Planned Parenthood is yucky. I hate that they exist. I hate that they use lies and doublespeak to prey upon the most vulnerable among us (the women AND their babies). I was not one tiny bit surprised by the latest Planned Parenthood scandal. Sad, yes. But not surprised.
However. Every time there’s another of these scandals, my Facebook feed fills up with calls to boycott. This time it’s “Forty Companies that Donate Directly to Planned Parenthood.” And, while I want Planned Parenthood to die just as much as the next gal about to give birth, (update: birth given, it was a doozy) I won’t be participating in this or any other boycotts of this type.
1. The List Isn’t Even Accurate
It’s Planned Parenthood’s fault . . . apparently they lie about what a baby is AND who donates to their organization. But 2nd Vote and the folks circulating their boycott are currently maligning some companies who don’t deserve it. I have a problem with that. If we claim to have Truth on our side, we have a greater responsibility to get this kind of thing right.
The Daily Signal has actually contacted the companies on the list and asked them about their corporate support for Planned Parenthood. While certainly in some instances there IS direct support, in a number of cases (Xerox, Coca-Cola, Fannie Mae, American Cancer Society, and Ford Motor Co.) it flat out wasn’t true. Then, for many of the companies, donations only occur as part of an employee charitable donation matching program which allows employees to donate to any approved 501(c)(3) organization.
While -again- I abhor Planned Parenthood and everything for which they stand, that seems to me like a reasonable policy for companies to have. Charitable giving is GOOD. We want people to do it. We want companies to encourage it. But if we demand that companies have moral standards for charities to which employees may contribute BEYOND just qualifying as an official charitable organization . . . well, who gets to decide what is offensive?
Frankly, I’m pretty sure that by the moral standards of most folks in most Human Resources Departments, it would be OUR preferred organizations that would get the axe, for being “intolerant.”
If *I* want true freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, if *I* want to be allowed to donate to organizations that *I* deem worthy based on my personal morals . . . I have to allow others that same freedom. That’s the way freedom works. That’s the way free will works. Sometimes it’s a stinker.
2. It Seems Hypocritical
I don’t get why the personal convictions of the CEO of a major corporation are a part of my business transactions with his company. If I call to hire a guy to come fix my air conditioner, I don’t ask him where he stands on gay marriage or abortion. I don’t ask him about his personal charitable giving.
I NEVER do that.
But then, somehow, people think that folks who run big companies should be punished for not living out my values.
It seems inconsistent.
I get that it’s absolutely horrifying to think of even one cent of my money going to support causes that I am so deeply against. But that’s not what’s happening here. This is me giving my money to a person or company in exchange for goods or services. Then that person or company is choosing to do as he wishes with his own money.
I’m not going to stand at the truck, giving the ice cream man a list of things on which he may not spend this two dollars I’m about to give him in exchange for a chocotaco. Right?
3. I’m Down With the Golden Rule
What really got me thinking about all of this, was way back when, when folks on the other side called for a boycott of Chick-fil-a and got the CEO of Mozilla fired. It seemed really unjust to me, that people would try to rob someone of his livelihood because they hold different beliefs . . . even on something very, very important.
I don’t want to be like those guys.
I want to treat others the way I’d want to be treated.
4. I Don’t Think It’s the Best Way to Win Hearts and Minds
For me, it comes down to this: we DO NOT live in a culture that lives by our Catholic moral compass. We are the minority. We are missionaries in a pagan land. I honestly can’t see how boycotting is our best move here.
We need to meet people who don’t understand the truth with friendship. We need to engage them in conversation. We need to be understanding. We need share The Truth with them.
We should absolutely shine a light on evil that wants to hide in the darkness. But once we’ve done that, wouldn’t we be better off fighting the evil with love and compassion, rather than threats and bullying?
This is a personal decision. You’ve got to inform your conscience and then follow it. I’m not here to say you must have a Pepsi in one hand and a Starbucks in the other, while eating Ben & Jerry’s and Tostitos and wearing Levi’s and Chuck’s or the terrorists win. It’s your money. All I want to suggest is that we figure out what our goals are. And then figure out if sweeping, social media-based boycotts are the best way to reach those goals. *I’m* thinking, no.
update: Hastily organized, un-researched, social-media-besed boycotts like this one, I think do more harm than good. But, I don’t mean to imply that boycotts are never useful or effective.
Here are a couple of interesting reads on how successful boycotts are run: