Getting Silly With Boycotts

Categories: Business, Religion
Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: 2013.12.03

The American Family Association announced last week its annual boycott of Radio Shack: “Radio Shack is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores.”

For years, the AFA has led boycotts — many of them successful — against companies for various reasons. I remember in the late ’80s when they were boycotting Pepsi (I think) because they advertised on TV shows that were overly violent or sexual. I suppose they could have just boycotted the shows themselves, but maybe they didn’t think of that.

(And I’ve mentioned previously their current boycott of The Home Depot.)

But this one just seems to be a misunderstanding. For one thing, Radio Shack isn’t “censoring” anything. It’s not censorship to choose which words you will use. It’s censorship to choose which words other people can use. There are currently hundreds of posts on the Radio Shack Facebook page that use the word “Christmas”, and Radio Shack isn’t censoring them.

I realize that — to some Christians — it’s irritating that Christmas has become largely a secular holiday. It’s about Santa, Bring My Baby Back To Me, shopping for useless electronic gadgets and gift sets that no one wants, drinking eggnog while gathered with people you intentionally don’t spend a lot of time with anymore, and watching Jimmy Stewart on DVD.

If anything, I think the AFA and its members should boycott stores that DO use the word “Christmas” but without any overtly Christian message. That would make more sense. It’s fair to say: We invented this word, and this holiday, and you shouldn’t use it in such a secular way. Kind of like Jews might be upset if we turned Hanukkah into something else, and had Hanukkah sales that had nothing to do with their festival other than the name and date.

But demanding that a secular company must use their religious word? That’s rude and idiotic. I’m glad Radio Shack is (seems to be) ignoring them.

  1. The AFA boycotts stupid sh!t year after year. I believe there are two reasons…

    1. They can feel self-righteous.
    2. With all the real, genuine problems in the world, their agenda is silly bigotry, and their boycotts distract from that.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      To be fair to the AFA, I’ve only mentioned their really stupid (or offensive) ones on this blog. It’s highly possible that they have good ones too.

      I only mention these because I believe such organizations should be called on their blunders, regardless of other good work they may do.

      As for #1 and #2… Yes.

  2. MamaOlive says:

    I think that the “keep Christ in Christmas” campaign is irritating. Hadn’t considered your point before of wishing “they” wouldn’t use “our” word. There just seem so many more important things to worry about than if a person said “holiday” instead of the name of the day. Anyrate, over history many of the so-called conservative or right-wing Christians have been the least likely to celebrate Christmas. It’s just pointless to fight over something so trivial.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      It does seem very trivial, yes — even from the viewpoint of the AFA. But I do know how easy it is to get caught up in the hoopla of your own rhetoric once the ball gets rolling. It’s possible that this is what’s happened here. And of course, they hear positive feedback from their members, which encourages them. And they see negative feedback from non-members, which is easy to explain away as “they don’t get us”, or “they’re the ones we have to beat”.

      ‘Hadn’t considered your point before of wishing “they” wouldn’t use “our” word’

      To be honest, I didn’t have that in mind when I started typing this. It dawned on me as I wrote, that the AFA had it backward. That any other group demanding that non-affiliated groups use their particular word would be thought of as fringe idiots.

      Imagine if Microsoft demanded that all software makers used the word “Windows” to describe their operating systems. Or if the U.S. demanded that all nations in the world celebrate Independence Day on July 4. It doesn’t make any sense.

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