Thirty years ago, Wal-Mart launched a “Buy American” campaign. Throughout their stores, they hung signs proclaiming they were a company that promoted American products. At the time, Wal-Mart was not well known in Michigan, but I remember my in-laws telling us about this new pro-American company from Arkansas. My in-laws were part of the World War II generation and easily bought into the “Buy American” theme. It wasn’t long before it was discovered that they bought their products from the cheapest source possible. This eventually resulted in many of their products being made in China. I have no problem with businesses making good business choices for themselves. I just think it’s sad when they claim to be a business more motivated by anything other than profit.
Wal-Mart is an international corporation motivated by profit and is very successful in what they do. I see a great benefit in their efficiency efforts for providing affordable products for people. As part of my work in the ministry, I travel to El Salvador regularly. The entrance of Wal-Mart into that country has increased product availability, making things more affordable. There is nothing wrong with good business; it can be good for the company and good for the consumer. I do, however, think corporations should stay true to their mission of profitability without pretending to be socially conscious. If they want to be more socially conscious, a great place for them to start would be paying their employees a livable wage.
The Battle for What is Moral
The reason I am making this observation is because of the recent controversy over religious freedom laws in our country. Indiana and Arkansas passed laws to protect religious people from being forced to participate in situations they would find morally wrong. The major issue of debate has to do with participating in same sex marriages.
The reason a Christian would object to this is not because of a desire to discriminate against people, but to be faithful to the word of God.
The governors of these states moved-in to water-down these laws because of the pressure of big business. Wal-Mart was on the forefront of pressuring the governor of Arkansas against this law. There is no doubt in my mind that profit motivation is behind this choice as with all the other choices they make. As Christians, our moral stand is based upon the Word of God. I say Wal-Mart and all businesses should stay in their calling and deal with the issues that they are responsible for and leave the preaching to somebody else. A business should keep to their purpose to make a profit, make an effort to make the business beneficial to those they serve, and make every effort to help their employees by sharing the profits of business. In so doing, they would then be able to help all people regardless of their sexual orientation!
Christians are Called to Think!
I’m not calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart or big box stores in general, but I am asking Christians to be a thinking people and to be advocates of Truth. Now is the time when we will need to know what we believe and be willing to stand in the midst of great adversity!