The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention joined Missouri Baptists in setting the stage for a possible boycott of Wal-Mart over policies friendly toward gays.
Unlike an earlier Missouri Baptist Convention resolution, the Texas statement actually uses the word “boycott,” albeit in a “whereas” paragraph that observes, “Boycotts are a legitimate method for communicating moral convictions.”
The resolution urges Texas Southern Baptists to “give serious prayerful reconsideration to their purchases and support of Wal-Mart,” and calls for Baptist families “to reflect biblical values with their purchasing power, letters and influence.”
The resolution requests the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to “monitor Wal-Mart’s progress in returning to its previous philosophy of family values image.”
Long scorned by liberals for its labor practices, Wal-Mart recently alienated Christian fundamentalists by entering a partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
The American Family Association is calling for a one-day boycott of the retailer on the Friday following Thanksgiving, the biggest shopping day of the year. Operation Rescue/Operation Save America is organizing an “outreach” event the same day including a flyer claiming “Wal-Mart is being blackmailed by the radical homosexual agenda.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention earlier adopted a resolution encouraging Baptists in that state to “exercise moral stewardship” in their shopping, wording modeled from a previous SBC Disney boycott that convention leaders said Wal-Mart lawyers would understand as a warning.
The Alabama Baptist State Convention passed a milder resolution also critical of Wal-Mart, encouraging the retailer to change its policies and asking Alabama Baptists to “pray that corporate leaders at Wal-Mart as well as other companies will conduct their business in accordance with biblical principles.”
Should momentum build for an eventual Wal-Mart boycott by the Southern Baptist Convention, it would eclipse the 1997 Disney boycott. Southern Baptists called off that effort in 2005, saying it had made its point. Observers said it had little impact on Disney’s policies or bottom line.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.