Taking on the Corporations

Wal-Mart Watch is just one of the many organizations demanding changes from the Arkansas-based retail giant accused of providing low wages, insufficient benefits, and unjust treatment to its millions of employees. When looking around their web site, I was surprised to find a 16-page Faith Resource Guide (pdf) as well as a sermon registration form for clergy planning to address Wal-Mart's corporate practices during Higher Expectations Week (November 13-19).

Of course, I shouldn't be surprised; anti-Wal-Mart activism is just a new wrinkle in a strong movement of Christians advocating different values from powerful corporations. The most common example of this type of political engagement is the boycott, including the famous and long-running Southern Baptist boycott of Disney (which ended just this year) and the more recent AFA boycott of Ford, both for the companies' policies on gays, but such activism also encompasses actions like the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s divestment of holdings in corporations doing business in Israel.

I'm curious if any of you have participated in a boycott or other protest against a corporation. More generally, do you think boycotts and other actions to pressure corporations are an effective way for Christians to change society?

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