Should I Still Shop at Tesco?

I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake with this one. I think the key developments took place in the run up to Christmas, though the ramifications will no doubt linger on. It wasn’t until the holidays that I caught up with it. We were staying with friends over New Year. We needed one or two extra bits for supper. And so I suggested that we pop out to grab them from the local supermarket. But our host then explained that he was boycotting Tesco. I asked why. And he brought me up to speed.

Apparently Tesco has dropped its financial support of the mainstream charity ‘Cancer Research’ to become the headline sponsor of the London Gay Pride Festival. That’s an interesting call. One with a faint whiff of the ‘political’ about it.

The Christian Institute reported on this development on 15th November. They wrote this,

The supermarket giant has supported Cancer Research for more than a decade, helping the charity raise hundreds of millions of pounds towards combating the illness – estimated to affect one in three of the population.

But now the retail chain has signed a deal to become a major sponsor of Pride London, and will host the festival’s family area for the second year running. The family area will provide entertainment and activities for younger children.

The situation became increasingly heated when Nick Lansley, the Head of Research and Development at Tesco, posted some inflammatory remarks on his Flickr site. He wrote

‘I’m also campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners’.

At the request of Tesco, those comments have since been withdrawn. On 23rd December, the Christian Institute then reported that Tesco were re-considering their support of Gay Pride. A couple of days ago, in a needlessly provocatively piece in the Guardian, Martin Prendergast responded. He said that the idea that Tesco was about to repent was unfounded propaganda.

[To my mind, Prendergast’s article is unbelievably irritating. It’s laden with hopelessly inaccurate and jaundiced presentations of the Christian position. Just calling someone a fundamentalist, a bigot or homophobic doesn’t mean that they are. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such sloppy journalism, let alone the misrepresentation of the carefully articulated historic biblical position. But perhaps that’s a rant for another post!]

Upon reaching his decision, my holiday host wrote this on the Tesco Facebook wall,

‘Sadly I will not be shopping at Tesco anymore; not when one of its senior staff, Nick Lansley, describes Christians as evil. If this becomes widely known, I would imagine it would put most Christians off from shopping at Tesco’s’.

Six minutes later this response was posted,

‘Hi (his name), This is a personal view and in no way of reflects the views and opinions of Tesco. Regards, Kaz – Customer Care’.

There were then some less conciliatory responses that were posted; mostly rude. None came from Tesco!

I applaud Tesco’s decision to distance themselves from Nick Lansley’s comments. And yet, it remains an odd decision for a mainstream retailer to give up supporting a charity and start funding an organisation that promotes homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. They’re not naive. They knew what they were doing. So what to do?

I don’t have to shop at Tesco. We often do. But will we continue? I’m not sure, but I suspect not. There are alternatives. And if it’s good enough for Jamie, it’s good enough for me! So, awaiting Tesco’s repentance, it’s fair to say that we shall have a few more orange plastic bags in the Perkins’ under stairs cupboard.

The simple reason I’m going to stop shopping at Tesco is that I don’t support the LGBT agenda to redefine marriage. Marriage is marriage. It’s the union of a man and woman in an (ideally) permanent monogamous public relationship. A gay relationship isn’t marriage. It’s a gay relationship. It may be loving. It may be monogamous. It may be permanent. It’s just not marriage. It’s not homophobic to say so. I’m not irrationally fearful of people who face same sex attraction. I don’t even have a rational fear of homosexual people. I just think Tesco should be using their profits to lend their support to a charity like Cancer Research rather than promoting the homosexual political agenda.

