Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Things To Consider Before Boycotting A Business...

Update: 12/8/16: This discussion seems to come around every year against one secular business or another... so I updated point 11 and added point 12.  Consider, discuss, hope you are helped and exhorted to joy in Christ!

Update 11/8/15: I decided to re-post this given the outcry against Starbucks that is taking place.  I would just add that "pranking" Starbucks as Joshua Feuerstein recommends is no less foolish and unhelpful than a boycott.  Neither advances the Gospel.  Joshua has loads of problems with his theology but that is for another post I suppose.  I am however perplexed at how a man who calls himself a pastor thinks it does advance the Gospel to "prank" Starbucks... then again I'm not too surprised, he also feels that converting his sanctuary into a rodeo ring and having a rodeo as church is advancing the Gospel as well... this man needs to be avoided at all costs.  He is immature and has no business leading the flock.


Last year I posted this and thought that with Christmas rapidly approaching I would post it again to keep Christians focused on the bigger issue at hand.  There is a more important thing going on than whether or not someone says 'Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays".

The issue being discussed is whether or not we should say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.  Or in some cases whether equal signage should be displayed for Christmas and Winter Solstice on government/public property.

But I digress, as I said, I posted an article about the whole thing and since I've heard much discussion in general over "boycotting" said businesses that refuse to display or say "Merry Christmas" but instead opt for "Happy Holidays".  I thought it might be helpful to think through this once more.  Should we boycott businesses for not saying "Merry Christmas"?  My position, is no.  No we shouldn't.  Here is my 11 point pondering as to why we shouldn't.

1.) Let's say that your efforts to boycott does in fact encourage a business to begin using Merry Christmas as opposed to Happy Holidays... Have you considered that you have then pressured obvious unregenerate people to blaspheme the name of Christ by using it in a false way?  Namely, by using it when they do not believe in it. (Exodus 20:7)  I am grieved when I hear someone blaspheme.  Be it through an overt blaspheming of the Lord's Name or when someone says "God Bless America" who, by their fruit, demonstrates they have no reverence for God. (Psalm 74:10)

2.) We, as Christians, are to discern and judge between true and false teachings within the church and within those claiming to be Christian.  We are not to go about making unrighteous, and in this case unnecessary, judgments on the unbelievers short of warning them of the wrath of God to come to them due their sin through our sharing the Gospel with them. Wise as serpents, innocent as doves. (Romans 16:17-20)

3.) Have you gone about cleaning up the doctrine and shoring up the theology in every aspect of your own ministries at your church or even what you hold to personally?  What about the local "Family Friendly" Christian Radio Stations such as KLTY that consider it acceptable to play secular Christmas songs and commercials for the WB and the like.  Granted, those commercial spots are paid for by those outside companies, but those radio stations have the duty to discern between what should and shouldn't be aired on their station and the are considered within the body.  Have you considered confronting them in an Ephesians 4:15 way?  Speaking truth in love to them first.

4.) What about these business we are proposing to boycott... has anyone personally contacted any of them and arranged a time to sit down with them and share the true meaning behind Christmas (Matthew 1:21) which would easily lead into sharing the Gospel (Mark 1:15) with them and perhaps lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?
"Saying in a corrective tone "Merry Christmas" in response to a store clerk's mandated "Happy Holidays" greeting is not a form of evangelism." - Burk Parsons
5.) It doesn't seem doing this has been thought through too wisely.  Granted we ought to feel something when God's Name is omitted like that or blasphemed, but our reaction ought to be to proclaim the Gospel all the more!  Not condemn the world.  All things are permissible... but not all things are profitable. (1 Corinthians 10:23)  This seems to be a profitless and fruitless endeavor.

6.) Do I use Merry Christmas personally?  Absolutely.  Should businesses?  It would be nice, but I don't expect much from the "darkness" of this world.  They hate God by default and so I'm not shocked when they display behavior in keeping with that, such were all of us before Christ saved us.  (Ephesians 2:1-10)... Are we really surprised that the world doesn't understand? (1 Corinthians 2:14)

7.) How does this accomplish ANYTHING for the Gospel or the glory of God?  Even if they begin using the "proper" phrases... did you really accomplish anything? (Luke 11:39)

8.) The end result of this is that those business who give to your bullying and change their signage (if any do) you've not changed their hearts, you've soothed your conscience so that you can continue indulging in worldly items and coveting everything you see... (as we all do from time to time because we are all sinful)  (1 John 1:8-9)

9.) Shouldn't we be consistent? If you are going to call out businesses using Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas then let's also go and call out businesses that support abortion, that promote promiscuity or drunkenness, or that put out sinful media products (movies and music and such).  Are you sure that the businesses that DO wish you a Merry Christmas aren't selling products of companies who don't? Have fun figuring that one out!  Where does it end?  The commission of the church is not to chiefly attack the peripheral issues of this sin broken world, but rather to attack the heart of all issues with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That though they are sinners bound for God's wrath, their is forgiveness and pardon in Jesus Christ alone!  (John 3:16; Mark 1:15; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:16-20)

10.) Preach the WORD in and out of season... PREACH THE WORD. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)  Just because you are willing to give these businesses a pat on the back for saying Merry Christmas does not equal success or wisdom.

11.) Have you considered the issue of hypocrisy in your own heart with this? Is the issue of saying "Merry Christmas" the only time you open your mouth for any cause pertaining to Christianity?  And if so, might not you look like a hypocrite because you are claiming to prize and hold the name of Christ and the celebration of His birth so very very closely and yet never share the Gospel any other time in the year? Or even still, do you insist on being told Merry Christmas while you are purchasing DVDs that contain objectionable material?  Do you watch movies or TV shows that blaspheme?  "You'd better say Merry Christmas to me while I pay you for this R rated DVD!" seems to send a mixed message.  Just a thought.

12.) The wisdom of the world is foolishness (Romans 1).  There are many who believe they are ignoring Christ by saying Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas... that somehow "Happy Holidays" secularizes the season.  The reality?  The word 'holiday' comes from the Old English phrase "Holy Days."  So in reality both the word Christmas and Holiday give me, as a Christian, a GREAT lead in to sharing the Gospel.

It might go something like this:

"Say, do you know what Christmas is all about?  What have you been told about Christ?"


"Interesting that you say Happy Holidays.  Did you know the word 'holiday' comes from the old English 'holy day?'  What do you think it means to be 'holy?'

All that said, it IS called Christmas for a REASON and I will NOT be prevented from saying "Merry Christmas" or displaying a manger, or speaking of Christ or any other thing!  Then again, I am going to speak about my Savior and proclaim His Gospel year round whether the government, the public, or anyone else tells me I can or not.

Your comments and thoughts on this are appreciated and could be helpful in thinking through this more fully, please feel free to post them! 

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