Nathan Busenitz offered a take on the “Starbucks” controversy over at the Cripplegate.

He compared a Starbucks boycott due to the executive public proclamation that Starbucks generally supported gay marriage to the meat sacrificed to idols concept from Paul’s writings.

Let us note that Starbucks as an organization through their actions, the verbage on their cups, their advertising and even their logo has always made it clear through their actions where they stand on religious and social issues. The only difference has been the recent public proclamation by a single individual (to my knowledge) concerning tradition and homosexual marriage.

Here are my comments below that I left on the blog.

With all due respect, if I understand the context correctly – the food sacrificed to idols ‘controversy’ was about whether it was ok to even eat the food because it had been sacrificed to idols, NOT whether it was OK to support the sellers of the food.

The idea being that it was irrelevant whether purchasing the meat supported the false religious system of the day. But what was relevant were these facts:

  1. God declared all food clean.
  2. Therefore, it cannot be said to be sin for any man to eat that meat (in and of itself).
  3. But some men, WEAKER of faith, who do not understand this have been instructed not to violate their own conscience by eating the meat.
  4. Therefore, stronger brothers ought to also abstain out of love for the weaker (at times).

At no time was boycotting the industry altogether part of the discussion.

The essential component of the conscience-driven argument is that it must be said that the act is NOT inherently sinful. No Christian would allow another Christian to lie or practice sexual immorality under the guise that the believer’s conscience was OK with it. Do you see that? You can’t simply declare that something doesn’t violate your conscience and then do it. First of all, you are in effect calling anyone who believes it to be sin weaker. Secondly, maybe it is your conscience which doesn’t happen to be sensitive enough to sin and you are not rightly judging yourself and your actions! The first step is to search the scriptures and rightly interpret them to determine what is and what is not sin. What is free and what is not freedom. Then you must formulate your doctrine concerning the act. Why do you believe the act is sinful or why not based on the bible? That is the key.

So the question is – Is purchasing coffee at Starbucks in this context actually sinful? Can it be said that in light of what we know that it is an evil act to continue to support this organization? Or is Starbucks like any other organization which buys and sells and provides services.

Would you say it was OK for me to go to a Planned Parenthood in my town which does perform abortions if they also provided great man care at a good price? I could use the money I save going there to support a missionary.

Or what if Starbucks came out and said, “If you will not deny Christ, do not buy our coffee.” Would that be outrageous enough? Ought a Christian feel his conscience pricked by that? What if they just said, “Deny Christ and receive 50% off.” Would it be wise to do that in order to save money and give to a Xian cause?

Maybe it cannot said to be sin if someone doesn’t participate in the same boycotts. But Christians may do well to consider how to be wise when distributing the money God has given them.

Just some food for thought. What do you think?

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