I’ve asked myself what I hope to achieve by any boycott and whether it would make any difference. I don’t think that Tesco will change their policy simply because I’ve stopped shopping. We have a large family and a healthy appetite, we like the finer things in life but we don’t spend that much! Nor indeed will the letter I plan to write make that much of a difference. But if every Christian thought like that we shouldn’t expect anything to change. So I’m going to do something and not nothing. But I really don’t want to. It’s costly. I adore their beef, stilton and chutney sandwiches and their Devonshire fudge yoghurt is to die for. But I simply want to register my principled displeasure at the course of action that they’ve taken. I don’t think that they should be using their profits to celebrate a non-Christian lifestyle; one that when practiced habitually leads to exclusion from the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9&10). All sin does that, of course. But we tend not to celebrate other sins and play them onside. We call them for what they are; greed or drunkenness or anger and so on. We may be (and often are) immoral in our habits (and therefore in need of salvation by grace) but we at least don’t celebrate them for being immoral! But that’s what our culture is doing with homosexuality. We’re taking something which the Bible describes as immoral and redefining it. As J.I. Packer says ‘we’re sanctifying sin’. And so out of love for homosexual people everywhere we cannot simply go with the flow. All sin is serious. And it doesn’t stop being sin by saying that it isn’t!

So if Christians love people, then they’ll cop the flak for challenging the legitimacy of homosexuality and all sorts of other kingdom incompatible lifestyles. We know that people won’t be saved by avoiding these lifestyles. Jesus does that. But Jesus saves those who, in repentance and faith, repudiate their immoral lifestyles and try to turn from them. We never do so perfectly. But we do so really. I’m a Christian, an imperfect and inconsistent one for sure. But I’m repentant. In dependence upon God I try to turn from sin. The Bible is clear that the homosexual sexual lifestyle is not one that’s compatible with living as a disciple of Christ. It’s a lifestyle that’s to be repented of not celebrated. And so surely I can’t in good conscience support an organisation that redefines sin and seeks to make it mainstream. I know that this will make me hugely unpopular but sometimes it’s best to do what’s right not what’s popular.

So will I post on the Tesco wall? Unlikely. I don’t like getting abuse. Call me gutless if you must. I’m pretty sure I’d invite it without being able to carefully and lengthily explain my rationale! So after you! We’re going to get shot at. It’s going to be, and has been already, interpreted as bigoted and homophobic if we decide to shop elsewhere. Neither of which is true for me or any of the Christians I know. We love sinners (like us). It’s just that we not only believe the Bible, we live by the Bible. And we want to encourage others to live by God’s life giving word as well, so much so that we’re prepared to oppose those who discourage others from taking what it says seriously even if that means that we come across as anachronistic fundamentalists.

I’m not going to tell the congregations of which I’m the Senior Pastor that they have to boycott Tesco. But I’ll probably suggest that they should think seriously about it.

27 thoughts on “Should I Still Shop at Tesco?

  1. Phil C January 16, 2012 / 7:50 pm

    I find this blog post confusing. At worst, it could be many other things, and given the current furore over Christian Voice and recent comments from Stephen Green about Tesco I wonder if this could have been posted at another time. If ever. I look forward to chatting about it with you.

    • Phil C January 16, 2012 / 8:15 pm

      Sorry, that was a rather bad-tempered comment and unhelpfully cryptic. I look forward to talking about it though.

      • theurbanpastor January 16, 2012 / 8:49 pm

        Thanks for the apology Phil. Not sure it was necessary. Happy to talk. Haven’t seen anything about Stephen Green. Sorry.

  2. Lauri January 16, 2012 / 8:42 pm

    Phil you are very generous in your comments and at the same time have also had the time to read stuff that’s going on which Perks might not have been able to pick up with regards to the timing because as we know he is a busy man. But I will have to agree with Perks opening line… You are slow on the uptake Perks.

    Nevertheless there are some significant problems here that should be unpicked, the “primary” of which is that one should have been boycotting Tesco for a lot longer than since they started funding Pride events… I mean the aesthetics of the place alone (I even prefer ASDAs red and yellow bubbles to the ugly white red and blue nastiness in TESCO).

