Recently a couple who ran a bakery in Gresham Oregon has been forced to close after they refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple. After harassment, death threats, and the loss of business they were forced to move their business home and homeschool their kids.
I am completely in favor of boycotts of businesses. If you don’t like a business’s practices, don’t shop there. I don’t know how many times I hear people complain about stores and services that they use all the time because it is convenient and good. If we really believed a business was bad, we wouldn’t do business with them even if it means we have to do without. Which, enough people believed that their bakery was not good to use and they closed down.
However, there are severe problems with the label and harassment that they received. Shall we harass people who harass people to show that harassment is wrong? May it never be. Martin Luther King Junior always acted with respect and kindness even when imprisoned, not just refused a service. The way he fought for rights should be the standard to which we are all looking to today.
One way in which culture needs to be changed is the way in which we boycott and press our opinions on others. We must do so respectfully and tactfully in ways that are in accordance with common law. Pickets, are common ways to show protest so long as they do not involve scare tactics, sharking, etc. Picketers should also be polite and kind to all attenders of the business. The goal is to communicate and show an issue to the public and to try to persuade them, but to allow them to make up their own mind, not harass people into believing the same way.
I look forward to the day when we will see people gracefully boycotting boycotts that are ungracious. I never condone mean and cruel behavior, just as I don’t condone the practices of Westboro Baptist Church, I do not condone those who harass to get there way. I do condone those who simply choose not to put their money where their beliefs are. Which means by the same token, the businesses have the right not to put their services where their beliefs are not.