Thursday, September 20, 2012

Activists Beware - Boycotts are a Two-Edged Sword.

From an original comment posted on Nonprofit Quarterly:  by Tom King (c) 2012
    Chik-Fil-A employee takes water to thirsty gay protesters.
  • The above referenced NPQ article was headlined: Boycotts; They Still Got It! Chick-fil-A Reportedly to Stop Funding Anti-Gay Groups.  In the article, editor Ruth McCambridge reported that the boycott of "Chick-Fil-A" had been successful.  When I commented that maybe one shouldn't gloat over the success of these kinds of boycotts, since the result was that Chik-Fil-A cut off all funding to any political group and that other corporations were likely to follow their example - especially since, as I pointed out in a comment that boycotts are a two-edged sword.  Ruth wrote back complaining that she wasn't gloating, but that maybe she was in the headline, but she stood by "the process point" which seemed to be "Nanny nanny boo boo, we beat Chik-Fil-A."

I didn't mean to disparage the article when I used the term "gloating". The article was fairly balanced for NPQ, though the headline was not.  Nor did I wish to get into a debate over semantics, which is what this whole thing is about in the end.

As Rush Limbaugh opines on a regular basis, "The law is a teacher." The LGBT folk, in insisting that same-sex alliances, be not only legalized, but called "marriage", have recognized this principle. Let's face it, the reason for their insistence that it be called "marriage" and not some sort of "civil union" is because they hope to teach our society that same-sex relationships are no different from traditional marriages. For conservative Christians, it's an attempt to legitimize what they believe to be a "sin" by simply renaming it.

Not that there is not already plenty of that going on, just not that many sins get canonized into law. Suppose a law were to be passed that redefines robbery as something else, like, say, "redistribution of wealth". Suppose we decided to call lying something else, like say, "political speech". We've already lost the redefinition fight over "adultery" and "greed" (now called "true love" and "good business"). Seems a shame to plant our flag over gay "marriage", after letting the rest of it slide.

Ah, well, I suppose the whole thing is a lost cause. The Bible does say some pretty bleak things about the condition of the world at the end of time after all. The confusing thing is that while we've learned a lot as a culture in America about the Golden Rule, we seem hell-bent to legislate any other form of morality out of existence. It seems like everybody's got a favorite sin they'd like to get made legal. While I have no problem with people committing all manner of sins so long as they aren't committing them against me, it does bother me to be villified for believing something is wrong that I know to be wrong. We should be careful about that.

The pro-Eugenics crowd in the early part of the last century attempted to create laws that would alter long-held beliefs about who had the right to live and who did not. Legislating morality is always a dangerous business. One of the reasons I like the English language is that there are so many different words in it, that you can always find a precise term for everything. Co-opting an existing word for other purposes tends to muddy the language, which is, of course the point of calling a same-sex union a "marriage".

Shakespeare once wrote, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Apparently, the LGBT lobby doesn't think so. Conservatives like me do.  Give LGBT couples the rights, but for heaven's sake, call it something else. The whole issue is a difference of opinion that should be debated openly. I hope it doesn't degenerate to dueling boycotts. This country is in tough enough financial shape without politics suppressing business.


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