front, as in Montgomery in 1955? Yes. Boycott Ben & Jerry’s because they support every goofy liberal cause? No – they make ice cream, for heaven’s sake, and the political activities of the company founders on their own time are a private matter.

    Boycott Amazon for its support for gay marriage? More complicated.
    This was indeed a matter of company policy, but on the other hand, they were not directly involved in financing the movement towards gay marriage. Instead, their company officers expressed a (wrong, to me and you) political opinion, partly, as the brief indicates, because of the administrative complications they faced in trying to accommodate same-sex married employees whose marriages they could not, under federal law, recognize for the purposes of providing health care to both partners. And, as Catholics, we generally believe that the provision of health care by employers is a Good Thing, is it not, even if we disapprove of the union for other reasons? On the whole, I think that if anyone wants to organize a boycott against Amazon, it ought to be for something directly connected to their business.


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