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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is That "Christian"?

See? This is the kind of thing I avoid and despise because this is the kind of thing that 1) I do not believe Christians are called to and 2) this is the kind of thing about which I am complaining today from the other side.

Apparently American Family Association has called for a boycott of Target to coerce them to make sure that guys who think they're girls use men's bathrooms and girls who think they're guys use women's bathrooms. Well, look, you can find this right here in the pages of your Bible. "Thou shalt use the privy of thy birth." Right there in Hezekiah 3. Look it up!

No, seriously, it's not in there. Further, when Jesus lived in sinful Israel under decadent Rome, He commanded "Boycott those evil Romans wherever you can so we can hurt them in the pocketbook until they surrender to our superior moral code" ... not once. He did say, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17) He did say, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." (Luke 6:27-28) But these don't even begin to approach "Organize a boycott against those you classify as evil."

Worse, it is precisely the methods used by the other side. I am standing here saying, "You guys go ahead and sin all you want, but do not require it of me. Leave me to obey my God. I'll leave you to answer to Him on your own." They say, "You will surrender your free exercise of religion and your beliefs and agree, nay, embrace the sin we endorse or suffer the consequences!" I hate that idea. And yet, here we have large numbers of people jumping on the "American Family Association" bandwagon expecting to coerce Target to be their kind of moral. Because if they can force Target to knuckle under, they'll make it a more godly organization and make ours a more Christian world.

Really? Is that what we're called to do? Can you find a New Testament example of that anywhere? I ask for a New Testament example because there are Old Testament examples ... based on the theocratic nation of Israel. Israel ceased to be a theocracy and we've never been one. So what makes us think that it's our job to make the world a place more aligned to our way of thinking? Suggest it? Sure. Argue it? Yes. Live it? Absolutely. But force it? On what basis? Yet here we have the USA Today assuring us that "a conservative Christian activist group" is doing this. What has "Christian" to do with this? In what way is this following Christ? And when did the failure of rational thinking ("I was born this gender, but I feel like I'm that gender, so you need to let me be that gender" as if that's rational, healthy, or real) become an issue of Christianity? Because if that's what we're supposed to address, there is a lot of boycotting to get onto. Perhaps starting with the American Family Association. Can we take away their "conservative Christian" card?

Look, I'm not in favor of allowing perverts who decide "I can say I feel like I'm a woman and get into the ladies' bathroom" to get into the ladies' bathroom. (Note that this is not about "transgender". I don't think "transgender", regardless of how irrational I consider that condition to be, is the "sneak into the other bathroom to get a peak" kind of issue.) I consider it a safety and security issue for my wife and children. So I might choose not to go to a place that encourages that kind of possible outcome. But it isn't a "Christian" or moral issue. I'm not in favor of redefining marriage to include "what we think it is" (currently "It should include two people of the same gender but not more than two or less than two (other forms of perversion)."), but, again, that is not a "Christian" or moral issue, either. These two are other issues. Lumping them into "Christian" is a disservice to Christ and to Christianity. So, please, for those of you who classify yourselves as Christian and wish to coerce others to your point of view, leave me out. The Gospel that I understand from Scripture is "saved by grace through faith in Christ" (Eph 2:8-9), not "coerced to be more moral", and the message of the Bible is that of the exchanged life -- my dead one for His live one (Gal 2:20) -- not a more moral existence by whatever means we can accomplish it. That would simply produce a less foul-smelling corpse (Eph 2:1-3). The message of the Cross is that we are sinners in need of salvation and Christ died and rose again for that purpose. Repent and believe. Not "be a better person". Now, if you'd like to bless Target, pray for them. You know, like Jesus said.


Craig said...

This is interesting because I had pretty much decided that I was not going to shop at Target due to this policy. I'm not a huge Target shopper anyway and my choice won't make a dent in their bottom line. But I feel like I can legitimately make the decision where I spend my money and what I support by doing so.

You've caused me to rethink that position at least to some degree, and it doesn't hurt that when I move I won't have a Target close enough to even consider for regular shopping.

