There have been a lot of boycotts encouraged by Christians of various stripes whether it be Disney World or Abercrombie and Fitch or what have you. Thus Joe Carter of the Gospel Coalition sets out to answer whether this is something Christians should engage in or not.
Here is an excerpt–one where Carter happens to quote our very own Alan Noble:
To clarify, the term boycott here refers to the act of refusing to use, buy, or deal with a business as an expression of protest or as a means of economic coercion. The concern, for Christians, should be with the coercion part. Simply refusing to participate in an economic transaction with an individual or company is not a boycott. Our choosing not to spend money on lottery tickets is a values-based economic decision, but it is not a form of coercion. As Alan Noble recently said, “Whether it is through votes or dollars, coercing someone to accept our position is nihilistic: it suggests that real change—change of heart and mind—is impossible, or unlikely, and so the safest bet is to make it profitable to adopt our beliefs.”
Forcing someone to adopt our beliefs—whether by violence or economic threat—is a questionable use of our economic power. “Nonviolent resistance,” Tinder writes in his book Political Thinking, “is a way of using power and is thoroughly political.” Tinder’s claim brings to mind the claim of the brilliant Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz: “War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.” Nonviolent resistance may sometimes be a legitimate political act. But by mixing in the coercive tactic of boycotts we may be turning away from righteousness toward an unjust form of economic warfare.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Alan’s feature, Two Can Play at That: What Komen can Teach us about Boycotts.