    Perhaps the main point that I will make now (rather than later in person) is that the arguments you use in this blog post Perks *sound* (and that needs to be unpacked) exactly like the arguments that the Tesco rep used. I reads like this:

    “I’m also campaigning against evil Christians (gays) (that’s not all Christians (gays)), just bad ones (ones who have not repented of sin)) who think that gay people (Christians) should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners (be able to define the meaning of marriage in a society that is now largely not christian)”.

    Now when I said *sounds* I mean that people will hear it this way, and to be fair its folk like the CI and CC and others who have allowed the myth of the homophobic Christian to develop real tangibility for a whole host of reasons.

    What CI and CC and “Christian (sic) Voice” do, is they harp on identity politics in the same way that many in the LGBT community harp on identity politics, which means that any debate of this nature tends towards both the “us vs them” and also means that those with the most power win. I don’t believe that the best way to motivate people in your congregation to be active politically is to chose this argument, or position, to start taking a political stance.

    For example there are people in your congregation who work in the city that pay their cleaners less than a London living wage? Meanwhile the existence of peoples wages in the co-mission is dependent on bonuses (of very very generous people) who nevertheless when these are not paid, mean the stagnation of the Ministry… What about starting to look at the focus of Gods Word a little when it comes to justice and mercy issues of a congregation before getting all gung-ho about “those gays”.

    There are other problems with the above post, but perhaps I can leave that for another time.

    • theurbanpastor January 16, 2012 / 9:31 pm

      As usual Lauri you take issue with something that I write. That’s par for the course. And I suppose I ought to be used to it by now. I find it strangely reassuring though that I can’t have a monopoly on the truth! Thanks for your comments. You’re always stimulating.
      It does sound as though posting a blog that I wrote last week and left in draft form to check for grammatical howlers has resulted in it being posted at the wrong time! I’ve still not read anything that Stephen Green has said. I read the Times and I’ve not come across anything. Despite this, my hope is that in some small way my little piece can add light and not heat to the debate about whether I should withhold the money God has entrusted to me to buy our groceries from a company that promotes and celebrates an immoral and therefore destructive lifestyle. (And encourage others to do the same). That’s what this post is about. It’s about whether I ought to shop there any more or take my custom elsewhere. Hopefully others will be prompted to think that one through as well. Better late than never!
      I’m not sure whether your analysis of how Christian Institute, and Christian Concern operate is accurate. You’ll tell me that it is. But you would say that! I’d need to think more about what’s happening and how it’s happening. At a very simple level, I’m not sending cash to Tesco’s and I’m encouraging others to do the same. Though I’m not going to campaign on it and I’m not going to make it a qualification of discpleship at CCB!
      I’m not aware that anyone is paying less than the living wage to their cleaners. But then again I don’t know who has a cleaner. That’s not something I spend a lot of time trying to find out! But if you’re aware of that as an issue then maybe you should have a word with the individuals concerned.

  3. Anthony Smith January 17, 2012 / 10:17 am

    I have no problem with what you are doing, but part of me longs for the day when Christians en masse start seeking alternatives to Tesco, not simply because of what Tesco does with its loose change, but because we reject the whole (idolatrous) system of consumerism, and because we have some better ideas about how our society can operate.



  4. Lauri January 17, 2012 / 11:15 am

    Thanks Perks, its because I care about you and those that you lead which gives me the urge to respond where I feel I have something to say which might be beneficial, if sometimes critical. This field, after all, is my bread and butter.

    The last paragraph of your response isn’t at all what I meant. I was very unclear, for which I apologise. I was not talking about personal or household cleaners. If folk do have such help at CCB, and I know they do, I am sure they pay them more than the living wage because they are loving Christians. The living wage is currently £8.33 in London based on a 35h work week (and I am sure that CCB folk employ people from firms who ensure they pay their cleaners at least that sum.) One good way of finding out, if they do not know, is the obvious method of asking the cleaner and the firm to confirm they do.

