Skip to comments.Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?
Posted on 04/02/2013 8:08:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
A respected pro-family organization announced a boycott of Starbucks coffee. The group, which supports legal protection for traditional marriage, launched the "Dump Starbucks" campaign after a national board meeting in which the Seattle-based coffee company mentioned support for same-sex marriage as a core value of the company. Some Christians are wondering whether we ought to join in the boycott. I say no.
It's not that I'm saying a boycott in and of itself is always evil or wrong. It's just that, in this case (and in many like it) a boycott exposes us to all of our worst tendencies. Christians are tempted, again and again, to fight like the devil to please the Lord.
A boycott is a display of power, particularly of economic power. The boycott shows a corporation (or government or service provider) that the aggrieved party can hurt the company, by depriving it of revenue. The boycott, if it's successful, eventually causes the powers-that-be to yield, conceding that they need the money of the boycott participants more than they need whatever cause they were supporting. It is a contest of who has more buying power, and thus is of more value to the company. We lose that argument.
The argument behind a boycott assumes that the "rightness" of a marriage definition is constituted by a majority with power. Isn't that precisely what we're arguing against? Our beliefs about marriage aren't the way they are because we are in a majority. As a matter of fact, we must concede that we are in a tiny minority in contemporary American society, if we define marriage the way the Bible does, as a sexually-exclusive, permanent one-flesh union.
Moreover, is this kind of economic power context really how we're going to engage our neighbors with a discussion about the meaning and mystery of marriage? Do such measures actually persuade at the level such decisions are actually made: the moral imagination? I doubt it.
I'm all for protecting marriage in law and in culture, and I'm for that partly because I believe it is necessary for human flourishing for all people, believers and non-believers alike. But there's a way to do so that recognizes the resilience of marriage as a creation institution and that rests in the sovereignty of God over his universe.
Those who are scared of losing something are those who seem frantic or shrill or outraged. Those who are fearful resort to Gentile tactics of lording over others with political majorities or economic power. The winners, on the other hand, are able to take a longer view. We're able to grieve when our neighbors seek to copy marriage without the most basic thing that makes marriage work: the mystery of male and female as one-flesh.
But we don't persuade our neighbors by mimicking their angry power-protests. We persuade them by holding fast to the gospel, by explaining our increasingly odd view of marriage, and by serving the world and our neighbors around us, as our Lord does, with a towel and a foot-bucket.
We won't win this argument by bringing corporations to the ground in surrender. We'll engage this argument, first of all, by prompting our friends and neighbors to wonder why we don't divorce each other, and why we don't split up when a spouse loses his job or loses her health. We'll engage this argument when we have a more exalted, and more mysterious, view of sexuality than those who see human persons as animals or machines. And, most of all, we'll engage this argument when we proclaim the meaning behind marriage: the covenant union of Christ and his church.
Fear can lead us to cower and to hide a view of marriage that seems archaic and antiquated. That's why so many evangelical Christians have already surrendered, in their own lives, on such questions as round-the-clock daycare or a therapeutic view of divorce. But fear can also lead us to a kind of enraged impotence, where our boycotts and campaigns are really just one more way of saying, "I'm important; listen to me." Marriage is too important for that.
A Roman governor thought Jesus was weak when he refused to use imperial means of resistance. But Jesus' refusal to fight meant just the opposite of what Pilate assumed. "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting," Jesus said (Jn. 18:36).
Let others fight Mammon with Mammon. Let's struggle against principalities and powers with the One thing they fear: a word of faithful witness that doesn't blink before power, but doesn't seek to imitate it either. With the confidence of those who have been vindicated by the resurrection of Christ, we don't need to be vindicated by the culture. That ought to free us to speak openly about what we believe, but with the gentleness of those who have nothing to prove. Let's not boycott our neighbors. Let's not picket or scream or bellow. Let's offer a cup of cold water, or maybe even a grande skinny vanilla latte, in Jesus' name.
Yes. Next question.
RESPONSE FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER OF THE AMERICAN FAMILY RADIO NETWORK
Respectfully, I Believe Dr. Moore Is Just Wrong About Boycotts
Moore accuses Christians who would participate in a boycott of Starbucks as, “exposing our worst tendencies..”, and of, “fighting like the devil to please the Lord.” I suggest that Dr. Moore feels this way because he does not understand the total motivation for doing a boycott.
A boycott, in Dr. Moore’s understanding, is nothing more than a battle of economic power. He sees using the tool of a boycott as a way of simply hurting the company economically as a method of bullying them into adopting “our” view. If we can muscle them with enough economic power to force them to stop what they’re doing, that makes us the majority. So we are forcing them to adopt our “majority” view. That’s his first mistake. He says that, “a boycott assumes that the rightness of a marriage definition is constituted by a majority with power .”, since we are hammering that point away as the only right way to believe by our attempt to hurt them by our place in the “supposed” majority with economic power.
