When Hollywood and Big Business Attack

When Hollywood and Big Business Attack June 22, 2019

This has been an interesting season as it concerns abortion politics. Some states have passed very lenient laws (ex. Illinois, New York) while others have passed very harsh laws (ex. Georgia, Louisiana). The passions on this topic are undoubtedly triggered by the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanahagh. The expectation, or fear, depending on your point of view, is that he will be that fifth vote that overturns Roe. Whether he is or not remains to be seen but until we know whether the Supreme Court will support this ruling, we should expect more state legislatures to take proactive action on abortion.

The actions of states confirming harsher treatment of abortion is of particular note. These states now face the anger of many Hollywood celebrities and even some CEOs of large companies. I remember this happening in the past. But the issue at that time was not about abortion but it was about religious freedom and sexuality. At that time the pressure from these institutions helped to squash attempts to incorporate state level religious freedom laws. Whether they will be successful this time remains to be seen but we have seen this story before.

Whether these Hollywood celebrities and big business CEOs will be successful is not my current focus. Rather I am curious as to why they have decided to take on this fight. I am not talking about why they are accepting a politically progressive framework. I am less interested in the fact that they are progressive than the political issues that they are willing to influence by boycotts. When you think of it, it is quite extraordinary to take the step to intrude into the dealings of governments in other states and threaten to economically damage those states if they do not abide by one’s political desires. So it is relevant to ask why the commitment to these particular issues.

If we accept the general progressive leanings of these celebrities and CEOs, then why are they not boycotting states that do not promote efforts to clean up our environment? After all if we are told that we only have a dozen years before global warming destroys us, then why not pressure our state and local governments to take the necessary measures to combat it?

Why are these celebrities and CEOs not boycotting states that implement voter ID laws or not addressing the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on people of color? Do these progressives not care about the impact of structural racism?

Why are these celebrities and CEOs not boycotting states that are passing laws against sanctuary cities? Oh yes, they will condemn them in statements, but if they are concerned about the mistreatment of immigrants, should they not be doing more than talk? Should they not also economically cripple states that do not support those immigrants?

What about states that cut funding for education? Is not our future dependent on the education of our young? Why are these celebrities and CEOs not boycotting states that are not sufficiently funding our teachers?
What about states passing “right to work” laws? These laws are limiting the ability of labor unions to form and to protect workers. Certainly economic pressure from these celebrities and CEOs is appropriate for helping to end this practice.

I think you get my point. I am not arguing for or against the progressive positions of these celebrities and CEOs, but if they are accepted by them, then I have the right to ask them why are boycotts only appropriate on issues of abortion and sexual minorities? Why so silent, as it concerns boycotting, on these other progressive issues? The message seems to be that these issues are more important than all other issues. More important than the end of our environments in twelve years. More important than dealing with institutional racism. More important than funding education. More important than all of that.

But I really do not believe that these celebrities and CEOs envision those social issues (abortion and religious freedom/homosexuality) as more important than all other issues. I believe that these social issues are prominent because they serve purposes beyond the issues at hand. They are issues tied to issues in the culture war. Thus winning them is more than gaining political victories but helping to vanquish cultural opponents. I believe it is the defeating of the cultural opponents that is the major motivating factor helping these celebrities and CEOs to threaten boycotts for these issues, but not other political issues.

And let us be honest about this. The opponents that these individuals are focused on defeating are conservative Christians. If they were concerned about the influences of religion in general, then we would see Hollywood and CEOs boycotting Middle Eastern countries. But they do not engage in boycotts that may harm Muslim dominated cultures. No they are willing to take the extraordinary step of boycott when it can imped the desires of conservative Christians. That is the best explanation for their seeming preference of supporting abortion over ending global warming and their greater desire to support sexual minorities rather than support people of color.

This leads to the conclusion that an important factor in the decisions to partake in these boycotts is Christianophobia. That would explain why these Hollywood stars and CEOs would fight harder for certain progressive causes than others. This does not mean that Christianophobia is the only reason for these boycotts, but it is the best explanation for why these individuals go beyond merely advocating for a progressive cause to engaging in a boycott to support that cause.

A couple of blogs ago, I pointed out in comments that while conservative Christians may still have political advantages in our society, that they still operate at a cultural disadvantage. Indeed, if it were possible it would be wise for conservative Christians to trade cultural positions for most other social groups, even those we tend to think of being marginalized. The extra pressure that can be brought to bear by a cultural institution such as Hollywood as well as the apparent cultural beliefs of CEOs illustrate the reality of the cultural disadvantage of conservative Christians.

To this end, it makes sense for conservative Christians to prepare to live in a society where they are cultural outcasts. To this end, I continue to suggest that we have to consider how to strengthen our own communities for this new reality. What strengthening our Christian community may mean varies from one believer to the next but the discussion of how we do this is one that we desperately need to have.

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  • BernankeIsGlutenFree

    “if it were possible it would be wise for conservative Christians to trade cultural positions for most other social groups, even those we tend to think of being marginalized”

    Remember, what you’re asking for is for one full third of Christian kids to attempt suicide and for Christians to be overrepresented 10-fold in the homeless population. I’d be interested to hear from any other Christians who agree with the author and think that that would be an improvement over your current conditions so that I may inquire as to why.

    • LastManOnEarth

      He loves his persecution complex.

      He won’t be happy until it’s legal to fire someone for being Christian in 26 States.

    • georgeyancey

      So that is why suicide is happening. Then tell me why black suicide rates are lower than rates for whites. Or do you think blacks got it so much better than whites?

      • LastManOnEarth

        LGBTQ suicide and homelessness appear to be tied to rejection by one’s own family, usually for religious reasons. LGBTQ folk with supportive family seem to thrive.

        Obviously, rejection or support by one’s family for being black is typically not an issue.

        • georgeyancey

          Yeah we blacks only had our families ripped apart by whites and our women rapped. So we do not know about rejection. Misses the point anyway. The argument was about effects of cultural acceptance and in that you have no answer to why we are no offing ourselves.
          By the way. Even in tolerance Sweden those in same-sex relationships commit suicide at higher rates than those in heterosexual relationships (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-016-0154-6). So ending rejection will not end the higher levels of suicide. If people really cared about these poor souls then they would look for the real causes of the higher rates of suicide rather than use that fact for their Christianophobic desires.

      • fractal

        Black people commit suicide often; they just do it more slowly with addiction, risky behavior, and gun violence against one another.

  • Donalbain

    Interesting use of the word “attack”. And by “interesting”, I mean staggeringly dishonest.

  • Tom Hering

    Follow the money. These companies know their customers, and the way the majority of their customers feel about these issues. If their customers were mostly pro-life, and supporters of traditional morality, these would be the views that these companies would support.

  • Milo C

    So sad to hear that after decades of abuse of power, conservative Christians are losing respect.

    I recommend talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses if you wish to learn about milking the most religious fervor from cultural stigma.

  • georgeyancey

    Not my responsibility to find the real causes for the purposes of this discussion. Just to show them major cause is not rejection which is what the Sweden study shows.

    • LastManOnEarth

      And yet the studies that actually study the effect of parental attitudes, that rejection is a major, if not primary, factor.

      Tossing out the Swedish stats is just muddying the waters and avoiding the overwhelming data that addresses the issue directly.

  • LastManOnEarth

    I’ve never met a black person thrown out of the house for being black.

    I’m also not seeing a lot of kids on the street who were thrown out of the house for being Evangelical.

    • BernankeIsGlutenFree

      Right. The obvious answer to his insinuation is that black Americans are marginalized by impersonal social institutions, whereas queer people are (in addition) marginalized by and from their own family and friends, particularly in childhood and early adolescence. It’s really easy to see how getting beat up and arrested by a racist cop and getting beat up and abused by your homophobic/transphobic parents (or literal years of mind-chilling fear over something like that happening), though both experiences of bigotry, would have different effects on mental health and suicide risk. The author appears to have a vested interest in believing that queer kids killing themselves is somehow their own fault though, so don’t count on his ability to understand that.

  • georgeyancey

    Nice. Except that it is well established that the IQ test is not culturally reliably for assessing IQ outside of Eurocentric cultures So you see I do have the burden of finding alternate answers and I accept that burden unlike the others here.