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FIRST-PERSON: Targeting Christians?


Earlier this week, Target removed provocative Pride Month products from its stores after facing a significant backlash and losing a reported $9 billion as shares dropped by 12.6 percent. It’s a significant setback for the retailer who is no stranger to controversy. The most egregious offerings were designed by drag queens and “nonbinary” creators, including “Biblegirl666” and Erik Carnell, whose other work promotes both Satan worship and LGBTQ themes.

Christians are rightfully shocked at the in-your-face mockery of Christian values, but they shouldn’t be surprised. In a column for World, scholar and author Katie McCoy, describes the way in which corporate America is pushing LGBTQ themes:

It’s an unholy trinity of corporate activism, political progressivism, and social totalitarianism, each separate yet fully integrated entities wielding their respective influence on cultural consciousness. Its adherents worship SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) as the defining element of their identities. Its apologists proselytize the public with fervor and fury.

What should a Christian response be to the suffocating proselytizing by our favorite brands? Well, first, we should be intentional about resisting the sexual revolution with both courage and civility. There is a temptation to yield to the spirt of the age in order to avoid conflict. But God has designed a better way for our flourishing. He has declared maleness and femaleness to be good and for sexuality to be a gift expressed only in a covenant marriage relationship between a man and a woman. We can be confident that the Christian vision for what it means to be human is more robust than the dualism and neo-Gnosticism of the present moment.

Second, we should not be surprised that the biblical sexual ethic cuts against the grain of rapidly changing social norms. Genuine Christianity has always been countercultural. Jesus promised His disciples that to follow Him would always invite opposition (John 15:18-25). We should lovingly but compassionately oppose ideologies that “raise up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We do this out of love, pointing the world to a better way, the way of the Creator, the way of flourishing.

Third, we should ask ourselves how we can use our influence to help turn back the tide of unbiblical and harmful ideologies, especially ones specifically aimed at our children. 1 Peter 3:15-16 urge us to both “have an answer for every person for the hope that lies within us” and yet to do it with “gentleness and kindness.” We can do this in a variety of ways, even when it comes to the corporate monoliths that seem to shape culture. Why is Target suddenly pulling products from their stores? Because millions of shoppers who share Christian convictions have decided to invest their everyday dollars in places less openly hostile to their beliefs. It would be hard to boycott every company that promotes values with which we disagree. The technology we use to communicate, the food we consume, the shoes we put on our feet all are made by brands that likely communicate ideas we oppose. But we might decide that some displays, such as the ones at Target, are so egregious we refuse to patronize them until they hear us.

Finally, we should see this cultural battle for what it is – a battle of competing religions. All the concepts and ideas that lead corporations like Target to openly celebrate these ideas are acts of worship. The false gods of the age will always lead to disappointment, failing to keep their lofty promises. The church, then, must be ready to press in with an alternative message, one that offers a way of being in Christ that can truly meet the longings of the human heart. We are called by God to live in in this world, but not be of it, to seek the welfare of our cities (Jeremiah 19:7) while also joyfully serving as signposts to that city whose “builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

    About the Author

  • Dan Darling

    Dan Daring is director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and assistant professor of faith and culture at Texas Baptist College.

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