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Boycott Costco?

Over Thanksgiving, I heard from a number of friends and family members that I should be boycotting a few of my favorite stores, such as Costco, Home Depot, and Target because they have removed the word Christmas from their advertising and employees' greetings and replaced it with holidays. My initial response was one of frustration, but rather than unthinkingly share them at the time, I listened and said that I'd blog on it. Well here's that post:

As Christians in America, we are so quick to fight silly battles that the message that we are here to proclaim gets lost in the mix. I fear that, to the world, our proclamation of the Gospel sounds just like "God needs to stay in the pledge," "Ten Commandments on the wall," "Boycott Hollywood/CostCo/Convenience stores/Disney/etc," "Don't have sex before marriage," "Don't smoke or drink," and "Vote Republican." When people think of the concept of Christian, I can guarantee you that the majority don't correlate us with the message that God loved his rebellious creation in such a way that he would step out of heaven into the world to pay the penalty of our sin with His own blood so that we can enjoy, serve, and love Him forever. That's not the message that they think of. They think of the "religious right."

I am not advocating staying out of politics (in fact, I strongly believe the opposite), I am not advocating that we should not have a position on issues informed by Scripture (we must be informed by Scripture and apply it to today's world), but I am saying that many of these types of causes that we stand for, we stand for just as loudly or more so than we do for the gospel. This is not only inconsistent with the faith we claim to possess, but it is a gross misrepresentation of Jesus and the message He proclaimed and came to die for. We can take positions on issues; we must take positions on issues, but let's make them issues that matter. Abortion: Yes, millions of lives are at stake. Freedom of religion: Yes, our freedom to publicly worship God and share His Gospel are at stake. Christmas v. Holidays: No, to demand that a world that rejects Christ honor Him through the commercialization of His birthday is a silly demand, and it proves nothing more than that we think that people should respect us, a demand inconsistent with the gospel. So in the words of Tom Ascol, "Count me out of the boycott, I will save my bullets for the real war."

Update 12/2: Founders Ministries Blog posts an update - We're winning! Yipee. That'll show 'em.
Update 12/4: NYTimes Article here
Update 12/5: Al Mohler comments on the boycotts, taking my position.
Update 12/8: President Bush joins in, sort of.
Update 12/8:

Wow! Good point! I’ve changed my view. I’m off to Costco now. Ta Ta! :)
Aunt Kim
by: Kim McInturff () - 30 November '05 - 10:31
Dear Jacob,
Ah ha! You baited Aunt Becky out of hiding with your blog! I’ll throw out a few of my comments – I never can pass up an opportunity to wax poetic…and never forget, sacred cows make the best burgers!

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few his precepts! O! ‘Tis easier to keep holidays than commandments!” Ben Franklin

“The litmus test of how I’m doing spiritually is not the 10 commandments but I Cor. 13.” Dwight Edwards

“Or consider Christmas – could Satan in his most malignant mood have devised a worse combination of graft plus buncombe than the system whereby several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop clerks die of exhaustion while selling them, and every other child in the western world is made ill from overeating – all in the name of the lowly Jesus?” Upton Sinclair

In conclusion I think that Santa Claus long ago usurped the reason we celebrate Christmas – no room in the shopping cart for the lowly Jesus. All I can say is good for Target – at least they’re not being hypocrits. As for me? Bah Humbug!
Love and peace on earth and good will towards men!
Aunt Becky
by: Becky Holaway () - 30 November '05 - 11:59
well said
by: Clay McInturff - 30 November '05 - 15:53
Excellent admonition, Jake. May we choose our battles wisely.

We often choose battles we cannot win, and even if we could win them, they would not significantly change the spiritual condition of our world. As important as some issues such as abortion and restriction of religious freedom are, even they are symptoms of a culture dominated by the prince of the power of the air who works constantly in his children of disobedience who are dead in trespasses and sin. Human remediation for or prevention of wrongdoing will never provide the solution.

We often struggle to set everything straight in this life, and in doing so we overlook the root cause, the true battle ground. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12.

May we hold our fire for the battle appointed by Commander-in-Chief.
by: Debbie Mellberg () (URL) - 30 November '05 - 19:16
I to have heard about this and even though I agree with your conclusion I have a little different take on the situation.
We live in a country that allows freedom of speach and freedom of religion. Because of this we have the right to practice our religion but we do not have the right to force our religion onto anyone. This would include forcing Chain Retailers into posting “Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. This is not just fighting a pointless war but it is just plain wrong. It is wrong for any religious entity to say that they will boycott your store until you recognize their religion.
Conversly I would be willing to argue that it is also wrong for a Retail Chain to tell it’s employees that they CANNOT wish people a merry Christmas. If a store takes this position I do believe we have something to fight. This is a direct attack on an individuals right to practice his religion.
I would not be offended if someone said Happy Hannukah to me when walking into a store. This is religious freedom.
Of course you could argue that an employee is a representative of the store and therefore it would be inapropriate but then a store would be shoving it’s views onto it’s employees and this again is wrong.

My point : We as Christians should not force our religious view onto anyone but we should stand up for our rights to practice our religion.
Merry Christmas.
I as an employee of an organization will wish people Merry Christmas over the Holidays just like I always do and always will do.
by: William Thompson () - 30 November '05 - 22:48
I’m still laughing at myself – I thought Debbie was being witty in her opening comments – I thought it read “Choose your batteries wisely.” Like the batteries you may need for all those Christmas gifts we buy? Ha
by: Becky Holaway () - 01 December '05 - 06:13
Yup, choose your batteries wisely. Buy them at the local Christian bookstore, not CostCo or Target.
by: Jacob Hantla () (URL) - 01 December '05 - 06:18
Boycotts are better than Girlcotts. Boycotts are more of a political football and have more to do with rights than Christ. Jesus changes hearts not rights.
by: Greg McInturff () - 01 December '05 - 14:25
Hey Greg! Brad wants to know what the difference is between a Boycott and a Girlcott…
by: Becky Holaway () - 01 December '05 - 19:10
Well, to all I would like to say Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah from Shippensburg :)! I set up my non-denominational holiday tree in the hall lobby, too.
by: Joanie Holaway () - 01 December '05 - 22:40
:) I accidently voted the “I Hate it” choice!!!! Whoops! I meant to vote “I Like It”! I’m so sorry!!!!!!!! :)
by: Fido () - 02 December '05 - 01:18
Boycotting a business over the specific mention of a holliday that wasn’t endorsed by the Bible, was not invented until the late 3rd century and which Protestants refused to keep until the late 19th century as “anti-Christian” is just silly. If you are going to boycott them, do so for their lack of equity, their flouting of civil law to gain special favor and their breaking of God’s law in their business dealings/treatment of Human Rights.
by: Mark Camacho - 19 December '11 - 17:13
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Title: Boycott Costco?
Date posted: 26 November '05 - 17:04
Category: politics, Gospel
Wordcount: 492 words
I Like It:: (vote) 17
I Hate it:: (vote) 19
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