The 2 “H’s” of Christians Who Boycott

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10 days before Easter Sunday this year my social media platforms were flooded with people spreading the horror of Nike releasing “Satan shoes” along with the rapper Lil Nas X. These shoes came with the tagline, “Why be a servant in heaven when you can reign in hell” and had a drop of human blood (allegedly) in the midsole of the shoe and had the verse Luke 10:18 on the side of the shoes which speaks of Satan falling from heaven. Only 666 pairs were issued.

Christian after Christian shared this news in disgust. Christian after Christian posted that they were boycotting Nike and that they were going to throw out all of their Nike shoes and clothes. Other Christians commented that they had already been boycotting Nike because one of their spokespeople, Colin Kaepernick, had refused to stand for the national anthem in 2016. I even saw a Christian parent say that they were banning their children from singing the Kids Bop version of “Old Town Road” which is sung by Lil Nas X.

My thinking when these “Satan shoes” were released was this: Why are Christians surprised when non-Christians act like non-Christians?

It turns out Nike didn’t make the Satan shoes. It turns out Nike brought legislation against Lil Nas X and another company (who also made Jesus shoes two years ago that Christians bought) for copyright infringement. It turns out Christians, rather than praying and researching and waiting, instead chose to spread slander. 

Recently, Major League Baseball moved their mid-season All Star Game from Atlanta, Georgia in a reaction to Georgia lawmakers allegedly influencing voter-suppression. In a reaction to this, Christians shared that they were now boycotting baseball games. 

Over the years Christians have boycotted Starbucks, Wells Fargo Bank and Home Depot due to these companies affiliating themselves with same-sex marriage. Christians have boycotted shopping areas in November and December who refuse to say the words, “Merry Christmas”. (like Petsmart). Christians have also recently boycotted anything Disney due to their release of an actress who spoke her views politically.

I thought boycotting was supposed to be done when there are labor violations, dangerous work conditions or environmental irresponsibilities? 

Can someone show me a verse in the Bible (not an opinion in your heart) where the first century church boycotted the marketplace due to religious belief differences? 

In the book of Acts a church leader named Paul gets to the city of Athens and is broken-hearted at all of the idol worship he saw around him. Instead of boycotting these idols and being against the people of business around him, he goes to meet with the cultural leaders and entered into a loving, civil-engagement, praising them for their beliefs knowing that they were searching for truth. He was then able to share the Gospel message (Acts 17:16-34).

Had Paul boycotted the business of Athens, he would’ve made it about him and would’ve wrongly separated himself from the people he was called to love and serve. 

Why is it easier for Christians to broadcast what they are against and who they are against than what they are for and Who they are for?

God knows the heart of a Christian, I do not. I sometimes wonder if the Christian shining light on companies who are promoting things they don’t like when it comes to their faith (or their nationalism), is it more about grabbing the spotlight and “look what I found that is shocking!?!”, then it is standing for truth?

Are Christians called to spend their lives trying to harm businesses or vying to make disciples?

Here are two “H’s” that occur when Christians boycott companies: 

It’s Hypocritical 

It’s very hypocritical to boycott companies who have different religious and cultural beliefs than the Christian faith.

If you go to pick up a burrito at Taco Bell, do you make sure the person making it has the same view of Jesus/sex/politics/gender as you do? No. You buy the burrito and eat the burrito. 

Do you know the beliefs of the company who made your dishwasher at home and if they align themselves with your view of Jesus/the church/the Bible? No, you don’t. And if you did find out that your dishwasher company didn’t love Jesus, are you pulling it out and trying to find a dishwasher made only by a Jesus-follower?

Have fun hand-washing your dishes.

Are you aware of the beliefs of who makes your car? Who makes your smart-phone? Who even prints the copies of the Bible you own? Are you aware that there are worship songs sung in church written by non-Christians?

If we’re boycotting some companies in a reaction to what we hear (which much of is untrue), then let’s boycott all companies after researching and investigating their beliefs. And if/when you do, you’ll find yourself selling your house, living in a cave, only eating baked beans made by Christians with your shotgun next to you made my Christians as you read your King James Version Bible waiting for the world to end. 

What’s also hypocritical is how offended Christians are to the accused censoring Facebook is and yet the Christian just can’t quite walk away from Facebook because they don’t want to miss out on all Facebook gives them. They can walk away from watching the NFL/MLB and from buying Nike shoes but they can’t walk away from other companies. Seems hypocritical. 

We would do well to examine our own hearts and our own motives and our own choices than be so concerned about the assumptive hearts/motives/choices of companies and company leaders. 

It’s Harmful

It’s also harmful to publicly boycott. Christians who intend to “stick it” to companies who don’t align with their faith in Jesus seems harmful.

Christians think they are being helpful to the cause of their faith. They intend to harm the company by removing their business from them, but what is more harmful is the negative witness for Christ they are promoting to those watching.

Jesus is for people. Yes, He is for truth but He is not for spreading what we’re against over what we are for. Would Jesus rather Christians remove themselves from companies and spread negative things about them or would He rather Christians involve themselves lovingly in prayer and encouraging support?

Our nation has its roots in boycotting (Boston Tea Party).
The church does not have its roots in boycotting. We have our roots in picking up our cross daily and dying to ourselves (which means dying to what offends us, what opinions we have). 

We need to crucify our grandstanding instead of crucifying companies that don’t believe in Jesus.

When I was in college, I lived in an apartment across from a Wendy’s restaurant. I went there every day. Every. Day. I couldn’t get enough of their burgers and fries and I also loved their bar-b-q sauce.

Then Wendy’s started charging their customers thirty cents for each bar-b-q sauce packet.

I went into full boycotting mode. I was not going to stand for it. It set me off. 

I made posters attacking the greed of Wendy’s and walked around their drive-thru area shouting chants like, 

My business, they’ve lost 
Due to costly BBQ sauce! 

I was going to get my point across. 
Until God got His point across to me. 

The manager of Wendy’s came out on the second day of my tirade and asked me, Are you a Christian? 

I told him yes and asked him how he knew to ask that. 

He took me inside the restaurant to the security cameras in the back and showed me the video footage from the day before where I was wearing a Jesus t-shirt and driving a car with a Christian bumper sticker on it. 

Then the manager went on to say that he was a Christian and to continue supporting adoptions nationwide on a larger scale Wendy’s had added a cost to their sauce. 

I found it very hard to swallow my hypocrisy and harmful actions in that moment.

My actions had been harmful (and sinful) due to me not knowing the full context. I had harmed their business and my witness due to my emotional reactions. 

Point being: if we are going to boycott, let’s remind ourselves that it’s hypocritical b/c if we’d boycott everything we found out wasn’t in favor of Jesus, we’d be living way differently than we currently are AND let’s also be cautious of how harmful it can be to our witness in Christ. 

Put it to prayer. Do your research. Check your heart in the matter. Don’t be so public about it. Don’t be so shocked by it and see how you can serve and uplift the companies who view Jesus separately than you do. 

May the church be known Who they are for (Jesus), not who she is against.

Feel free to boycott, but I’m going to grab a Starbucks and watch some baseball with my Nike hat on while I pray for those companies. 

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 

Z

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