I will concede that if we were to boycott, we would be using the tool of economic strength to make a point. But not the point that Dr. Moore says we are trying to make.
I see a greater good that is done toward the members of the Christian community through the information and execution of a boycott. And that greater good is far more desirable than “hurting the company.” As a Christian, I shouldn’t have the desire to “hurt (a) company” with a boycott or anything else. As a follower of God’s Word, I am to do good to those who despise me and I’m to love my enemies. A desire to simply “hurt” a company would be undesirable as a Christian.
However, I see the greater good as informing Christian consumers about trying to do something better with their economic “power” than to enable a company with the power to accomplish something that we Christians would disagree with.
We all lament the distasteful and sometimes even ungodly way our tax dollars are spent. None of us would want our tax dollars to be used to pay for abortions. But what can you do about tax appropriation other than use the fear of the ballot box to either elect someone else or motivate currently elected officials to do differently? But that is exactly what we do and how we do it. And it is right to do so! That’s the same kind of “muscle” in a boycott.
A boycott gives the consumer the personal power they could never exercise with their taxes; the ability to control the influence of their financial power!
If I am a believer in the biblical definition and symbolism of traditional/natural marriage, then I don’t want any of my money to help pay for the promotion and legalization of same-sex marriage! IF a company is using their profits from retail sales to promote an ungodly ideal, then it is a great benefit to me to know about it! Why? So I can give my financial resources to someone else who won’t use my dollars to promote and support ungodly causes!
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Why not just let people make their own, individual decisions instead of telling people what to do?
No we should just sit quietly and seek only to please our liberal masters.
Absolutely they should.
For me it is not a question as there are none anywhere near and the price would have kept me away anyway.
I don’t go there any more for coffee.
Yup, already have.
Shove it, bucks....you evidently like that sort of thing anyway.
As I skimmed over the words to avoid reading the article, I’m simply reminded that Starbucks has terrible coffee. That is enough to cause me to avoid it.
How is JC Penny doing these days?
I don’t even drink coffee. But why send your enemies money?
Never went to Starbucks.Yesterday ordered a large black coffee at Dunkin Donuts.The voice said”A large Black Coffee”I said yes.The voice said “Do you want that black”:)
I gather, you don’t buy things online at Amazon either...
RE: The voice saidA large Black CoffeeI said yes.The voice said Do you want that black:)
If were you, I’d ask him -— What Year was the War of 1812?
Or what was the color of The Lone Ranger’s White Horse?
There are other places to shop online.
I have no problem with people wanting to boycott businesses. Unfortunately, nearly all of corporate America is tied in with political correctness and socialism.
My own pet peeve is the deluge of “holiday” ads at Christmastime. These ads actively substitute the word “holiday” for Christmas, repeating it over and over and over. The redundancy is appalling. It’s in your face. But they all do it now. I mute the ads during football for over a month. If I want to boycott, there is almost no one to buy gifts from.
Corporate America is a huge part of the socialist beast.
Yep. I boycott everything and everyone who aids and abets the take-down of this country.
I don’t go to Starbucks anyway. Overpriced weak coffee.
I went to one of his websites and cannot believe anything negative of him but I still wonder where "Gentile tactics" came from.
Lording it over others (SUCH an appropriate expression) is TRULY a human trait. Don't you think?
Am I wrong?
Agreed...you don’t need Starbucks. Christians must start acting in unison as a matter of self protection. The progressives (socialists and communists) are coming after us. For awhile they will attempt to legally drive us to fight civil lawsuits...but shortly...the Christian recognition of sin will be established to be a violation of civil rights “law”.
In the old USSR Christians could be locked up in mental wards because of their “delusions”. You know...things like belief in Christ.
Don’t think it won’t happen here...in small and large ways it’s already begun.
The Starbucks and Hollywood stars who mock and marginalize us must be made to pay.
I read that a lot on Free Republic. What's wrong with their coffee? I quite like it. I drink very strong coffee and their coffees have loads of flavor. I doubt they'd be as popular as they are if they had terrible coffee.
Maybe you should try boycotting the passage of time and changing social mores?
If STBX is serious, I want them to remove all their shops from Turkey, France, Germany, Russian, all of Central and South America. India, Italy, China, South Korea......plus all the other countries they are in who openly oppose “so called homosexual marriage” or stop bic#ing about the USA.
I dunno about Starbucks, but if they don’t want me as a customer, fine. I just had a cup of Caribou coffee anyway.
Are you old enough to remember when there were no Starbucks and when coffee shops were for cheap, quick, mediocre meals?
