Why #boycottTarget is Not the Issue

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If you pay any attention to social media, you have seen the #boycottTarget hashtag. Petitions are being formed and hundreds of thousands are flocking to sign them. I have seen flyers circulating telling people to stop shopping at Target, to call your local store manager and express your disappointment, to stand out front and make your voice known, and even one which suggested printing more and hanging them in your church.

Normally I like to shy away from political things. I would rather write about sunshine and unicorns than anything politically popular, but sometimes something just strikes a chord in me so today I have to add my voice to the myriad of voices speaking for and against the decision made by Target Executives.

Because the thing is, Target is not the issue. Changing the bathroom policy isn’t the problem.  And quite frankly, 500,000 of you boycotting Target because of it is frustrating. I get it. I get you are scared. I understand you want to protect your wives and daughters. I understand the statistics on rape and sexual assault. But what I don’t understand is why it took something like bathrooms to cause you to raise your voice.

Where have you been the last 5, 10 years as human trafficking has continually been on the rise? Why are you not boycotting companies who use slave labor in their supply chains?  Why have we allowed runaways to fall through the cracks and into the hands of pimps who care less about them? Why are we so concerned over our daughters using Target’s bathroom, but not equally enraged about the girl working in our local strip clubs? Or the 12 year old being sold online to the highest bidder? Or the person working 18 hours a day for pennies to make the dress we will wear once?

#boycottTarget may be your platform today, but what happens if you succeed? What happens if Target reverses their decision? Do you immediately breathe a sigh of relief because your daughters are safe and resume your Target shopping?  Have you really done anything to change the underlying problem or simply convinced Target they need a new PR manager? And what about the trans-gendered who have been equated with sexual predators?  How do they recover from all of this? I may not understand or agree with the lifestyle, but I know I was commanded by Jesus to love the least of these. And when I read a post referring to how small the trans-gendered population is (as justification for the lack of need for any type of policy), I can’t help but think, are they not among the least of these? Are they  not children of God as well?

We live in a dark world. I can relate to the fear. I get the anger. But I also know perfect Love casts out all fear. And I want so desperately for those around me to see it’s not about Target. It’s about the bigger issue. It’s about fighting for a world where sexual perversion is not welcomed, accepted, or allowed. It’s about fighting for the least of these whether they be the girl in the strip club or the runaway from the down the road or the 12 year old on Backpage. And it’s ultimately about how the Church shines the light of Jesus in a dark, broken world.

So please before you call your local Target manager and express your disgust over a policy they had ZERO control over, call your state senator and ask them to increase funding for safe houses and sexual violence prevention and education programs.  Take a minute to stop and pray for the trafficked, the trans-gendered, and your own sons and daughters.  And if you still feel you need to #boycottTarget, do it quietly.   Because those of us working each and every day to fight for the least of these want you to use your voice for the bigger issue, not over who can use a bathroom.