In response to new laws and countermeasures related to restroom usage and gender identity, Target has taken a stand saying it will allow customers and employees to use restrooms that best relate to one’s perceived gender. In other words, biological males who identify as women can be in the restroom with women and vice versa.
Social media lit up with opinions on both ends of the spectrum. From the side I’m on, one social call to action has stood above the rest: Boycott. The American Family Association’s online petition to boycott Target has garnered nearly 600,000 signatures, and the petition continues to circulate on social media.
I understand the sentiment and appeal of such an action. Hit board members where it hurts – their wallets. Stand up for truth. Click a few petition links and play a part in being the salt of the earth. It sounds like an easy and impactful way to take a stand, but is boycotting a corporation the best way to reflect Christ in light of the issues at stake? I worry that a strategy of cultural engagement centered around boycotts is doomed to undermine the true effectiveness of biblical evangelism.
Let’s Focus on the Real Problem
Boycotting typically focuses its efforts on reducing the ripple effects of the real problem. Think of it like this: You have a leak in your basement. Instead of fixing the dripping pipe, the plumber sets up various containers and buckets to contain it. But it’s only a provisional fix. Because the source of your leak hasn’t been addressed, your new bucket will eventually fill again. The plumber has only disguised the root problem.
Similarly, boycotts may make a statement, but often fail to trigger lasting change. We see the problem, in this ...1