I am that old. I eschewed Starbucks for a long time but I go there now occasionally. Their coffee cake is a treasure! YUM!
Imagine, paying $2.50 for a cup of coffee. Wow.
Starbucks are EVERYWHERE here in California....it seems.
True, their coffee is very good. Like you said, they wouldn’t be very successful if people didn’t like/buy their product. I enjoy their coffee myself.
Boycotts themselves are pretty outdated in a corporate age.
Hehehehehhe Another one.I walk into a store and say I want a pack of gum.They say “What kind”I say any kind.They proceed to show me different gums and I say it doesn’t matter.They say Lady you have to tell me what kind.The manager comes out grabs a pack of gum and hands it to me:)True story.
“Boycott” implies that you have been patronizing them, stopped for political/policy effect and then would go back if they changed course.
I would argue that any Christian who is paying attention would either have not patronized them at any time or would have already stopped by now and will not patronize or go back ever.
stay away from forever: yes
Sorry Pastor, but I disagree. In the past I have patronized Starbucks but will do so no longer. I am not trying to destroy the corporation. However, I choose not to support an organization that not only works against my most sacred beliefs, but also openly tells me that it does not want my business or investment dollars. Being a Christian means we are called to forgive. But Starbucks has not asked our forgiveness. And we are not required to subsidize our own persecution. And believe me, sooner rather than later, Christians who refuse to endorse same-sex “marriage” will be subjected to the draconian punishments of an increasingly totalitarian state. In formerly free countries like Canada and the UK, this has already happened.
Don’t know any capital “C” Christians that patronize Starbucks in the first place.
I guess I already do, bought one of their coffees once, didn’t like it, and never went back.
“If I am a believer in the biblical definition and symbolism of traditional/natural marriage, then I dont want any of my money to help pay for the promotion and legalization of same-sex marriage! IF a company is using their profits from retail sales to promote an ungodly ideal, then it is a great benefit to me to know about it! Why? So I can give my financial resources to someone else who wont use my dollars to promote and support ungodly causes!”
I already boycott them because I brew my own coffee, which is actually drinkable because I don’t used burned coffee beans, and costs $.04 to brew per cup instead of paying $4.00 for what is the worst coffee available on the market.
I boycott them cause their coffee sucks.dunkin donuts is better and fourbucks put out a tasteless ad after 911 saying collapse into coolness or some bs but the image was of two of their cups in the grass. The grass was square so they looked like buildings.the cups were much taller and then they had a butterfly heading towards one and a dragonfly heading into the other at the same angles the planes hit the towers.
Like what type of Health Insurance that they buy, or weather they want to pay for other peoples access to abortion drugs and contraception?
If we as Conservatives continue to purchase from companies that are openly hostile to your political and personal beliefs than we are stupid. It is more than time that we start to punish our enemies at least as much as the vocal liberal homosexual minority does.
They are the bigots! They are the extremists!
Why not stand by and let you country sink? You doing a good job.
I guess the idea of one makes people feel good...except for the employees of course
I’ve been on the bandwagon for the last three years. Not one cent from me.
...another in a long line of lukewarm 21st Century ‘pastors’...
Sorry. Dr. Moore. I'll multitask. Why can't you?
I boycott Starbucks because their coffee is expensive and tastes like crap!
I like strong (meaning hypertension levels of caffeine) and the more you roast the bean, the stronger it tastes but the less caffeine it has.
I dislike their coffee because it tastes burnt to me. Second only to the pretentious menu system. Venti, yeah wonderful, what’s the Italian word for big cup strong caffeine and not burnt. Maybe if I knew it, I could get a decent cup of coffee there.
We have a Keurig machine which has pods. Seems like a good idea when you buy it and it has an unlimited number of types of pods including teas but it’s incredibly expensive when you use it. I’ve found the Donut house coffee gives me a sufficient amount of chest pain to know it’s working. Surprise, there are Starbuck pods and they are nasty and I loved my dad’s black gang coffee which could strip an engine’s grease.
“I dont used burned coffee beans,”
There’s one inside the local Target, where I go for catfood and litter. The place smells like burnt coffee! Yuck! When I get coffee, I go to the Speedway station. Great coffee! Several blends. And for $1.49, I get more than I can drink.
If you haven’t been boycotting this despicable company for several years now, you’ll never get it.
Spoken like someone who likes hi mocha vente more than his moral compass.
Financing the enemy isn't the brightest strategy...
Unfortunately, faculty at some of the Baptist and Evangelical theological seminaries are lukewarm these days. Going the same way as most of the other seminaries, I’m afraid.
It’s not as if boycotting is an act of violence, as he almost seems to suggest.