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.