Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No, No, No Green Giant!

By Tony Miano

There was a time when the phrase "unprecedented move" would apply to the story that serves as the subject of this article. But we no longer live in such times. Moves, like the one recently made by the General Mills corporation are becoming all-too-commonplace.

General Mills has hopped on the Gay Marriage bandwagon. The company is opposed to the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act, which, if voted into law, will add the following statement to the Minnesota State Constitution: "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota."

To General Mills I say, "No, No, No Green Giant!"

Boycotts: An Extra-Biblical Expression

Needless to say, like with so many other issues, Christians are divided on the appropriateness of boycotts. There are good, bad, and ugly arguments on both sides of the debate.

With no examples in the Bible of Christians boycotting non-Christian businesses, and with no mandates in the Bible commanding or forbidding the practice of boycotting; ultimately, the issue is one of conscience for each individual follower of Christ. On issues pertaining to conscience, however, God's Word is not silent. "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin" (James 4:17).

I think we can agree that no two Christians' consciences are identical (Romans 14:1-9). While there is agreement among genuine followers of Christ when it comes to what most of us consider essential Christian doctrines and issues, there are vastly more matters of varying degrees of importance about which there is no consensus in the Christian community.

Christians choose different hills atop of which they are prepared to die (metaphorically speaking), especially when it comes to social issues and mores. Christians can and should "agree to disagree" when the Bible is silent--when the Bible neither commands nor condemns a particular activity. And Christians should not be so quick to question or denounce their Christian brethren if their brethren's consciences do not run identical to their own.

In the end, boycotts are neither biblical nor unbiblical. They are extra-biblical. And whenever participating in or critiquing that which is extra-biblical, it behooves Christians to be extra-careful--extra-careful in their involvement and extra-careful in their criticism.

Why Long-Term, Non-Specific Boycotts Rarely Work

Christians have engaged in a number of long-term, non-specific boycotts over the years. One of the most notable was/is the boycott against the Disney Company.

Some will argue the boycott has had a significant impact on the manner in which Disney conducts business. Others will argue that the boycott has had no lasting impact on the company. Yes, Disney has moved in the direction of going back to its roots of family-friendly films. While, on the other hand, Disney has not backed off from their pro-homosexual agenda. It is my opinion that the Disney boycott has had and will have little impact on the Disney Company. After all, Disney just keeps raising its theme park prices, and Christians keep paying them and going to the park.

Often times, long-term, non-specific boycotts fail to accomplish the desired goal because, frankly, the Christian community often lacks the perseverance and commitment to keep the boycott alive. In the end, Christians do what they care about, for as long as they care about it.

If a Christian says he is committed to prayer, but fails to pray; he does not care as much about prayer as he claims with his lips (Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:6). The same is true when it comes to Bible study, corporate worship, service inside and outside the church, the abortion and gay marriage fights, and, of course, evangelism. We do what we care about.

Short-Term, Targeted Boycotts Tend To Be More Effective

Short-term, targeted boycotts tend to be more effective. A case in point is the boycott against "The Last Temptation of Christ," a blasphemous movie released in 1988. The boycott was specifically targeted against a particular movie. The boycott garnered a great deal of media attention at the time, because of the passion and widespread participation of the Christian community. And while the movie continues to be cherished by the secular Hollywood elite, it ranks as little more than a cartoon before a feature presentation when compared to movies like "The Passion of Christ" or the Narnia films.

Why General Mills and Not All the Other Companies Supporting Gay Marriage?

It's a good and legitimate question. If I am going to boycott one company for supporting gay marriage, abortion, or any other social issue that is inconsistent with my faith in Christ, then why don't I boycott all of them?

Frankly, there is simply not enough time or resources for any one organization or person to boycott every anti-Christian, anti-God movement or company.

Additionally, there is the issue/strategy of leverage in determining when and where is the most strategic time and place to call for a public boycott. General Mills is making a very public stand in favor of gay marriage. Now is the best time to make a stand against General Mills.

Living Waters is an Christian organization, which exists to inspire and equip Christian to fulfill the Great Commission. Living Waters will forever remain committed to fulfilling our stated vision. But, there are times, as with the systematic slaughter of the unborn, when we believe it is right and good to make our voices heard (and encourage other Christians to do the same). There are times when it is important for us to talk about issues--not at the expense of gospel preaching, but in keeping with our vision of bringing the gospel to the entire world.

Again, boycotts are ultimately an issue of conscience. Each person has to weigh why they are participating in one boycott or another, and whether or not in doing so they are acting consistent with their Christian worldview. Each person must determine in their own heart and mind where they will draw their line in the sand, on any given issue.

