Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My beef with boycotts.

So as pretty much everyone in America knows, Chick-fil-A supports Biblical values and traditional marriage. Which is about as shocking as McDonald's supporting Big Macs or Coca Cola supporting Cokes or the Michelin man supporting Michelin tires. But, I digress.

So in response to that "surprising" news, I've seen two responses. One is to boycott Chick-fil-A, calling it an intolerant and hateful company. The other is to endorse CFA and encourage thousands of people to go eat there today as a way to show their appreciation for the values they hold.

Earlier this summer, JC Penney put out a print ad featuring two men portrayed as homosexual dads playing with their son. Again, there were two responses - one group of people called for a boycott, another group praised JCP as being progressive and tolerant.

Name a company and it's likely they support gay marriage - Starbucks, Home Depot, Ben & Jerry's, Google, Boeing, Disney, and a plethora of other companies do. And while they are hard to find, some companies like CFA, Cinemark, ExxonMobil, and Walmart. So Christians (usually) call for boycotts of companies that support gay marriage, and most other people call for boycotts of supposed intolerant, hate-filled companies that oppose gay marriage.

So can I just call a time-out and ask why we're boycotting? I mean, does that really work? Has it ever? Take Chick-fil-A. While the gay-rights community have called for protests and celebrities have vowed to never eat there again, Christians have rallied and CFA had a record breaking day of sales today. And while Christians called for a boycott of Home Depot and Starbucks, they're doing quite well. Are you gonna stop using Google and not fly in a Boeing airplane anymore? Or not shop at Walmart anymore? Lotta good that'll do.

It's pretty clear that boycotting doesn't work. So why is that our first reaction?

Condemnation is easier than conversation, that's why. (Thank you to Perry Noble for that insight. And for making it rhyme.) It's easier to say "Forget you" to someone who believes different than us instead of taking the high road. If the homosexual community is really tolerant, why don't they fill up Chick-fil-A restaurants and tell them they tolerate the different opinion of the company. And why don't Christians shop at JCP, get coffee at Starbucks, and eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream?

My biggest beef with boycotting is who it hurts. It doesn't hurt the company; it hurts the employee. If you go into a Chick-fil-A, JC Penney, Starbucks, Home Depot, or Walmart - do you really think those employees work there because they're so proud of their company's values? Or because the company is so tolerant or intolerant (depending on how you see it)? I would highly doubt it. I know someone who works at Chick-fil-A and I know several people who work at Walmart. I've known people who work at Home Depot and I know a guy who works at Starbucks. All of them were not working at their places of work because of the company's ideals; they were working there to provide for themselves and their families.

When we boycott, remember who it hurts - the company, not the employee. And let's be honest - boycotting  doesn't work. It's a lousy way to do things because its fighting "hate" with hate. No way around it.

If we boycott anything, let's boycott boycotting.

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