    I was talking about the disparity between your encouragement against supporting unethical businesses (TESCO) based on their support of homosexuality, yet say nothing of the very jarring fact that CCB and the Co-Mission currently depend, in order to grow (and as we have recently sadly learned not to stagnate), the support of bonuses from very generous folk who work in the Banking and other sectors in the City for businesses that very likely don’t in fact pay the cleaners of their buildings a living wage, but yet pay out these bonuses. (This was the case before the crunch and is still the case now. It might not be true for exact individuals, but it certainly is true for the sector at large…).

    This is at least as unethical as supporting gay pride events over and above Cancer research and should be something that the leadership of the Co-Mission take into consideration going forward. And perhaps they have done in the past and my point is moot. Either way it is something that the individuals that do get these bonuses, or work for companies that are fairly rich and perhaps give disproportionately more than others to the joint coffers could raise with their employers?

    Come to think of it, who do you bank with? I bank with a bank that did not ,until fairly recently, pay their cleaners a living wage, but am happy to say that HSBC now do. Which is to say, that I am also a late convert to this issue, but its important.

    As I said, it is quite right that we should not shop at TESCO. I have not set foot in one since around August last year, and intend never to do so until they change some of their business practices, including the aesthetic nature of their shops branding, packaging and layout. Previous to August every time I went into our local TESCO I hated myself a little bit more and don’t miss the feeling.

    I don’t have a problem with you posting your blog post this late. As I said, you cannot know everything. It was unfortunate timing. But I think the focus on the gay issue as a whole in conservative evangelical circles over and above other issues is a problem. I also think that the way you raised it here was more than you needed to over an issue which is inflammatory, in a way that could be profoundly unhelpful, particularly because it works on a worldly basis of entitlement “identity” politics, a pernicious secularist twist on universal human rights which are based on biblical principles.

    In other words it sounds like mudslinging and comes across as the inverse equivalent and (I am sure unintentionally) hurtful as what the gay TESCO employee said.

    Also writing a blog post, and speaking to your congregation is actually campaigning. Its a small, very local campaign and I commend you for your political activity!

  5. Sandy Morgan January 17, 2012 / 2:03 pm

    Hi Perks. Interesting blog and great that you are thinking of changing where you shop because of an issue you feel strongly about. But if you are going to raise this kind of issue at church I would encourage you to look more broadly. For example, what about justice issues? We might shop at another supermarket but not give one moment’s thought to what we buy and where it has come from. Two quick examples: people (and child) trafficking is a huge global issue; and so is paying people a living wage across the other side of the world. What make of chocolate, coffee and tea we buy has significant impact for instance and so has whether or not we are prepared to pay extra for fairtrade items (yes even in a time of recession because we wouldn’t want our own children or families being treated that way…); and so on. God has a heart for the poor and a heart for justice – how is this also reflected in terms of where we shop and what we choose to buy? Blessings on you! Sandy

  6. Ed Drew January 18, 2012 / 11:19 am

    When I want to really lay into Perks I like to try to be clear what exactly he’s done wrong. May I ask for a little clarity on this, because this seems to have become a wide ranging, and interesting, discussion but perhaps less constructive as a result?

    Here are the options I think I can find, but I may have missed some.

    Is this post wrong because it has been timed poorly? Its possible. I also have not heard anything from Christian Voice on this. I have only heard about this issue from the Christian Institute. Maybe I’m not reading the right things. It may have been timed poorly.

    Is this post wrong because it is guilty of “identity politics”? If we accept that it is “identity politics”, which I would dispute, would this be wrong? Is “them vs us” wrong? It might not always be effective. It can certainly sometimes cause offense. But I’m not sure it is wrong. As a Christian, I want to seek to undermine identities that others adopt that lead to despair and disappointment. I want to do this carefully.

