Safety, Fear and Boycotting

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.

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  1. I think the reason why people/Christians are focusing on Target right now is because the company has been very public about this policy. You might not otherwise go digging for something like this, but when you hear about it and decide to take action, that’s up to you.

    I was put off, disgusted, by this revelation. My 8-year-old daughter is at an age when I will let her run off to the bathroom by herself while I wait for her (or take her younger sister), but no way would I let her do this in a place where such a policy would encourage abuse. So, while I agree with some of your points, there are others to consider (and be smart about). I might shop there when I’m running errands by myself, but won’t be going with my children. Or if I wanted to try any clothes on in the dressing room!

    Growing up, my parents boycotted General Mills (and other companies) that supported Planned Parenthood. We don’t buy Girl Scouts cookies because they are funded largely by – ironically – the same company. I’m sure there are LOTS of other companies/businesses that support and/or are supported by questionable causes, and it’s up to the consumer to put his money where his mouth is, so to speak.

    1. Thanks, Karla! Always appreciate your input.

      I agree, using wisdom concerning your children and this policy is really common sense if we are to continue to shop there. It really is a shame!

      Generally, I don’t have a issue with boycotting- there are companies our family chooses not to purchase from for ethical reasons. However, my main pet peeve this time around was the attitude and the self-righteous remarks behind it. I do understand it’s a complicated issue, and too many people make it so black and white. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Well said. I don’t agree with all of this, but the sentiment is very well worded. If Christians are bothered this much by “unethical” business practices, there’s a lot more businesses they should be boycotting. Why are only the ones who are public with their policies the ones that Christians ‘target’ with their boycott?

    Another angle to consider: Trans people have been using their bathroom of choice before Target allowed it, and they have been doing this all over the country for years. The presence of laws do not, and have never, ensured, obedience (Prohibition, anyone?) Furthermore, and more importantly, not every person who is using the “other” bathroom is a pedophilic monster. Especially considering the societal norms and pressure to conform, it’s often a risk for trans men and women to use their preferred bathroom.

    I’m not asking you to agree with them. I’m asking you to keep that in mind and treat them like human beings. By all means, if there’s a problem, report it. But if there’s not a problem and they keep to themselves, what is it to you? Jesus are with prostitutes and tax collectors. Public bathrooms are, like it or not, a public space. Not using them is probably the best compromise if this is absolutely unacceptable to you. Hey, on the plus side: we women can accompany our small boys in there to keep an eye on them instead of waiting outside.

    Honestly, Target is a good company. While the conservative mass may not agree with their policies, they treat their employees and customers with respect. This may come as a shock, but Target’s policies are what they believe is in line with that standard.

    1. I sort of feel like you may have skim-read the post. My issue is not with the Trans people at all- in fact, although I didn’t specifically say this, my heart hurts for the issues they face. I realize we have been sharing bathrooms for a long time, and I don’t have a issue with that. My worry is for the non-trans people who will take advantage of the name ‘transgender’ and lie about their orientation for personal gain. I don’t think their are hordes of pedophiles lining up at the doors, of course, but it’s not a issue that should be blown off. ( ) < – I know, the website isn't one I normally get my news from but the story isn't one that should be ignored. If someone can really just call themselves 'transgender', even if they are not, and there's no accountability for their actions, I do think it's unacceptable.

      Target *Is* a good company, and I never said otherwise. 🙂 Just because my moral values don't line up with theirs doesn't mean they are evil and should be avoided at all costs. I think I explained that in my writing. I appreciate your input! Thanks for reading!

  3. I think you did well with the points you made. I guess Target is thinking more about the exception al case rather than the normal average person or family. If it’s the issue over transgender use of the bathroom I believe we should use the family restroom & stay safe. My concern is the person who deceptively uses the transgender to take advantage & possibly attack someone. I believe the world right now has gone downhill but it takes us living by example to raise up the standards. Hence boycotting is not the answer as you were exactly correct. I fear for children & mothers in these days. I believe you are so right about so much of what you said. Amen sister

  4. I come at this from a different perspective but agree with your premise that there is no guaranteed safety in our world. People have been attacked in public bathrooms for years. My children are not 28 and 31 and when they were little I knew they could be abused if allowed to go into a bathroom alone, this isn’t new and transgender bathrooms won’t make the situation any more dangerous.

    I have stores I wont do business with, its my choice because I dont like how the workers are treated or where they source their merchandise,(slave labor). If we want to boycott stores in the hopes they will fail.then we need to do our part to bring small businesses back to our communities. Currently I am working with my community to connect local growers with residents to eliminate to near food dessert I live in. I sm meeting with the mayor to improve safety for pedestrians to visit main street and organizing the local business owners to encourage entrepreneurs to open small businesses that can fill a need in the community.

    1. Hi Lois! Thanks for your insight and perspective. I agree with your point that public bathrooms have never really been ‘safe’- my only issue with the new rule is that it enables predators to hide behind the guise of transgender. You are absolutely right about pouring into our local communities. Love the issues you are addressing in your town and the changes you are making!

      1. Hi Veronica. I do see the potential for predators to take advantage but anyone who thought public bathroom were safe before this issue should have been more cautious as they were never safe.