Dubious as I am of boycotts, I'm already refusing to do business with Pharisees. Let's face it: most boycotts publicly proclaimed by the "religious right" are refusals to shop at stores or watch TV shows that those same people have previously refused to frequent multiple times before. It's an adulterous understanding of the concept. In a more personal but dedicated way, though, I have made good on past promises to withdraw my support from companies that treated me like a second-class citizen. In an era where our last remaining vote may be our pocketbooks, I may have to increase my resolve to avoid any dealings with companies that would shun customers or fire employees because of who they are or whom they love.
Different Drummer: Gregg Popovich
The current political climate is presenting more threats to individual liberty. A fair amount of threats are disguised as efforts to protect "religious liberty" coming from state legislatures, several court jurisdictions, and perhaps soon the executive branch of the federal government. The "liberty" being sought is the power to refuse service to customers, fire employees, or worse.
None of the fervently desired permissions to discriminate have anything to do with the behavior of those customers or employees in those roles within our economy and society. It's not about the customers who cost more money to do business with than the business can cover with profit margins. It's not about employees who fail to get the job done because of what otherwise would be described as the way they live their lives outside of work. It is truly about a false piety on the part of so-called Christian citizens seeking to redefine "religious liberty" to give them the power to impose an earthly judgment on people they perceive as living out sins that Jesus wants them to hate.
I've spoken elsewhere about the core theological questions, going all the way back to Inappropriate Conversations #20 (including the poem "Chapter And Verse") if not further back than that. When it comes to personal piety, "love the sinner but hate the sin" is an abomination, not what the Lord requires of us. "Love the Lord and your neighbor" is the sum of the Law, and Jesus reminded us of this repeatedly.
What this trend represents is a betrayal of Christianity by the "religious right" and other politically-active Christians. It represents a betrayal of our free market economy by giving an inappropriate veto power to something other than the laws of supply and demand. And, clearly, it threatens and thereby betrays all LGBTQIA people and anyone else these inept business leaders want to exclude for not being good enough to get into their heaven, and so not being good enough to shop or work in their stores or companies.
The next Inappropriate Conversations will be called "No Pharisee Shopping Spree" and it will explore how the rest of us -- including those who are far more committed to following Christ than this group of Christians -- can respond to protect people who are clearly assessed as "the least of these" by many of today's politicians, legislators, judges, etc.
It won't look like a boycott. This isn't going to be another pointless public proclamation about "not watching the Oscars this year" from people who haven't watched an Academy Awards telecast in years if not decades. We know they haven't paid the award shows any attention because they scream "not this year" on social media every single year.
No, it is likely to take a different form, perhaps more measured but certainly more Walk than Talk.
For now, I'm calling it a Consumer & Employee Freedom Protection Action, but slogans are unimportant. What matters more is aggressively standing up for people who should not have their livelihood threatened because they aren't willing to lie to the rest of (as, to be fair, was required of them for centuries) about who they are and whom they love.
I might go so far as to suggest that a day of evil is upon us. When people who publicly proclaim that they are Christians are so far away from Christ that their cherished solutions are little more than a means of bullying marginalized people into telling lies, then we can look to what Jesus said about "the father of all lies" and safely determine that we can know who the new Pharisees are.
"When the day of evil comes, we must be able to stand our ground; and, after we have done everything, to stand."
(Paul of Tarsus, paraphrased)
Sometimes a retreat is in order, to circle the wagons and refresh the spirit. Often as not, my happy place is full of music. That doesn't mean that all the music is upbeat or positive, though. The rain falls there, too.
(References are in the comments section of the website.)
Different Drummer: Experiment 626 (Stitch)
I recall an exercise that I found unexpectedly challenging: making 100 clear and simple statements about myself that were true and affirming, in the sense of not being negative. I've been sharing parts of this throughout Inappropriate Conversations and Walk The Earth podcasts. This time, I revist that list.
Different Drummer: John Pavlovitz
Whether following Jesus collectively is still possible when up to 80% of evangelical Christians no longer think "character is all that matters" in leadership decisions?
When you understand the persecution a group thinks they will suffer, whether based on rational conclusions or not, it provides great insight into what they would do if given ultimate and absolute power. We are wise to be wary. The people who predicted Obama would "round up" both Christians and guns might just pose a similar dire threat to their perceived political enemies. We haven't done a sufficient job of denouncing false prophecies in recent years, and now we must deal with the political consequences.
I apologize, President Obama, on behalf of all Christians for the false and hateful things said about you during the past 8 years from the pulpit and over the airwaves by self-proclaimed Christians. They were as wrong as their predictions have turned out to be.
Different Drummer: Bette Midler