From time to time the call to boycott arises in our Christian culture. Most recently, the call to “Boycott Disney” was resounding throughout the Facebook landscape after the announcement was made that there would be a “homosexual moment” in Beauty and the Beast—before we even knew just what that meant. Was the call premature? Did it matter just what that “homosexual moment” included, or was the fact that there was any hint of homosexuality enough to justify the ringing of the boycott bell?
I don’t really have an answer for these questions, but I think perhaps we might want to consider that, while I am sure there is a place for boycotting, it may not be our best response in general. It might possibly be better to say “I am not (or we are not) going to see X movie, because I don’t think it’s good for my soul and/or that it would be pleasing to God.” That sounds a lot more humble than, “I’m going to boycott.” Boycotting can sound so arrogant. It carries with it the idea of punishment—that “I want to hurt this company because I think they need to be put back in their place or taught a lesson…and I am the one to do so, and am calling everyone else to join me in this crusade.” It may only be a matter of semantics. Maybe your actions are the same either way, but the way your actions will be heard by those around you can be greatly affected by the semantics. One invites others into an open discussion of why, the other makes people feel scolded and defensive.
The Bible says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1). I would just suggest that “boycott” is a harsh word, a fighting word, and maybe there are more effective ways to unleash your inner-activist than to go around crying out “Everyone boycott!”
Food for thought, anyway.
On that note, I saw this video and it made me laugh. It’s a bit irreverent, perhaps, but it pokes some good fun at our boycotting, if we can laugh at ourselves a little. (I readily confess, that’s not always easy for me.) And, while this is very tongue-in-cheek, it might also give us a little insight into how our boycotting is perceived by the outside world. That’s not to say that we use their perception as a compass to point us true North—we live to please God and God alone—but that maybe we think about how our semantics and our ways of following our convictions might actually be hindering how others receive Christ in us.
Again, maybe it’s not our convictions or even our behavior that is the problem here, but maybe it’s the way we choose to communicate our convictions and behavior. Even Paul himself was willing to “become all things to all men so that” he might “win some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Our first call is to be holy, to be obedient to God out of our love for Him. Our second is really to do all we can (within the arena of obedience) to win people to Christ. This means, we need to be careful not get in the way of the gospel of Christ, even with our “obedience.” What do I mean by that? I would say the Pharisees were those who were obedient such that their “holiness” and “obedience” got in the way of Christ and the gospel. Don’t be like them.
Reasons to ban every movie