Normally, I stay out of political and religious conversation. In my observation, people’s comments online rarely change opinions, and are nearly guaranteed to create strife and build walls between us rather then opening minds and producing new thought.
However, this time I can’t keep quiet. And it may not be what you expect.
All over social media, I see friends pledging to boycott Target. I see stories shared of people approaching managers and giving a huge thumbs down to this well-known liberal company. I see people saying they want to ‘hurt’ the corporation, that they want to make a ‘difference’. These people who speak so firmly are my family, my close friends, fellow church-goers. Christians.
I guarantee it will make a difference, but not the one you are hoping for.
I am hesitant to share because the people who speak so vehemently against Target are ones I love and respect. But I can’t agree with the angry words tossed my way about the company’s downfall and, even worse, the casual yet serious “I guess we’re boycotting Target now” with a nonchalant laugh. This issue isn’t a casual matter.
We justify the fact that we are boycotting (yet again, I might add), because this is a ‘safety issue, not a religious issue.’ But can I gently remind you that our Lord’s standard of safety is NOT the same standard the world holds? The world’s standard is based on feelings, on emotions, on flesh. The world says that safety is having multiple sexual partners before marriage, is having an abortion, is encouraging children to explore gender orientation, is sex education classes in the school system, and using whichever bathroom you emotionally prefer. None of these standards of ‘safety’ line up with the Bible, so WHY are we holding a liberal corporation, who has been a private, liberal corporation for the entirety of their existence, to a standard they have *never* followed? Which in turn leads to the question, why didn’t we go on a big boycott when they started their celebration of LGBT lifestyle? Why now, when before we didn’t care?
And why only Target? Why only this issue? Why don’t we boycott stores that use women objectively in advertising, or that buy products from factories and companies that employ child labor, or slave labor? How about companies that just treat their employees unfairly, period? Why don’t we boycott food companies that literally put poisonous chemicals inside our children’s cereal for the sake of ‘cheaper’? Or companies that actively support stem-cell research and donate to Planned Parenthood?
As Christians, are we really so narrow-focused that we care about issues passionately only when our personal safety is on the line?
As a mother, I really do understand the concerns. it is *concerning* to me that the rules are so loose that they allows pedophiles and abusers easy access to private places. My heart breaks for sexually-abused victims who will be forced to face these fears now in public, and for the little boys and girls who may suffer on the account of false ‘equality’. I don’t understand (and it makes me a little angry) how so many people see women and children’s rights in this case as a non-issue and are blatantly turning a blind eye.
However, we are not to be ruled by fear. Ever. (Is. 41:10, John 14:27). We are not guaranteed a ‘safe’ life, yet so many of us think that our safety as defined by God is a basic human right. Yet, it is not. John 16:33 states that we WILL face persecution and hardships- and in the scheme of things, sharing a bathroom is hardly persecution when there are still people in the world who don’t even have access to clean water.
Let me clarify though- although we should not fear, we can use wisdom. In fact, in James we are told to pray for wisdom and that the Lord will give wisdom to anyone who asks. So instead of being fearful of changes we disagree with, and fearful for our safety, we can exercise wisdom to keep us and our families safe. Not using Target’s bathrooms, for example, would be wise, or opting to use the single-stall ‘family’ option instead no matter where we are or the rules that are in place.
My main purpose in writing all this, I suppose, is to gently remind my family and friends that despite the corporations decision (which is truthfully its very own to make and nobody elses), Target is more then a person in a suit pushing a liberal agenda. It is the single mother who is running out of options, the college student just starting out, and yes, the manager who firmly believes in the company’s policy. When you talk about ‘hurting’ the company and the money they are making, what you are really saying is you want to cut a working members pay, you are hoping for lay-offs to happen and stores to close, you are boycotting for evil to occur to people who aren’t even the enemy.
These people still need love. They still need Christ. Sometimes, they need a genuine ‘How are you doing?’ when checking you out, or a smile when stocking baby clothes. The world can be deceptively kind, but it cannot do the work of Christ as we are intended to. Others cannot feel the Spirit of God if you are not there to give it to them.
If you feel convicted to never shop at Target again, then don’t. Please don’t think I am trying to get everyone to shop at Target and support their cause. Conviction is important, but that’s not my point. The point is our attitude behind our actions. This ‘boycotting’ stuff is just telling everyday people that they don’t matter- and confirming that Christians really are just a bunch of angry conservatives.
But go ahead- boycott Target. Don’t forget to stop by Starbucks on your way to Walmart to avoid the persecution of your personal rights. Just be informed on what you are supporting instead.