Should We Boycott Businesses?

Question:

“Some in our congregation are asking us to boycott a couple of businesses in our area because their new non-discrimination policies regarding homosexuals. Some in the church here say they won’t go along with the boycott; others think everyone should participate. What do you think we should do regarding this issue?”

Answer:

Any action of the local church, as such, beyond what is specifically taught in the Bible, creates many problems. Nothing is said in the Scriptures about boycotting any businesses, so whatever we do in that area becomes a matter of human judgment. Yes, it is true that we are given the commands: “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22; New American Standard Bible) and “do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). But does that give anyone in the church the right to decide for a local congregation, who should be boycotted and who should not? This is where the problems arise. To answer your question, I would not encourage a congregation to organize a boycott because it usually divides the body of Christ.

Having said that, there are additional issues to consider. What message and example would the church be presenting to the community and the people/businesses being boycotted against? What is the church’s core (true) motivation for boycotting? If the church boycotts a company (in the name of Christ) on the basis of one offense, opinion, cause, scheme, policy or stance, can it make a righteous, moral distinction about which business to boycott next (or not to boycott)? In order to remain consistent, will the congregation wind up boycotting everyone?

And what exactly is the church’s goal? What is it hoping to accomplish? All these considerations need serious prayer and discernment. I would recommend that you check out and consider this blog post by Shawn: Boycotting: An Unnecessary Evil. I believe his perspective is a wise and relevant contribution to this discussion. Thanks for your question!

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