I do sympathize with your position from the perspective of acknowledging that corporations are not christian and that non Christians will behave like non Christians. I further sympathize with your perspective that forcing them to change an outward behavior without and inward change is simply doing what "they" do in forcing their standards of behavior on others.

Thanks for the food for thought, you're usually pretty good at that.

Stan said...

As I said, I may not shop there. I may not shop there as a matter of safety for my wife and daughters and granddaughters. Like you, I'm pretty sure that my pennies won't make a dent in their bottom line. And you understood correctly that I don't believe it is my job to make a non-Christian corporation act morally. On the other hand, I don't consider this a question of Christian morality. Consider a (fake) Walmart policy. "We will treat anyone as they think they are. Therefore, if a customer comes in claiming to be Napoleon Bonaparte, he (or she) will be treated as the Emperor." I'd consider it nuts. Maybe even unsafe. (What if he thinks he's Hitler?) But not a moral problem. And I'd likely not go to Walmart, either.

Marshall Art said...

How about 2 Corinthians 6:14? I think that might apply.

Stan. I feel compelled to ask you if there is any scenario in which you would feel it "your job" to influence anyone toward righteous behavior? A boycott is unlikely to do much good no simply because it would require so many people to get on board. How many actually care enough to deprive themselves of that which Target provides in order to hope to have an effect?

These days, it is near impossible to find a national chain that does not support the immoral agendas of those like the LGBT activists. And then, should you find one, it is likely they support some other issue to which you might oppose.

Getting back to "righteous" behaviors, to the best of my ability to understand what that means, I would be thrilled to know that I had played any role in someone's conversion to God. Indeed, I pray that He would use me to that end. Isn't that what Paul, Peter, James and others were doing in their ministries? Were they not the means by which God drew others to Himself?

To whatever extent a boycott succeeds or fails to alter corporate policy, they also serve to affirm a way of thinking that, at least in this case, is morally superior to that of affirming sexual confusion as normal. It affirms that the policy is based on a lie and demonstrates that not all are willing to swallow the lie. That gives others strength and/or hope.

I believe it is our job, not to "make" people act morally, but to encourage, persuade or influence them to do so, for their sake, for God's sake and for the benefit of all.

Stan said...

Let's see ... 2 Corinthians ... wait ... ah, here it is. "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14) Umm, nope, not seeing it. In fact, Paul specifically says the opposite. "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." (1 Cor 5:9-10) So we are not commanded to disassociate ourselves from sinners (and there is nothing in that text that suggests we're supposed to make them better people, either.)

I am disappointed with your question, "if there is any scenario in which you would feel it 'your job' to influence anyone toward righteous behavior?" Did I not say, "So what makes us think that it's our job to make the world a place more aligned to our way of thinking? Suggest it? Sure. Argue it? Yes. Live it? Absolutely." In what scenario would I feel it's incumbent upon me to influence others toward righteous behavior? All scenarios. It's force that I referenced. Coercion. Since I already said I favored suggesting moral behavior, arguing for moral behavior, and modeling moral behavior, I have to assume that, in fact, you and I are in full agreement on this.

Marshall Art said...

I think we are, but still, do you consider a boycott "force". It only puts the merchant in the position of making a choice at worst...either to continue or to reconsider a policy if you want my/our business. But we do that all the time based on other criteria, such as price, quality, customer service, overall cleanliness of the store, proximity to our location, etc. On most of those issues, the store is already compliant with the whims of the consumer. Why not also on this issue? We can debate the wisdom of the policy later, but until it is changed...

Stan said...

"do you consider a boycott "force". It only puts the merchant in the position of making a choice"

Let's consider it. The guy with the gun says, "Your money or your life." You have a choice. The blackmailer says, "Pay up or I'll tell everyone what you did." You have a choice. An organized boycott (as opposed to a guy who says, "I'm not going to spend my money there"*) says, "Change your position or lose a lot of money." I don't see the difference. Seems like force, coercion, even extortion, albeit legal in this case.

*This case is different. I'm not thinking, "I'm going to hurt their bottom line." I'm thinking, "I don't want my wife and kids put at danger there and I don't wish to support them. Not that they'll notice. It's me I'm concerned about."