    Is this post wrong because it is the wrong boycott to pursue? Well, which boycott is the right one? Which political stance is the right one. All Christians are free to decide which issue to take a stance on. That is the joy of personal convictions. I am not at liberty to criticise a brother or sister for having the wrong conviction; unless it is ungodly. Is this boycott unChristian, or ungodly?

    Is this post wrong because instead we should we campaigning to refuse to receive the donations from those who work in an industry that contributes to Consumerist excesses? Who can Co-Mission receive donations from? Which industries are universally accepted to be ethically good? Can Co-Mission depend on those who work for the drugs industry? Can Co-Mission depend on those who work for the armed forces? Can Co-Mission depend on those who work in the airline industry? Can Co-Mission depend on those who campaign or lobby on particular mercy or social justice issues? I hope so.

    Is this post wrong because it does not hit the very focus of God’s word on mercy and social justice issues? Perks is advocating one boycott on one issue. Not because its the only one available. Not because its the best one ever. It can be helpful to sometimes to stick a flag in one, rather than talking about many good ones. So if there is one issue that is “the focus of Gods Word… when it comes to justice and mercy issues”- what is it? Every Christian would be surprised to hear that there is one definitive boycott that we must all pursue.

    Is this post wrong because Perks banks with the wrong bank?

    Is this post wrong because it raises the homosexual debate over every other debate? Any stance anyone takes will always appear to raise that one issue over every other issue. So which issue should one individual pick? We may choose to find the front line in contemporary issues where society is debating and analysing. (We may also choose to look for the Bible’s priority in social justice- that is another good critaria). It is unfortunate, but at the moment the homosexual debate is live and the definition of “marriage” is being debated. No one claims it is the only issue to campaign on, or even the best one, but many others are campaigning on it, for instance Tesco. It is inflammatory. Tesco thinks so. Many think so. Should we avoid it?

    Is this post wrong because it could sound hurtful? Maybe.

    To be honest and open; I work for Co-Mission. I enjoy Perks’ wise counsel on many issues. He often makes mistakes.

  7. Lauri January 19, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    Ed, the blog post, nor the subject matter are wrong and neither is the fact that Perks is interested in boycotting Tesco over their support a family friendly section of Gay Pride (which is not the same as campaigning for gay marriage, in case that slipped past you).

    What I am frustrated with is evangelicals willing to engage in politics on issues that are not the most important political issues (and poverty doesn’t have to be a big-government issue) we find God talking to us about in the Bible. Gayness is not as important as poverty to God. Full stop. So my point was simply to show that if we are going to boycott Tesco over their support for gay pride, then we should also at least consider (and do so publicly and often) thinking about what it means to be a part of a church network and church planting group, which is substantially supported by the very generous donations of folk who get their money from businesses that behave badly (they oppress the poor in biblical terms). Lets have a discussion about what we can do to counter that culture of barbarity, that particular sin, which Jesus talks about a lot, before we start getting our undies in a twist over homosexuality. So this is a matter of emphasis, choice of issue and engagement with culture which goes beyond the penile, (to use a Freudian type adjective to describe this particular developmental stage we seem to be in.)

    Secondly, I am don’t like the fact, and I don’t think it is fair, helpful or useful, that Perks is annoyed with the quote:

    “‘I’m also campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners’.”

    but then seems to proceed to say exactly the same thing in reverse, only using more caveats and upping the word count. That turns in to mudslinging, and is about identity politics. In what way could it not be?

    Ed the rhetorical tool you used in your comment begs the question, sows the seed of doubt as to the validity of the criticism without engaging in the substance of the problem (unless you are seeking to clarify of course, but I think you are doing more than that, arn’t you? –see what I did there?) and also mistakes what I was doing, as I did not say the blog post was wrong. I am all for open debate. Let people write what they want and lets discuss.

