7 Reasons Christians Should Not Boycott Starbucks

I do not support the LGBT lobby’s effort to redefine the word marriage. Marriage has always indicated a union of a man and woman which could bring children of that union into the world. Christians like me believe this is by divine decree, but even the order of nature and the long history of social conscience throughout the world support this definition of marriage.

Starbucks Check-in

But neither do I support the call from some Christian quarters to boycott Starbucks because of their support for redefining the historical definition of marriage.

For example, The National Organization for Marriage website, dumpstarbucks.com, claims that, “A portion of every cup of coffee purchased at a Starbucks anywhere in the world goes to fund this corporate assault on marriage.”

But this inflammatory language could be said about any morally legitimate business that also held non-Christian values. We are not talking here about an illegitimate business built on slave labor or other forms of exploitation. Where should the boycotting end?

Here are seven reasons Christians shouldn’t boycott Starbucks or any morally legitimate business:

1. A Christian boycott of Starbucks is just another misguided attempt to “Christianize” society without setting Christ before it. (Previous attempts were made by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, and violently, by the Spanish Inquisition.)

2. A Christian boycott of Starbucks is based on the naive assumption that our secular society should share our Christian values, and is childishly offended when it doesn’t. But, why would we expect non-Christians to think christianly, when they reject Christ? And, more importantly, how would a boycott encourage them to reconsider Christ?

3. A Christian boycott of Starbucks would have no place in the Apostolic church. Paul taught that Christians were free to buy and eat the meat of animals that had been slaughtered on the altars of pagan temples. His mission was to preach Christ to a society of idolaters, and he was sometimes stoned for it. He did not start a boycott of pagan altar meat.

4. A Christian boycott of Starbucks is an attempt to bind the consciences of Christians beyond the law of Christ — a trespass on their Christian liberty. Individual Christians may freely choose not to give Starbucks their business, but any Christian organization calling for a boycott by Christians is betraying a deficient understanding of the gospel and the Great Commission.

5. A Christian boycott of Starbucks reinforces the social perception that Christians are hateful homophobes, not objectors with a persuasive and positive counter-argument, thus contributing to the Church’s already rapidly eroding influence in society.

6. A Christian boycott of Starbucks can do indirect harm to Christian employees of Starbucks. Do boycotters expect them to quit? If so, would the boycotters provide alternative support or employment?

7. Most importantly, a Christian boycott of Starbucks is a poor and hopeless replacement for Christian ministry, one which ultimately undermines the mission of the Church. Christians are called to be ambassadors for Christ. The proper object of that ambassadorial ministry is the individual, not the corporation. The weapons of our ministry are the word of the gospel and the servant-Spirit of Christ in us, not our political and financial leverage.

I’m pleased that Dr. Russel Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, agreed with this view in Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?

But we don’t persuade our neighbors by mimicking their angry power-protests. We persuade them by holding fast to the gospel, by explaining our increasingly odd view of marriage, and by serving the world and our neighbors around us, as our Lord does, with a towel and a foot-bucket. — Dr. Russel Moore

So, rather than promoting an us-against-you boycott, I want to encourage Christians to take a Great Commission-centered stance, one that persuades people to reconsider the God-in-Christ-for-you message of the gospel.

Have an opinion? Leave a comment below.


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14 thoughts on “7 Reasons Christians Should Not Boycott Starbucks

  1. I stopped buying Starbucks as a reaction to their CEO’s remarks. It’s not as much about punishing them as it is not wanting to financially support their mission. I also realize that taking my position to its logical extension is futile. For me, it boils down to not violating my conscience. Thanks for the good post.

  2. I think that it is morally irresponsible to deny another’s right to love and be loved, and have that love witnessed and acknowledged by the same legal formalities as any other two people in love.
    I think that if your God created all men as equal, then you should not be of the faith that only a portion of those men are deserving of the same rights as yourself.

    • Hello, I really appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts. Thank you!

      In response, may I say that historic Christianity (at its best) doesn’t focus much on rights as the basis of morality. Rather, it focuses on duties owed to our creator God.

      Let me explain: If there is no God, then Christianity is nonsense and I would agree that a rights-based perspective on morality and ethics makes perfect sense. But if there is a creator God, and if that God has communicated certain expectations (laws) to us, and further, if that God created us with ability to regard or disregard those laws (e.g. free will), then it shouldn’t surprise us that that God might say a good many things that we don’t like. If there is a creator God who gives laws, then we all must deal with that God — he is not “my God.” I believe that God exists and that I’m a repeat offender against God’s laws. Therefore, I’m grateful that God has promised to show mercy to offenders like me, via the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus said he was the only hope for law breakers like me, and I believe him.

      Again, thanks so much for taking the time to thoughtfully add your voice to the conversation. Lon

      • I’m not really up on my Bible reading, as you can imagine, haha. I appreciate your response as well, what with the hypothetical rhetoric. I still feel however, be it God as a reality or a fraud, that people are mistreated and denied a great many courtesies to humanity. I’m sure wedding two men or two women would not be the first change to the outdated sanctions of the Bible

      • Thanks Blue. I agree with you that our world is full of injustices, some of which have been perpetrated by the Church in the name of Christ or the Bible. But, I do think it’s one thing to affirm one’s faith in Christ/the Bible, and another to oppress others in the name of that faith. I’m trying to express the former, though I admit the line between them is subject to debate. The rhetoric I used in my former response is logical and open-minded. If the premises I hold are false, then my conclusions are false and Christianity is a fraud. I encourage anyone who isn’t familiar with the Bible to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life for themselves to test those premises — to see whether it reads like the historical records of eye-witnesses, or outdated myths. Thanks once again, Lon

  3. I have said that I dont think people should boycott Chik Fil A because of their views and if we look into it all we would be boycotting, Disney, Levis, Starbucks, most of Hollywood etc. the list does not end. We need to be the light in dark places yet if it is against ones conscience not to support financially any institution, that is different, yet shouldn’t be imposed on all “Christians”

      • We are reading! People keep telling me that Starbucks is anti-Christian, and when I did a search, your post was near the top. The CEO’s comments that most people use as their reason for the boycott turns out to be a misquote.

        Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I hope this will calm down some of the fervor in my circle. Boycotting is a knee-jerk, negative reaction. God is love, not hate. It is possible to stand for your beliefs and still be a loving, thoughtful Christian!

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