Calling For a Boycott of General Mills and/or Its Subsidiaries

With the above in mind, Living Waters is asking the Christian community to join us in a boycott of General Mills products. Living Waters will focus on the Green Giant vegetable brand. The boycott will run from the posting date of this article, until Labor Day 2012 (September 3).

If you do not use Green Giant products, or if you would prefer to choose another one of the many General Mills Brands, then simply click on this link to see a list of brands: Brands. You may also, if you choose, boycott all General Mills products.

If you would like to personally contact General Mills (and we encourage you to do so), and share with the corporation your thoughts regarding its support of gay marriage, CLICK HERE for all of the necessary contact information.

Address your correspondences to Kendall J. Powell (Chairman and CEO) and/or Ken Charles (V.P. of Diversity)

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: If you participate in this boycott, you do so as an individual Christian citizen and not as a representative of Living Waters. And if you do participate, then you should behave, in word and deed, as a Christian. Your words and your actions should mirror Scripture and the life of the Savior. You should act and correspond with General Mills (and any proponents of the gay marriage agenda) in such a way as to bring glory, honor, and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not sully His name with less than Christ-like behavior.

If you will join us in this boycott, please add your name, city, and state (or country) by leaving a comment on this post. Please do not include your address, phone number, email, or web address.

This Is Not About Winning or Losing

Sometimes pragmatic arguments are made for and against boycotts based on the likelihood of winning or losing the fight. But, sometimes it's enough to simply stand up and say, "No!" Sometimes risking personal exposure to scorn, ridicule, and other forms of persecution for daring to publicly say, "Enough!" makes the outcome of the debate or boycott of secondary importance to soothing one's conscience--a conscience that demands saying something, anything, to let the world know you will not conform to the will of vocal minorities or powerful majorities.

Standing up to be heard, standing up to be counted is, at times, enough. It's not always about winning and losing.

Additionally, and more importantly, there is more at stake than simply winning and losing a fight over gay marriage. Souls are at stake. And more important to us than the outcome of any social debate or boycott is where people will spend eternity. As with everything we do at Living Waters, loving God, loving people, and furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ is of first importance.

If we convince General Mills, or anyone else, to change their minds about gay marriage, but we do not share with them the law and the gospel, then our efforts will only have negative eternal consequences. If we only succeed in changing a person's morality, but we do nothing to be used by God to change the state of their soul, then we, as Christians, have utterly failed in our primary mission: to Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; to love our neighbor as ourselves; and to go and make disciples by preaching the gospel to everyone.

So, with the above in mind.....

Please read the following closely. Your very soul may depend on it.

When you die (and we will all die someday), you will stand before God and give an account for your life--every decision made, every action taken, every idea thought, every word spoken. He will judge each of us according to the perfect moral standard of His Law. If we have sinned against Him in any way (and all sin is against God)--if we have lied, stolen, looked with lust, taken His name in vain, hated another person, or coveted someone else's possessions; He will find us guilty of breaking His Law.

We also sin against God when we fashion a Jesus in our mind to suit ourselves--when we create a Jesus in our imagination with whom we are comfortable. This is called idolatry. It is idolatrous to change the character of Jesus Christ and make Him into Someone who turns a blind eye to sin or even applauds sin.

When you stand before God, if He finds you guilty of breaking His Law, He will punish your sin. And the punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in Hell. He must do what is right, because He is holy, righteous, and just.

I don't want that for you. I don't want that for Richard Dawkins and Dan Barker. I don't want that for the false converts filling pulpits around the world. I don't want that for anyone.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. In addition to being holy, righteous, and just; God is also, loving, merciful, and kind.

2,000 years ago, God the Father sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was and is fully God and fully Man, yet without sin. Unlike you and me, He never once violated the Law of God in thought, word, or deed. He couldn't because He was and is God in the flesh--the sinless Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

Jesus lived the perfect life (a life pleasing to God the Father) that neither you nor I can live. About 33 years into His earthly existence, He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered and died a horrific, bloody death to take upon Himself the punishment you and I rightly deserve for our sins against God. Three days later, He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. He is alive today, and He will return at a time of the Father's choosing.

What God commands of you is the same thing He commands of me and all people everywhere. He commands that we repent (turn from our sin and turn toward God); and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

You may have heard this (or something similar) in the past, maybe even in church. But it is not enough to nod your head in agreement and then believe in a Jesus whose character is different than the one, true Jesus of the Bible.

Like everyone else, you must come to Jesus Christ on His terms, not your own.

Please, repent of your sin and, by faith and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, while He has given you time.

And let me encourage you to watch this important documentary.

* Photo by David Morgan, as part of "Photo Essay // The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), http://wideanglecloseup.com/lasttemptation02.html