The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), America’s largest group dedicated to preserving traditional marriage, has announced it will lead an international “Dump Starbucks” protest of Starbucks Coffee Company to give voice to consumers around the world who support preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The protest campaign was announced after the annual Starbucks shareholders meeting in Seattle, where NOM spokesmen queried the board on its new policies promoting gay marriage and demanded protection against discrimination for employees, vendors and customers who disagree. NOM states that Starbucks’ executive vice president of partner resources has stated that gay marriage “is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company.”
One blogger, Russell Moore, who is Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Seminary, has argued that such a protest campaign is just not the best option for Christians and that ultimately it doesn’t achieve the goals that Christians are aiming for. He makes his point very eloquently, and the approach he suggests is an alternative to the traditional evangelical response in the part of the world where I live. A younger generation recognises that we no longer live in Christendom where Christians are in a majority and can flex their muscle with some commercial effect. And perhaps a boycott is a much too worldly way of trying to make our point anyway. There are situations that call for a much more nuanced and more Christian style of response.
A boycott of Starbucks is possibly a non-starter with many middle-class Christians since it would take them out of their comfort zone completely and deny them their regular shot of flavourful caffeine. Imagine having to go to Costa instead? But perhaps a more Christ-like response would be equally uncomfortable for many of us. It’s not easy to engage in conversation with those who don’t see things from our perspective, or to persuade them to adopt our position. The intellectual tide of our society is running against those of us who think that what God says really matters. That’s why we need to be bold, courageous, and persuasive, but in a thoroughly Christian way.
In that sense, nothing has changed. Paul advised the Corinthians with regard to their approach in countering arguments and trends in their society: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (II Cor 10:3,4). Elsewhere Paul commends prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit as being our powerful and effective weapons in spiritual warfare. It seems as though petitions and boycotts may not be the answer to all the issues we face.
Russell Moore’s blogpost is copied below the fold. Continue reading “Should Christians boycott Starbucks?”