Target has become a lightning rod of controversy in recent days as they have reaffirmed their bathroom policy and allowed transgendered individuals to use the bathroom of their choice. Over a million individuals nation-wide have signed an American Family Association petition to boycott Target.
Let me begin by saying that I disagree wholeheartedly with Target’s position. I believe that allowing a person to select a bathroom simply based on how they feel is silliness. And I believe that believers should take steps to protect themselves and their children from sexual predators. Certainly it is appropriate to avoid going into Target or any other store if you are concerned about your safety. Having said that, I believe that Christian participation in boycotts is misguided and likely does more harm than good.
We are certainly called on to distance ourselves from those who sin. But Paul specifies that we are to avoid sinning believers – not sinning unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:9-10). Paul knew that avoiding all sinful people would mean leaving the world altogether.
By means of a boycott, we might be able to send a powerful financial message to Target. We might even get the policy reversed. But what has that accomplished? And how does that fit with our mission? We are not called on to legislate federal bathroom policies. We are not called on to make unbelievers act like believers. We are called on to make disciples. We are called on to announce the good news of the gospel so that people can be changed from the inside out. We are called on to live distinctively as God’s people in the midst of a perverse culture.
We have grown accustomed to a government that has historically affirmed our Christian ethics. Of course this is no longer the case. And the reality is that it has rarely been the case throughout all of Christian history. I believe that the endless petitions and incessant whining about the decline of secular culture threatens to distract us from our gospel mission.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jreed/379881272
I read the first sentence and this is where our perspectives differ. Target did NOT just say that they wanted transgender persons to be able to use the bathroom of their choice. They said that ANYONE could use whatever bathroom they felt like.
So, are you, as a pastor, going to be there to pick up the pieces of a young life in tatters following a sexual assault from some perverted individual? Do you even think that can be done?
As a parent, I’m not real worried about transgender people hurting my children. AFA has been crystal clear that this is not their stance, either.
As for the Gospel, I am on that team. God has not called be to place the safety of my child deliberately or negligently on that altar, however.
I cut up my Target Red Card days before the boycott.
Jeff Burr says
Thanks for the taking the time to respond to this important topic. That is a good clarification that Target is essentially allowing anyone to use the bathroom of their choice. It should also be noted that this is not a new policy but simply a reaffirmation of the policy that they held previously. Target has never been a God-oriented company.
No one is asking you to put your children in harms way. As I said in my post, I affirm your right to stay away from Target and keep your child out their restrooms.
I just don’t think that pressuring Target to change their policy is part of the mission of the church. We are not called to legislate morality or to get unbelievers to act like believers. And I believe that when we focus on these kinds of agendas, we are distracted from the gospel and our true mission in the world.