    • theurbanpastor January 25, 2012 / 9:39 am

      I’m not going to reply to your whole comments just yet. I may get round to it but I don’t want to promsie anything. But your observation ‘Gayness is not as important as poverty to God. Full stop’ is hugely significant. Thank you for being so clear. But I’m not persuaded by that. At all. I may be wrong, of course. But I simply don’t get that from scripture. I’m sure there are all sorts of nuances that we’d both want to add to our ‘position’ but I diagree. And so you’d expect me to be more concerned about what’s ‘said’ about that deeply personal issue than about our attitude to poverty. It just means that where we ‘sit’ on that issue will determine what we make a ‘stand’ for. And so it may explain why we don’t quite hit it off on what I’ve decided to blog on.

      • Lauri February 1, 2012 / 12:36 pm

        Be weary of taking a line like the one you did above and assuming its an absolute position, rather than something which gives the context from which it is taken emphasis.

  8. angalmond January 20, 2012 / 2:29 pm

    I’ve reatly enjoyed reading all these comments!

    Just to throw in another point – the remarks that caused the initial furore came from one person, and Tesco speedily backtracked. But for a long time I have been incredibly unhappy about Tesco Company Policy Decisions – which presumably are made by a number of people working in agreement, such as…

    Despite repeated questioning, I have yet to receive a satsifactory answer from Tesco about their reticence to stock a wide range of Fairtrade products. If Sainsburys can make their popular Red Label Teabags a fairtrade product, and ensure their own brand sugars are all fairtrade [and Co-op have similar policies re f/t] why can’t Tesco do it?

    Then there is Land-banking, and the way Tesco have purchased strips of land across the country with the aim of either building more of their wretched stores, OR preventing local stores from expanding. Tesco is opening new UK shops at a rate of almost three a week. With 2,700 stores, Tesco is on the verge of expanding its supermarket footprint to every postcode in the UK mainland.

    Tesco pricing policy is misleading – they change the prices on their basics range up and down like a roller coaster, to the confusion of many families working on very tight budgets. People are enticed by ‘bogof’ offers which often do not work out any cheaper in the long run.

    And whatever feelings one may have about pacifism, the decision at Christmas of Tesco stores near military bases not to stock the ‘Wherever You Go’ charity CD, [despite the army wives requesting it] because it was ‘not a sufficiently profitable item’ was incredibly petty.

    My personal list of problems with Tesco was already mighty long, well before the LGBT issue came up. I DO occasionally shop there, but not often – and only for the occasional emergency purchase – never for my regular weekly shop, and as my family will tell you, I complain the whole time I am in the store!

    I do not believe any major supermarket is able to conduct its operation in a manner which is 100% in keeping with my personal Christian values – but given the choice, I would rather shop at the store which uses the slogan “Our values make us different”

    • theurbanpastor January 25, 2012 / 9:15 am

      Thanks Angela
      That’s some list!
      I can add to it. Someone told me this week that at Christmas Tesco sent a letter to their supplires telling them that since the year had been such a good one for profits, the supplires (yes the suppliers) should ‘consider’ sneding back 10% of their profits. It may simply be hearsay, but if that’s true it’s appalling bullying, isn’t it?

  9. Anthony Smith January 21, 2012 / 6:05 pm

    Ed – like Lauri, I don’t think the blog post is “wrong”. But I do think Jesus has more to say to Tesco than “Don’t give money to the wrong causes”, and I think Jesus has more to say to consumers than “Don’t use shops that give money to the wrong causes”. If this particular boycott of Tesco is part of a more wide-ranging critique of the idolatrous system that Tesco reflects in so many ways, then that’s absolutely great. (And my impression of Co-Mission is positive, so I don’t doubt that this is the case.) But often, I suspect, we have so imbibed the consumerist worldview of our culture that in general we have nothing critical to say to Tesco (or to consumers).

  10. sarah s January 26, 2012 / 12:43 am

    good on you. I’m pleased that your willing to make a stand based on your princples and willing to explain why. Next step no more kitkats.
    Not sure if i would follow your stance, nor want it as the issue of a week slot. I did stop shopping in tesco when in northern ireland for much pettier reasons.

