June 7, 2022
Letter to the Editor
As a Southern Baptist minister for 40-plus years, I have been privileged to align myself with the beliefs, doctrines and cultural mandates for all Southern Baptists and Christians living in today’s society.
I urge the convention, the Executive Committee, and all Southern Baptists not to make the same mistake we did in 1997. The Disney boycott of 1997 did not work. What it did do was create animosity between Southern Baptists and the entire nonbelieving world. Our biblical mandate from the Sermon on the Mount is twofold: We are to be light of this world and we are to be salt. When we boycotted Disney, we took our light, held it high, and said, “See my light? I am going to hide it and refuse to share with you.”
While we may not like a corporation’s political or cultural stance, our mandate is to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Our job is not to make an R-rated world into a G-rated world that conforms to our biblical standards.
If Jesus had taken the same approach, he would have been holding a sign in front of the proconsul’s house reading “No more crucifixion.” But he didn’t. Why? He was focused on his mission of building God’s kingdom.
In fact, we should celebrate as we know the effectiveness of the gospel is multiplied as the world spirals further away toward a godless society.
I therefore propose that instead of a boycott, or in Al Mohler’s words, “make a show in the marketplace,” that we mobilize every church in Central Florida, Anaheim, and every other Disney city to become salt.
When Disney is begging for up to 50,000 new employees, we should find every “on fire for Jesus” person we can and have them apply for a job. Light can be seen from a long way off, but salt, to be effective, must be rubbed into the meat. If you want to change Disney, do it from the inside, not from the outside.
For the convention, it is foolish to bypass Disneyland, which is right next door to the convention center. Most of the hotels near the convention center are labeled as friends of Disney.
Are you going to boycott them as well? Instead of complaining about discounted tickets to Disneyland, make plans to flood the park with the idea to pray with every employee working.
Today, Southern Baptists are better known for what we don’t do rather than what we do. 1 Timothy 3:7 says, “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” Our reputation will continue to erode if we act like the world. This has to change.
We are not talking of affirming or justifying, but people need to know two things, that Jesus loves them and that we love them (Matthew 22). Stop acting like the arbiter of culture and start acting like a soul winner who has a passion for people no matter their beliefs, station, orientation or worldview.
James G. Tippins, Murrells Inlet, S.C.