Friday, April 28, 2006


We receive many e-mails telling us about some boycott that is being organized against a particular organization or business. Sometimes we are informed of these by friends, at other times it is by Christian organizations. We are urged to “take a stand.”

Usually those from the religious right have to do with objecting to businesses that in some way cater to or tolerate homosexuals. (Apparently businesses that cater to or tolerate fornicators are no problem.) We’ve been told to boycott among others, Levi Strauss, Disney World, and now even Ford Motor Company.

But the right are not the only ones to desire our aid in boycotting. The religious left (yes, there is such a thing), and the secular left want me to boycott those organizations that harm or exploit our environment, those that exploit the poor, those that do business with countries that disregard human rights, as well as those that disregard organized labor. Wal*Mart is frequently the target.

We could make a very long list of businesses and organizations with which we should not do business. However, there are some problems here, besides the fact that many of us have a limited income and are not able to be too choosy in where we spend our money.

My first question (as the title of this article shows) is that I cannot imagine Jesus being involved in this sort of activity. He seemed to delight in being involved with people that others would “boycott.” In fact, I could almost get the idea that he liked to rub this sort of behavior in the faces of those who “took a stand.”

He made friends with a woman who was of questionable, moral and religious behavior. This even seemed to bother his close followers. (John 4, especially verse 27, “At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, ‘What do You seek?’ or ‘Why do You speak with her?’”

He stood up for a woman accused of adultery (John 8:2-11). He took into His circle a man who was an official of the corrupt oppressive Roman government (Mark 2:14-17). He hung around with soldiers of the occupying Roman army, with prostitutes, with religious leaders that He disagreed with. He even commended a woman who gave to the treasury of a corrupt religious system. I can’t imagine Jesus boycotting. And I can’t imagine Him advocating our boycotting.

Paul tells the Corinthians that it is impossible to disassociate ourselves from “ ... the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world” (1 Corinthians 5:10).

I’d like to write more, but I have to slip into my Levis, jump into my Ford and drive down to Wal*Mart. There’s a new Disney DVD I want to buy. Maybe while I’m there, I can talk to someone about Jesus.

Bill Ball

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