Should Christians Boycott?

Every year, especially around this time, a huge outcry comes from the American Christian church. It basically amounts to, “If you don’t call it Christmas, we will boycott you”! On the surface, this seems like a pretty straightforward issue. December 25 has been the long celebrated, if not very accurate, date of the birth of Jesus Christ in this world. Now there are many debates about whether Christians should even celebrate this particular holiday, but I am setting aside that issue for now and am asking my readers to do the same. The issue I want to address is the issue of boycotting those companies that choose not to recognize this specific holiday as they cater to the consumer market. The question that needs to be asked is, should Christians participate in this?

In addressing this matter, let us first consider what Christmas is. For the Christian, it is a celebration of the time when God entered into humanity through the Incarnation. When the promise of Isaiah 9:6-7 came to fulfillment, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” When the Holy Spirit overshadowed a young virgin and Jesus became fully God and fully Man. When the Creator of all the universe took on humanity and became as one of us.

Unquestionably, the single most important aspect in history occurred on the hill of Calvary. Without the death, and subsequent resurrection, of Jesus Christ, there is no Christianity, as there is no forgiveness for sin. Yet, Calvary happened because a Child was born in Bethlehem, born in a filthy stable to a poor couple who were outcasts because there were questions about the how Mary really got pregnant. A Child that the local thieves…um, make that local shepherds ran through the streets announcing. A Child that, it seemed, very few people really cared about came into this world, but upon whom all of history would be affected. The very point of the celebration of Christmas centers then around the birth of the single most important figure in all of history, and the the ultimate fulfillment of why He came.

Fast forward to the year 2011 and the celebration of Christmas in America. Thanks to many traditions added over the years, trees and lights adorn our homes. Presents are exchanged in celebration of the season. Families gather together to sing carols and a traditional reading of the birth of Christ. Well, in some homes anyway. The growth of pluralism, post-modernism and political correctness have taught us that not everyone cares to celebrate this time of year because of Jesus’ birth. We are told that alternative beliefs, or even lack of beliefs, are just as important as the birth of Christ. In fact, since the Christian faith is so “intolerant” of other beliefs, it is actually important to denounce the central tenet of this celebration, or at least seriously downplay it, so that others can feel less disenfranchised and enjoy themselves more. After all, the purpose of the season is about love and joy to all mankind.

It did not take long for retailers to recognize that if they wanted to continue to make money from consumers, they had to buy into this system. Since not every person buying gifts was a Christian, they had better go to great lengths to make them feel included. Refusing to transition into this new age of pluralistic celebrations could mean that customers would feel offended and take their business to a more “inclusive” store. “Merry Christmas” became “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”. Christmas decorations became Holiday decorations. Stores sanitized themselves of anything remotely “Christian” in order to attract potential customers, thus increasing their bottom line.

It did not take long for Christians to recognize they were being pushed aside in this wave of commercial political correctness. Bumper stickers and signs began popping up which stated “Keep Christ in CHRISTmas” or “Remember the Reason for the Season”. Rather innocuous and harmless efforts to return people’s minds back to the central figure of Christmas (yet rather ineffective given the lack of a true gospel presentation, but I digress). Along the way, someone struck upon an idea. If a store doesn’t want to acknowledge Christ and Christmas, then why spend their money there? After all, if Christians aren’t worth catering to, why bother shopping at that store. In true Christian fashion, the worldly concept of boycotting caught on like wildfire. Before long, Christian organizations began to keep track of who did or did not say “Merry Christmas”. Christians were encouraged to avoid shopping at stores that were not “Christian friendly”. Terse letters were forwarded to companies with dire warnings that unless they changed their ways, Christians would withhold the money expected that year. It is now an annual event for Christians to celebrate the birth of our Savior by threatening companies with boycott unless they play ball our way.

