Monday, June 18, 2012

Don't choke on your coffee:

I love coffee.  I go through at least a pound of beans a week.  French press is the best way to drink coffee, in case you were wondering.  So, when I was asked if I was going to stop drinking my favorite brand, Starbucks, the question was significant...

The question was in response to the subject of Starbucks providing insurance benefits for the partners of their homosexual employees.  In other words, could I still drink or purchase a product from a company that holds a different moral view than I do on gender relations.  Phrased another way: Does my patronage or financial support of a company like Starbucks with their different moral stance, compromise my beliefs, and, am I a hypocrite if I continue to enjoy their product?

Unequivocally, I answered yes I would still enjoy my Starbucks.

[Before I go further, this conversation I had on Starbucks was short, safe, and non-confrontational.  This wasn't an argument or debate; it was simply a probing question someone who knows me well asked.  I thought the question might be interesting to more people, upon consideration, I thought a blog post was in order.]

If you don't buy Starbucks because they have different views than you do on marriage or on the right gender orientation, that's okay.  I'm not their advocate.  I'm not taking their side.  I'm not even promoting their product, I simply enjoy their coffee so this makes a great example.

If you have quit using any company's product or participated in a "boycott" at all, then all I'm raising for you to consider is: Be consistent.  And ask, where will you and how you "draw the line"?

Consider the fact that our oil comes, mostly, from Muslim countries.  If you are a Christian, like I am, then you might want to think long and hard about this.  Yours and mine, our continual dependence on OPEC is fueling their economy, and building their Mosques...  The leader of Iran, Ahmadinejad, seems like a dangerous tyrant.  If we stopped purchasing his oil, I think he'd be riding a rusty old Schwinn bicycle and would be pretty harmless.  Why haven't we had people in an uproar saying lets stop buying Arabic oil?  

Also, don't buy any products made in China, or use products that have Chinese parts in them, like the computer you are on now.  Or, don't utilize the services the Chinese-made components your Internet provider uses to stream the Internet into your home.  Why?  The human-right's issues in China are despicable.  They force abortions on mothers who have too many children.  Child-labor is abundant, and in unsafe conditions.  Unclean and unsafe industrial circumstances maim thousands of Chinese monthly.  And, again if you are a Christian, the Chinese government has a low tolerance on the Christian church.  I've read stories of government officials killing house-church leaders by the tens-of-thousands annually.

Oh, and don't buy any American products that pollute the atmosphere or poison streams, or create radioactive waste.  Or, don't support any companies that under-pay their employees either.  And, don't send your kids to schools since teachers are severely underpaid!!!

And, one final idea: I bet there are elements of the US government you disagree with, passionately.  

So, will you stop paying taxes, quit driving your car, and abstain from buying TVs or tools (I can't think of anything that isn't made in China anymore...?)  You can't avoid supporting organizations you are at odds with, it's impossible unless you" live off of the land," in which case there will still be times you can't avoid this.  

What can we do then?

  • Write a letter to the corporation you have in mind and share your opinions, in a non-threatening way.  Show them your maturity and Christian Character as you articulate your views. 
  • Be the change in the world we wish others would be.  In other words, if you are opposed to supporting same-sex couples, don't be one.  Don't engage in the behaviors you are against.  
  • Be consistent.  We can't boycott one company and not boycott them all.  Every company and Country will have contrary views; there's no escaping this reality in this world. 

Remember, patronage isn't the equivalent of endorsement; joining in with another's behaviors, attitudes or activities is though...  

Consider I Cor 5:9-13 in a broader context, "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. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

There is no avoiding interacting with people we disagree with, even those we see as evil.  

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