    But it does raise an interesting ethical point. When and under what circumstances should you stop buying shopping in a place.

  11. MichaelA February 2, 2012 / 4:12 am

    Richard, your article sounds very sensible. If Tesco has chosen to take a symbolic and public stand, then Christians are equally entitled or obliged to make their own decision as well.

    Some of the posts in reply seem to be rather speculative. At least one seems to be based on what the author speculates that some of your parish donors *might* be doing. You could chase your tail for months on that basis!

  12. Stuart June 21, 2012 / 3:08 pm

    very interesting posts though I think that as pointed out its possible to get obsessed about 1 issue. Every supermarket sells occult related DVD feature films, music by artists promoting drugs, varying forms of sexuality etc. They employ gay, straight, atheist, Christian, Muslim and in the case of my local Tesco a girl who always wears a cabalistic star. Supermarkets per se with their alcohol pricing are one of the biggest causes of binge drinking through the pre-loading syndrome – and they open Sundays. So don’t shop there – but then whats the moral position of your local corner shop owner – is he is gay, living with someone, a pagan, Muslim, a drug user, alcoholic – are we going to be giving people a questionnaire before we deal with them. Equally as said what about what Christians themselves do for a living in terms of working in the consumerist society – I work in a police role – does that make me responsible for every malpractice or indeed for the fact that my employer like most has an activist LGBT stance – I believe that being a policeman or soldier is itself compatible with being a Christian btw.
    I don’t agree with the Tesco financial support stance when there are more deserving organisations but I do agree with those who say that the ‘evil Christians’ point is purely an individual’s pov and not something that can be held against Tesco – but then even re the sponsorship aspect,what about all our local councils who use our Council Tax to pay for similar causes.

  13. Stuart June 21, 2012 / 3:19 pm

    PS the whole thing does run the risk I think per Lauri of going down the line that the worst sin is homosexuality – many people of the older generation go on about ‘gays’ and how it was against the Bible whilst blithely ignoring the point that many other things are also in that category too and so Christians can end up if they focus too much on 1 issue sounding like a kind of religious Alf Garnett.
    From what i understand the only ethical supermarket for instance in terms of investment is the Co-Op – but then whats their stance on this issue and even ethical investment can end up being political – I for myself wouldn’t support charities supporting Palestine because i suspect that many are front organisations for terrorists like Hamas.

  14. Stuart June 21, 2012 / 4:48 pm

    Actually given the stance of the coalition govt on the whole gay marriage thing, if people are to be consistent should they not be boycotting voting for the Tory party – speaking essentially as a Christian socialist. Actually I think a Christian can vote for any mainstream party according to their conscience (obviously not the BNP etc) but that one issue campaigns whether relating to supermarkets or politics run the risk of making us look incredibly subjective and ally us unwittingly to those with prejudices – at work one of the best workers if a lesbian yet she faces constant sniping from men whose own moral code is flexible.

  15. Stuart June 21, 2012 / 9:54 pm

    Actually I am not clear from googling this what is happening anyway. The Catholic Herald of 2/1/12 says that they have agreed after this year to not provide the (Family Area) sponsorship in future years whereas the Guardian story of the same date interprets the same (I suspect) Tesco statement to mean that Tesco were not backing down re this year but considering other alternatives for future years. That to me kind of sounds like the same basic thing just with different spins put on it. I’m not sure either from reading either version that they are a headline/major sponsor (cos £30k isn’t exactly a lot is it) despite the claims that they are – the CH version reports that they are sponsoring the ‘Family Area’ after being requested to provide support by their own LBGT employees group – given that the Met Police allow LBGT officers to attend the event in uniform (and likely therefore being paid but not, as non borough officers, on anti-crime duties), have a stand/float, would people here also be suggesting boycotting the Met in favour of another police force? Personally i don’t agree with people attending such events in uniform or the need for such special interest groups in the police of which there are a plethora (esp since you can’t have a white heterosexual police officers group due to PC) – but unfortunately if the LBGT groups were not allowed/supported neither would the CPA (Christian Police Association) be and i did in the past attend Christmas church service events in uniform as a member of that.

