What would Jesus boycott? Or would he even bother? Last week, I asked readers their opinions about the boycott of the Walt Disney Company and its affiliates, which began in 1997, especially in light of the apparent resurgence of family-friendly, faith-oriented films coming from Disney's family of film studios.
A handful of responses suggested the boycott should continue. "Boycotting is a natural Christian response to those people and practices which do not glorify God," said Merrellee Moore, quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:22 ("Abstain from all appearance of evil") and Proverbs 4:27 ("remove thy foot from evil"). "How else are we to get it through their thick skulls?" asked Kim Cairns. "If more people would boycott we could change the entertainment industry."
An overwhelming majority of respondents, however, believed that boycotts don't ultimately win the target over—or even hurt the cause. "Our salt loses its flavor and our lights grow dim as we separate ourselves from the rest of the world," says Cory Goode, who calls the Disney boycott "ridiculous and shameful." Laura Adair agrees: "Any attempt to force non-Christians to act like Christians is unbiblical and ridiculous."
Derek Napoleon wrote in with a story about how his Southern Baptist congregation was asked to boycott a Borders bookstore, but refused. Instead, they discovered their local Borders regularly brings in local musicians and speakers. "So we took our Christian band and played Christian music. … We now have a good relationship with the store's PR rep. and have taken the gospel to Borders a few times now," Napoleon reports. "By openly picketing or boycotting, we become hostile in their eyes. Instead of opening doors for grace, we are slamming them shut, we make enemies ...1