Outrage over Ford Motor Co.

There has been quite a bit of buzz in Christian news about Ford Motor Company openly supporting homosexuals. Calls have been made to boycott Ford because of this.

I wonder if these activists are consistent and are using computers which aren’t “tainted” with Microsoft or Apple’s operating systems. I hope they don’t use Google, clean with Clorox, drink Pepsi products, or use any medicine developed at Eli Lilly. All these companies and more rank right up there with Ford.

And this is why boycotts are stupid. Carry on with them if you want to, but if you are going to be consistent (and therefore not a hypocrite), you better be using custom-designed computers hooked up to your own private internet service provider, accessing your own custom-designed internet. You won’t be able to publicize your boycott online, but you’ll be able to sleep better at night knowing you have not compromised your position in the slightest. But just to be safe, you better be mining your own ore, creating your own plastics, and so on.

I cannot understate how important consistency is in something like this. Don’t cry out against one company while others which you are supporting with your own money are doing the same thing. Respond to them all, or respond to none of them. Just. Be. Consistent.

4 thoughts on “Outrage over Ford Motor Co.”

  1. Well put. I concur.

    And I just now noticed the new design (since I usually read your blogs by e-mail, unless I have something to say). I like it very much.

  2. “Consistency,” as you define it is hardly essential to taking a social stand against active promotion of or subsidy for immoral conduct. Under similar logic, “consistency” would have prevented Jesus from healing anyone because He did not heal everyone. A more modern example: traffic police would be prohibited by consistency from apprehending any “speeder” unless they could catch all of them in a dragnet.

    The monetary support argument does not transform this, either. Gains on social ethical issues (or virtually any significant societal change, including the liberal push to legitimize homosexual “marriage”) are made incrementally. Just as the UAW strikes only one carmaker at a time or liberal social activists focus on a particular policy or a particular business to affect a “pattern” of change or to set new precidents, conservatives target specific, high-profile, vulnerable businesses to uphold traditional and biblical standards. The alternatives are (a) do nothing while culture slides further into the abyss ; (b) engage in even less effective withdrawal from whole segments of society (as you suggest is the only “consistent” alternative) or (c) create alternative service providers for essential services. Option (a) forces conservatives to abdicate their duty to be “salt and light” in the World. Option (c) is wholly impractical when discussing essential, capital-intensive products and services. Option (b) dilutes the financial strength and focus of the boycotters. Incremental gains are one company and one policy at a time–just like Christian converts are made one-at-a-time.

    In fact, your “consistency” argument is one that many athiests use to indict God. It ought to be obvious that God does not deal with all on a “consistent” basis in that His temporal blessings and punishments are not allocated equally or even in strict accordance with articulated principles.

  3. If consistency is not enough for a Christian, then it can simply be asked: Is there any precedent for “Christian boycotts” in the Bible? If there is not, then that is not how we are to be salt and light.

    Is there any precedent for “changing society incrementally” apart from evangelism and discipling in the Bible? If there is not, then that is not how we are to be salt and light.

    In fact, I cannot think of any instance where we are told to not conduct business with unbelievers. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be too many ways to use our money, as believers. To say, “We can do business with this company–owned by unbelievers but not “pro-homosexuality”–but not this other one–owned by unbelievers but are “pro-homosexuality”–is to create a division among sinners that doesn’t exist in the Bible.

    Homosexuality or the support thereof isn’t the end-all, be-all sin. We might as well boycott the government for containing liars–of which all men are. The sin is no better or worse than that of homosexuality, but will we see outrage over it? Hardly. But God is equally displeased with the liar and the homosexual. Why aren’t we?

  4. Certainly there is no specific, positive teaching on boycotts in the Bible. Nor is there any specific prohibition on boycotts or social action to affect cultural change in line with Biblical values and teachings.

    However, a number of Biblical teachings are predicated on grounds analogous to boycotts of organizations hostile to Christian moral values. For example:

    Luke 10:10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11’Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

    Eph 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

    Titus 3:10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.

    Matthew 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

    Each of these examples involves “shunningâ€? or keeping away from unrepentant and hostile elements.

    And Jesus’s own example of cleansing the Temple (a far more harsh remedy than merely boycotting an offensive or offending business) suggests that when economics and Biblical morality interface, dramatic moral stands ARE, in fact, being “salt and lightâ€? in the World.

    Although the New Testament says precious little about how Christians are to manage cultural hegemony (its ethical teachings are mostly focused on the immediate struggles of a small, marginal and even heavily persecuted Church), the principles and accepted tactics involved in transforming cultural structures to conform with Christian values most certainly have strong precedents.

    Historically, the Church has sanctioned boycotts for all sorts of moral reasons. Most prominently in the American experience are the non-violent boycotts of the struggle for racial justice (e.g. the Montgomery Bus Boycott). Thus, while the strict legalist cannot find a “proof-textâ€? in support of boycotts as a legitimate Christian “swordâ€? to wield in the ongoing battle “against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world.â€? See Eph. 6:12.

    Three more passages illuminate the parameters of social action:

    Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    2 Cor 6:16 We are the temple of the living God. God has said, “I will live with them. I will walk among them. I will be their God. And they will be my people.”––(Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27)
    17 “So come out from among them
    and be separate,
    says the Lord.
    Do not touch anything that is not pure and clean.
    Then I will receive you.” ––(Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34,41)

    I Cor 8:9 But be careful how you use your freedom. Be sure it doesn’t trip up someone who is weaker than you.

    Thus, Christian social action at a minimum must: (a) not conform us to the World; (b) be within the will of God; (c) honor God through Holy separation from the impure and unclean; and (d) not mislead the weak into sin.

    Although it is foreseeable that any tactic of the Church could be misused in violation of these principles, nothing in the practice of pattern boycotts is an inherent violation of any of them.

    Sorry about the length, but your response deserved a thoughtful rejoinder.

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