Biblical case for boycotts

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Paul Rittman, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. Paul Rittman

    Paul Rittman
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    I realize there is a thread dedicated to the Target bathroom issue, but I'd like to discuss simply what guidance the New Testament offers us in the question of boycotts.

    What do you believe is the biblical perspective on boycotts—if in fact the Bible has anything to tell us at all, on the topic?

    From what I can tell, the morality of people in the non-Christian sections of the ancient Mediterranean was no better than in modern America. Paul in 1 Cor 10.25 said it was ok for Corinthian Christians to go to the local butchers (presumably pagan) and eat meat that had (apparently, for this seems to be the explanation of this controversy) been sacrificed to pagan gods (at least, as long as another person’s conscience was not at stake); in verse 29, he seems to state that we have “liberty” to do this. From what I can see, if in fact it is acceptable to buy from businesses that hold out and out pagan sacrifices over their merchandise, it seems hard to argue that we should boycott businesses for other moral reasons.

    Has anyone come across another explanation of that verse (that doesn't involve pagan sacrifices)?


    If there is a verse that has a more direct bearing on the question of boycotts, I'm all ears.


    Should Christians boycott (on principle)? I'd appreciate it if people would use biblical references to support their view, whether yea or nay (I'm more partial to chapter and verse, than I am to someone saying that they don't think a loving God would want them to....). I am aware that the Bible constantly urges people to separate themselves from sin, and in certain context, from sinners---but I guess I'm looking for an explicitly commercial context for this, instead of a personal or ecclesiastical context for separation.

    When I say boycott on principle, I'm not talking about shopping at a store that is clean, or avoiding stores that are dirty, or whose customers make one feel unsafe. I'm talking about not shopping at a store, solely because they support a cause you feel is immoral.

    Here is the passage that I mentioned above (ESV):

    1Co 10:25-29

    (25) Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

    (26) For "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."

    (27) If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

    (28) But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience--

    (29) I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?
     
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  2. Sapper Woody

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    That passage definitely lets us know that we don't have to boycott. But it doesn't prohibit it either. Essentially, as the passage shows, it's a conscience thing. If you can't shop at Target in good conscience, then don't. If you can, you are free to.

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  3. JonC

    JonC
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    I believe a biblical case for boycotting is when the believer is under conviction that not doing so would be participation in sin

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  4. Paul Rittman

    Paul Rittman
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    I would say that this falls into the category of Rom 14.23:
    (Rom 14:23) But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

    However, that is (in my mind) not really an argument for boycotting (or not boycotting), so much as it being biblical to follow our conscience in these things.
     
  5. JonC

    JonC
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    I wasn't just thinking of Romans 14, but several general principles as well (discipleship, discernment, sanctification, etc.). But it is a personal matter in this case, so I agree that it isn't an argument for boycotting. The argument for boycotting goes back, however, to participation in or facilitation of evil. I believe that it is appropriate for churches to boycott Hustler Hollywood, for example. While our purchase at the store may become an opportunity to witness, it is also supporting immorality. I know that this is an extreme example, but the principle remains. I don't think that most boycotts are against having a presence at an organization but rather becoming patrons of some organizations.

    Insofar as Target goes, it seems to me a matter of political correctness rather than immorality. Providing for the comfort of people who are lost and blinded by immorality (even at the expense of the discomfort of other people to include both sinner and saint) is not necessarily sinful itself, but I will not purchase anything from Target because I view their announcement as political correctness to the stupid degree.
     
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