Target. Disney. Bud Light. Starbucks. Lays. Ben & Jerry’s. The Dodgers. From where you shop to what you watch, eat, and drink to America’s favorite pastime — it seems like just about every major corporation is going horribly woke these days.
For years, as companies have chosen to take public stands in support of wicked behavior, Christians have responded with commercial boycotts. The reasoning is straightforward: If this business wants to endorse sin and loudly condone what God condemns, we are going to take our business elsewhere. Put differently, boycotts are simply “voting with your dollars.”
While the rationale behind a boycott is simple, determining when and how to employ a boycott in your personal life and shopping patterns requires discernment. Here are three questions to consider as you navigate this tricky topic.
1. Why and when should we boycott?
While the Bible doesn’t speak to boycotts in a “direct command” sort of manner, i.e., “Thou shall boycott a company when (fill in the blank),” it does provide practical principles and wisdom for how Christians must and should live in God’s good-but-fallen world.
Ephesians 5:11 instructs us to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” When it comes to boycotts, the fruitless deeds of darkness usually expose themselves through massive advertising campaigns — and then we are left determining how to respond.
Leaving a company, canceling an account, refusing to buy a product, or unsubscribing from a streaming service is a practical way to ensure that you aren’t financially partnering with a business that is actively promoting evil.
We should consider boycotting, then, as a matter of Christian principle: Ask yourself if you can, in good conscience, continue to give your money (which is really the Lord’s) to a company selling LGTB apparel to children that was made by a Satanist designer (aka Target)?
That’s the why of boycotting — Christians should do it to glorify God with their spending. But when should it be done?
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Christians should seriously consider a boycott when a business publicly supports an obviously evil cause. For example, when Bud Light chose to use Dylan Mulvaney, a man pretending to be a “girl” for the face of an advertising campaign, it’s undeniable that Bud Light is siding with one of the most horrific evils of our modern era — transgenderism.
Public support for abortion, “LGBT pride,” and/or Critical Race Theory (to just name a few) are other issues that should make Christians close their pocketbooks and look for new companies to do business with.
2. Does boycotting have any impact?
Yes, it does. For example, ever since it was uncovered that Disney is intentionally pushing the LGBT+ agenda on children, they have been bleeding business. Variety recently reported that “Disney+ shed another 4 million subscribers in the first three months of 2023, marking the streamer’s second consecutive quarterly drop after closing 2022 with its first-ever decline.” Newsweek reported that Target’s “popularity is at its lowest point since the metric first began being tracked, after facing a backlash over its LGBTQ+ Pride range, newly released figures show.” And Bud Light fell out of the “top 10 most popular beer brands in America.”
In our social media-driven age, boycotts are more effective than ever. If you decide to boycott a company, make sure to let them know why you are choosing to take your business elsewhere and encourage the millions of other Christians in the country to consider doing the same.
3. What if all my favorite products and services are woke?
There is some validity to this concern; if you dig deep enough into just about any major corporation, you will find them supporting something wicked. This is why it is wise to consider starting with the businesses that are most openly supporting and normalizing nation-destroying, high-handed sins, like transgenderism.
But this concern is also overinflated. As our country becomes increasingly polarized, new businesses emerge almost every day to offer the same services as woke companies, but without the anti-Christian agenda.
Consider starting small. If you realize that your favorite coffee brand is now entirely on board with the radical LGBT agenda, find a new coffee company that is neutral at worst, or even explicitly Christian at best, like Reformation Coffee. If your credit card company is going woke, consider taking your financial dealings to a local bank run by individuals you can get to know and trust.
Additionally, keep your eye on the “alternative platforms” space. There are organizations out there working to build a “parallel economy” where Christians and patriots can conduct all of their commerce free from the woke agenda.
Finally, when it comes to Christian boycotts, remember to leave room for fellow believers to disagree on what reaches the threshold for triggering a boycott. In a helpful article for Ligonier Ministries, Robert Rothwell argues that “it is one thing to stand strong on what God defines as sin, but it is another to say this requires us to boycott any business that is involved tangentially with sin.”
He’s right — which is why deciding when and how to boycott requires both prudence and charity. Still, there is no question that it is wise and right to use peaceful economic power to punish companies that proudly support sin. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
When you see a business calling evil “good” — and plastering that evil all over their product — “woe” will indeed come upon them. Of course, when evil CEOs and advertising executives stand before God in the final judgment, the loss of their business will be the least of their concerns. But remember, Christians will give an account for every word we speak, and penny we spend, as well.
So strive to be good and faithful stewards of all that God has given you, even if that means you have to stop drinking your favorite coffee or shopping at your favorite retailer. Boycott now, if need be, for the sake of being found faithful then. For truly, what does it profit a man to gain all of his favorite consumer brands yet lose his soul?
Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center.
William Wolfe is a visiting fellow with the Center for Renewing America. He served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe