Saturday, November 25, 2006

Should Wal-Mart Be Boycotted...Or What?

News from the consumer front this Christmas shopping season --

Wal-Mart has recently issued a public statement suggesting it will forego corporate contributions to "highly controversial issues." This is clearly a response to the boycott engendered by groups who opposed Wal-Mart's connections with groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Wal-Mart had given $25,000 just last summer to the group in order to become a partner. Also, the company gave $60,000 to Out and Equal, an organization which says it is working to promote gay-rights concerns in the workplace.

The American Family Association, a key player in the Wal-Mart boycott, is taking the announcement as a victory and urging those who had joined the boycott to desist and even send Wal-Mart a thank-you.

I'm not so sure this isn't somewhat premature. After all, the Wal-Mart statement is not only bland but it is empty of any real substance. No apology; no explanation of what they deem "highly controversial issues"; and the inclusion of the troubling affirmation "unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers."

Indeed, Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president of communications, said that the company would continue working with the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and other gay-rights groups on specific issues such as workplace equality.

"Going forward, we would partner with them on specific initiatives. . . . As to opposed to just giving blanket support to their general operating budget," she said.

So, is the American Family Association giving up too quickly? And are they giving up without making Wal-Mart show evidence of a change of heart regarding further promotion of the homosexual agenda? I think so.

The Family Research Council, Operation Save America, and others who had urged the boycott have yet to be heard from following the Wal-Mart announcement and one can only guess whether they will find Wal-Mart's statement satisfactory. I do not...and so my Christmas shopping dollars will still carefully avoid going into Wal-Mart coffers.