Should Christians Boycott

Companies that Support Homosexual Policies?

By Dillon Burroughs

One Christian organization recently declared a boycott of Starbucks due to the company's homosexual-friendly policy, adding it to its list of Amazon, Nike, and other corporations who hold similar policies. Is this something Christians should support?

The Bible says very little regarding the issue of boycotting businesses. However, two key biblical passages are relevant to this discussion. First, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world."

Paul was clear that the only way to avoid immorality in this world would be to leave it. His focus was that Christians would not partner (or even eat) with a person who claims to be a Christian yet lives contrary to the message of Christ. The conclusion would seem to be that the only way to adequately avoid businesses that include practices that oppose our faith would be to leave this world completely. Since this is the case, boycotting a particular non-Christian company over its policy does not appear to be the direct command of Scripture.

A second passage relevant to this question is found in Romans 14:5-12. There Paul teaches:
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Rather than providing a detailed list of policies regarding every detail of life, Paul taught there are some areas that are a matter of conscience. In other words, if God's Word has not clearly spoken on the issue, each person has the ability to seek God's will and "be fully convinced in his own mind."

This "matter of conscience" principle fits the issue of boycotting well for the Christian. Some Christians feel very strongly about not supporting a business due to particular social issues and should be free to take their business elsewhere. Yet other Christians realize that the only way to consistently avoid all areas of concern would require leaving this world and therefore choose to focus their attention on other matters.

Again, this is not solely a matter of theology, but the application of theology. Two Christians may share the same belief on an issue, yet feel led to apply the same belief in two different ways. Each person should "be fully convinced in his own mind" knowing that we must "give an account" of ourselves before God for the choices we make in this life.

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Published on 3-18-12