Now, readers are probably catching on at this point where am I going with this, but I would like you to hear me out. How often have you read an article or seen a news report where a small business, run by a Christian, made a business decision that was informed by their beliefs that conflicted with a “protected class” and a boycott/lawsuit ensued. Have you not, rightly, declared, “How dare they? They’re just bullying them into doing what they want”! We have all seen it happen, perhaps you have even heard of a business or organization being shut down because they could not handle the legal costs involved. When we see it being doled out against other Christians, we realize just how cruel the concept is. If someone doesn’t do it their way, you either tow the line or you’re outta here!

So the question for the Christian is, what are we thinking?? At what point did Christ call upon us to use the cruel and mean ways of the world to promote His Name? At one point did we forget that our celebration of Christ was not which stores we would shop at, but to celebrate that promised Messiah, born of a virgin, in a poor household, with parents who were gossiped about, but would turn history on its head because of His death and resurrection for the sins of mankind? When did we forget that His story would not be told on store banners and catalogs, but when we would boldly proclaim the gospel to all those we meet? Did Christ command us to tersely warn people to make sure they celebrate Christmas, or did He call us to lovingly proclaim His gospel so that people would repent and trust in Him for salvation?

It is my suggestion that rather than partake in worldly methods, so we can feel comfortable shopping at stores where we can get the best deal, we take this time to go out into the world and share the glorious gospel of salvation through grace. See, this time of year is important to remember, but not so we can get good deals on presents. It is important for the reason I stated before, without Bethlehem, there is no Calvary. Without Calvary, there is no salvation. Without salvation, there is no hope. Please Christians, stop worrying if the stores are promoting Christmas, it’s not their job. It is ours. Let us spend our energies proclaiming Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection. That is the one gift you can give to every single person you meet that really matters anyway.

23 thoughts on “Should Christians Boycott?

  1. Abidingthroughgrace says:

    GoForth,

    Excellent words. Well stated. I agree completely…part of being separate is beig in the world but not of the world. We live here and in this time frame at God’s good pleasure. We can enjoy the Christmas season without being stress and offended. Let’s represent Christ and proclaim the Gospel by our LOVE for the lost, the unlovely, those that disagree, and our enemies.

    In Christ,
    -atg

  2. Keith says:

    Good commentary. Demanding that unbelievers honor and respect what we believe is foolish and prideful.
    Foolish, because they’re incapable of it until they’re converted. So even if they met our demands, it would be empty lip service under duress, and pandering based on commercialism, which is even more offensive. It wouldn’t be honoring Him at all.
    And that’s what makes it pride, since it wouldn’t be about Christ, it would be about us.

  3. Several years ago I, and my family, stopped eating at McDonald’s when we found they had openly endorsed the gay and lesbian chamber of commerce to the point of having a board member. I started thinking the day may come when I would have to go no where and do nothing if I didn’t use businesses that openly and in your face espouse an unchristian message or cater specifically to a group that does.
    For the moment, I choose not to spend at businesses where this is the case, like McDonald’s. But just the other day, I read that nearly the entire US meat industry is going halal since it is easier to treat everyone the same for the sake of getting that Muslim market. Fine, except making something halal entails offering it to an idol, the “blessing” that makes it halal. So I won’t eat butterball, but what happens when even “i wish I was an Oscar Meyer wiener” succumbs?
    The choices are not clear, but I do agree that expecting a Godless culture to say or do what we want them to is not going to work. In one sense the culture wars have been on so long I would suspect many don’t even know what Christmas is thanks to it’s removal. In another sense, demanding retailers tow a line isn’t so much different than those who demand any semblance of Christianity from the culture screaming for “rights”.

  4. GoForthAndPreach says:

    Dale – You’ll have to forgive me, but what are you advocating? The point of this article is that, rather than using worldly bully tactics, Christians should be busy about preaching the gospel. Rather than filing lawsuits, let’s be busy preaching and teaching to everyone we meet. In turn, hearts and minds will be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the end, the culture desires to worship Christ at Christmas because anything else would be senseless.