  16. MichaelA June 24, 2012 / 11:11 pm

    Stuart, your posts appear in the main to be thinking of every possible permutation and saying, “Well nobody can do all of that, so lets not do anything”. I don’t think the logic follows – every person can do what they can do. It all plays a part in a very large witness to the whole of society of what is right and wrong.

    To put it another way, If its not practicable to boycott the Metropolitan Police service, then don’t boycott them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t boycott Tesco.

    Your argument is essentially the same one that led so many people in the 19th century to refrain from supporting missionary activity – “If I support a missionary in West Africa, what about all the unsaved people in China where I can’t support a missionary. That is not being consistent. So I will do nothing instead and rely on the Lord to somehow save them in his own good time”. Superficially, the reasoning is very attractive.

  17. Stuart June 25, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    I don’t quite see it like that but the whole point is surely that just because someone has found out something about Tesco’s then it makes them an easy target..I don’t think that making the point that we don’t issue a questionnaire to everyone we buy from is being unfair or thinking of very permutation. It would be perfectly possible (though I think not a good idea) to say its practicable to boycott all shops owned by Muslims and Hindus. I was pondering the issue recently re people who support MUFC given their logo/nickname – personally I don’t like it but as I detest MU anyway its just another reason not to ever support them – and i think the point that all stores for instance sell Halloween stuff which I think is horrible and pandering to an interest in the occult and horror, is perfectly valid to be honest.I would wish they wouldn’t. It seems to me that this is a campaign that particularly revolves around one issue and runs the risk of making Christians look obsessed about sexuality related matters. What about Christians who work for Tescos – the kind of “oh you don’t shop at Tescos do you?” thing sounds like for some people it can be a kind of Christian PC to berate others with. I suppose I am interested esp about such topics as I have worked in areas where well intentioned but sorry to say ignorant people have said “can you really be a policeman (or a soldier) and a Christian?” (try looking at the CPA website and that question – as a rhetorical one – is on their front page). Of course it comes down to one’s conscience before God (as the matter I mentioned did for Conscientious Objectors re the military) but I do think that some people are also easily influenced by the opinion of others.
    And as said it sounds like (and probably due to the bad publicity) that they are not going to be supporting it again anyway.

  18. MichaelA June 25, 2012 / 11:14 pm

    Stuart, just to be clear, not only am I not suggesting we should “boycott all shops owned by Muslims and Hindus”, I am entirely opposed to the idea. I am very happy to shop at places owned by them and I think it is important for building cultural bridges anyway (although one can rapidly put on weight eating Muslims’ awesome traditional sweets!)

    However I would feel differently if said Muslim or Hindu chose to publicly advocate gay marriage in the course of their business. I think it is fair to say that fellow Muslims and Hindus would feel exactly the same way and the shop would rapidly go out of business (as it should).

    i agree that this is very much a matter for “one’s conscience before God.” If someone doesn’t feel an active call from the Lord to such a witness, then it shouldn’t be done.

  19. Phil Armond September 19, 2012 / 11:58 am

    Pathetic, people trying to force their point of view by saying the word “Marriage” only applies to a man & a woman, it’s 2012, the 21st Century, language changes. Anyone who has ever watched an antiques program and seen a piece of furniture that has been put together using two non original pieces is referred to as a “marriage”, yet no one objects to that word being used. Grow up and get a life of your own………assuming you believe in a “judgement day”, I hope your God looks at you and tells you…”you are a prat!”

    • theurbanpastor September 19, 2012 / 1:12 pm

      Thank you Phil for your gentle and considered response! I’ll treat it with the respect it deserves! Thanks for stopping by and may the God (not only my God) bless you.

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