I was horrified when I found out that Amazon was selling books that instructed pedophiles on how to go about their sick and criminal activities. Horrified. I was outraged when I found out that Amazon defended that decision as an issue of free speech and not wanting to implement “censorship” by dictating what their readers could and could not buy. That was the most cowardly and illogical thing they could have said. I was livid – and I’m not exaggerating, as I’m prone to do. I decided to boycott them, write letters, call, etc.
Here was my thinking: The public outcry that occurred caused Amazon to remove the book from their site, even if temporarily. So obviously, to some degree, public input does effect what a company will or will not sell. Their decision to sell that kind of material was morally corrupt at best but also hypocritical and legally questionable. See this article for more information on that. It was also a ridiculously stupid marketing blunder. I wanted to vote with my dollars by not supporting them while they sold that filth, I wanted to voice my intense disgust with them by writing and calling, and I wanted to make my friends and family (and a lot of acquaintances on facebook) mildly uncomfortable, yet more informed, by talking about it.
But I’ve changed my thinking a bit. I’m still horrified. I’m still livid. But I’m changing my approach to Amazon:
- I’m still going to vote with my dollars. But this time, by continuing to support the wholesome products and sellers that get a lot of traffic through Amazon. And obviously not buying things that are not wholesome. I probably will buy more through christianbook.com though just to support them.
- It’s not practical to boycott every company that sells questionable material. I’d have to avoid gas stations and grocery stores that sold porn, or book stores that sold anything morally questionable to me, among other things. That’s not practical or even effective.
- Boycotting isn’t what tends to bring about change – at least not in these types of situations. But one thing that can bring about change is writing lots of letters and making lots of calls, as well as raising awareness. Many people have no idea that this crap is sold on Amazon. They should be informed and then make their own decisions about what they want to do about it.
Some people have argued that I should be just as upset about other immoral materials sold on Amazon (or by other companies), and not just with those that support pedophilia. I think this is incorrect. Yes, I do take offense to many activities that I consider immoral on a biblical basis and I take offense to products that support that activity. However, for me this crosses the line and is even more offensive – enough to compel me to further action. Children are a special class of citizen that should be protected at great cost. Books that describe how to victimize them are not something I can just shrug my shoulders at. Not to mention that these books promote an illegal activity! The fact that we’ll defend people’s right to “free speech” as they promote illegal and sickening activity shows how far we’ve sunk as a society.
I’m actually shocked that more people aren’t upset about it. I’m shocked that so few will even talk about it. I often wonder if they have a different opinion and just don’t want to open that can of worms, or maybe they’d prefer to turn a blind eye and focus on their own lives. Or maybe they just don’t know what to think. What about you?
So that’s that. My Christmas shopping is nearly done, so I won’t likely be buying anything from them for a while anyway, but I probably will buy worthwhile products through them in the future. However, I do think that it is very important to raise as much of a ruckus as I can about this – to them and others. For me, because of how God has pressed this issue on my heart, to not say anything and not effectively protest it would be wrong. I absolutely dread calling or emailing Amazon about this, but I will.
What will you do? Are there other issues out there in the world that God presses on your heart, even if they’re uncomfortable for you? How do you find the courage and strength to effect the most change in that area?
James 4:17 – If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.