  5. Dale, may I also recommend before you make any more comments that you read our Rules of Engagement. You are coming dangerously close to the edge with your statements. There is not a problem with disagreeing, but I think you have missed the point of this post. Secondly, your rendering of history is not correct. We are not in the mess we are in because “Jesus was taken out of the schools in 1962.” And Adolf Hitler did not get to his position by “taking Jesus Christ out of everything like the USA.”

  6. 1). Excellent post, GFaP.

    2). I wrote a similar post in 2009 on this same subject: Bemoaning the Bemoaning of the Secularization of Christmas. This was written before my views on Christmas changed, but it is in line with what GFaP is saying today.

    3). Let us not forget that “sin” is the real reason for the season.

    4). For those wanting to discuss/debate the Christian’s participation in Christmas but want to respect GFaP’s request to not do that here, I recommend my post from last year as a place to do just that. A Radical Approach to December 25th: Why We Won’t Be Celebrating Christmas This Year.

    Other past Christmas posts on DefCon to consider and chew on include:

    Christmas Unwrapped (History Channel videos on the history of Christmas)

    http://defendingcontending.com/2010/12/13/christmas-unwrapped/

    Dreaming of a Pink Christmas (A.W. Pink’s views on Christmas)

    http://defendingcontending.com/2010/12/18/dreaming-of-a-pink-christmas/

    Personal Thoughts on Christmas (Desert Pastor’s thoughts on Christmas)

    http://defendingcontending.com/2010/12/20/personal-thoughts-on-christmas/

    My Final Post on Christmas

    http://defendingcontending.com/2010/12/25/in-conlusion-my-final-post-on-christmas/

  7. Dale, you just overstayed your welcome. Sadly, your caustic, vitriolic comments do not show forth a true love for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not about refusing to take a stand for Christ. As stated previously, you have obviously misread the post. We recommend you find another blog that will allow you to post the kind of comments you wish to put forth.

  8. I have no problem with Christians boycotting store that work to destroy the fabric of our culture – as with AT&T or McDonald’s spending money to fund and promote homosexual radicals that want to destroy the culture. This is a far different thing from the wisdom of this post – stores are of the culture and cannot honor God, so we should have no expectation that they do so.

    ! Cor 8 gives good counsel on how we are to handle food offered to idols.

  9. GoForthAndPreach says:

    Let me clarify an issue here. I have no issue if individual Christians choose to refrain from shopping at stores due to conscience issues. If an individual believes, for biblical reasons, that they do not want frequent a business, they have the liberty to do so. The issue at hand is Christians organizing large scale efforts to intimidate businesses to “tow the line” when the Christians themselves do little to promote the glorious gospel of grace.

  10. fleebabylon says:

    Manfred said: “Jim – 1 Cor 5 does NOT have anything to do with a Christian choosing to not spend money at a given store.”

    It has to do with them organizing boycotts of secular retailers. Paul gave no such instructions to the Church, it’s the right wing evangelical leaders who gave that command. I clearly stated in my link that we should obey our own conscience in disputable matters, but that is far different than some right wing “christian” group telling me, as a believer, to boycott a store because they give homosexual worker rights or because they say happy holidays instead of wishing me a merry roman christ-mass. 1 Cor 5 has a TON to do with that, especially when the people doing the boycotting often do not practice church discipline – thus adding hypocrisy to their mis-guided piety.
    -Jim

    I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. -1Corinthians 5:9-13 KJV

  11. Jim – All of 1 Cor 5 is about church discipline – and says nothing about Christians getting together in a decision to refuse to conduct business with a company. Nobody should be coerced to do so – let be convinced in his own mind. While we should not be misled into thinking the world should behave as Christians ought, we can certainly influence the world to restrain sin – this is one of the reasons we are left here.

  12. Deirdre says:

    I thought the article was good. We no longer celebrate christmas, but we dont jump down others throats for doing it. I dont think its right to push stores to say merry christmas. I am there to buy something and that is all. (Unless of course the LORD leads me to talk with someone) It’s weird how Christians will go to great lengths for a one day holiday, but no length at all to stop abortion…makes us all look pathetic….
    Peace,
    Deirdre

  13. If we look hard enough, we will find that nearly every company–big business, small business, and every size in between–gives at least a portion of their revenues to causes that are sinful (the possibly single exception being Chick-Fil-A). In fact, if we get right down to it, every time we shop at any store, we are (by extension) paying their employees, who may very well spend that money promoting things that are sinful. So to take the “boycotting” thing to its logical end, we would have to stop doing business with just about any company–and, since most grocery stores sell beer (and many, in certain states, sell wine), we’ll have to start growing our own food.

    A second point I would like to make is this: Paul wrote two lengthy sections about eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols (Romans 14:1-23 and 1st Corinthians 8:1-13). Here’s the thing to remember. That meat that had been sacrificed to idols had been purchased from a market that (obviously) sold meat that had been offered to idols. Did Paul discourage Christians from doing business with those markets? Did Paul command Christians to boycott such establishments? Did Paul ever tell us not to do business with anyone who offended us? No.

    And to go back a little further into biblical history, listen to the decree the people signed in renewing their covenant with YHVH in Nehemiah 10:31–“If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day…” Do they covenant not to buy from pagans–at all? Or simply on the Sabbath (Israelites under the old covenant being forbidden to buy or sell on the Sabbath)? So if God did not command the Israelites to not buy from pagans, and if the New Testament writers never command us to not buy from pagans–then who are we to judge those who purchase their necessities from such businesses? If one does not want to do business with them–then let them not do business with them to the Lord. Romans 14:22–Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

    We cannot avoid coming into contact with the world, and doing business with the world. To do so, we would have to completely isolate ourselves in a cave and live only on what comes up out of the ground naturally. Which would make us Vegan, which is associated with nature worship, which doesn’t solve anything. So I guess we just starve to death and die of thirst.

  14. fourpointer – My perspective is NOT that Christians stop buying from store that reflect the sin of our culture (selling beer & wine – and drinking it – is not, BTW, sinful). The narrow point I make known is that of aggressive activity by a firm to promote those groups whose stated and performed intentions are to destroy the society that the store depends on for its survival. If McDonald’s continues to fund GLSEN, its stores will turn out to be more of a hang-out for that crowd than for families. There’s a difference between funding GLSEN and marketing your product to them. It’s that difference that makes the difference for me. Wal-Mart backed off funding PFLAG but still markets products to that crowd. I shop at Wal-Mart – not McDonald’s.

  15. The godly qualities of joy (jolly) wealth (bearer of gifts), omnipresence (everywhere on the same night), eternal life (ageless), travel in the Spirit (magical flight), punisher of the wicked (withholds gifts), and rewarder of good (giver of gifts), are combined with the ungodly qualities of Antichrist and World Unity, in this pitiful, comic substitute for the CHRIST of the Bible. Adults as well as children are force-fed this demonic lie (usually from birth), which exposes them to violence, magic, fantasy, war games, dancing reindeer and mystical cartoons, while the Son of God, His truth and His righteousness, are denied and blasphemed by the world.

  16. The ideological warfare of the marketplace is one of the major theaters of spiritual warfare. We most definitely cannot be silent as the media and marketing machine floods our lives and our children’s lives with anti-christian worldviews and philosophies.

    Here is the rub – America is still 75% christian. So it is the church which has become dull and tolerant of sin isn’t it? And the Bible says of that kind of faith, ‘how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation’, and ‘I will spew you out of my mouth.’ It seems we have little to look forward to now except the sudden stop at the bottom of the fall.

    May the Lord see and act quickly to encourage the remnant.

  17. Chris Hohnholz (formerly GoForthAndPreach) says:

    Larry, I would agree that the American church has become tolerant of sin. That is why I wrote that the true body of Christ needs to get out there and proclaim the gospel of salvation. Rather than succumb to workshop methods of warfare, i.e. boycotting, marketing, etc., Christians need to use our spiritual weapons, prayer, preaching, gospel proclaiming. Only by the preaching of the Word are hearts changed through the power of God. It well beyond the time for us Christians to be about our Father’s business.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s