So, About the Amazon Thing…

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

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About GirlDuck

I am a wife, mother, and homemaker who loves Jesus. I am married to an amazing man, Aaron, and I have three fantastic kids. I write this blog mostly to share information with others, record things for my own future reference, and pour out just a bit of my heart.
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4 Responses to So, About the Amazon Thing…

  1. Saundra says:

    One has to pick their battles to begin changing the world. If no one does anything – nothing gets done. If no one has an opinion, or does not share – no one will hear it, or respond. I still plan to boycott Amazon. Boycotts do work and if a christian company is making money through Amazon, then they will not get my business either. Will it make a difference? Don’t know until we try.

    • GirlDuck says:

      That’s awesome to see someone taking a stand for what they believe in! I may be wrong, but my impression is that you’d have to then boycott any Christian publisher or author that didn’t pull it’s books from Amazon. Because Amazon is more of a universal market, that doesn’t make much sense to me. Another thing I was thinking about for how we might effectively use to fight against this kind of thing is to support or be active in organizations that are taking legal action in these situations. I usually support what the ACLJ does. I haven’t looked into whether they or another organization are doing anything. I imagine someone is though.

  2. Annette says:

    I gotta admit that I’ve taken a head-in-the-sand approach to this one. I do purchase from Amazon and their affiliated shops pretty regularly – at least as regularly as I do any online purchasing – and I haven’t maybe wanted to know much about this current controversy since they’re such a darned Convenient place to buy.
    You’re right that we cannot easily boycott everyone that sells something we find objectionable or engages in any sort of business practice we disagree with. At various points in my life I’ve considered boycotting Chinese made products because of their government’s generally inhuman treatment of – well – everyone, especially Christians. That, however, would require me not to purchase about 98% of consumer products since you can all but guarantee that even if the label doesn’t say “made in China,” some component or another was – even if it was the equipment at the factory. And then I ask myself what difference my boycott would make if extended to even a reasonable portion of the population that agrees with me. Well, it might sink China’s economy. Does that really Help the people living under that regime? Or does it make their bad situation worse? What’s the goal? To foment revolution? To get them to treat their workers better? To get them to free political and religious prisoners? In what way is my boycott increasing the likelihood of the desired outcome? And I end up answering “no.” Either “no, I don’t even know precisely what goal I am looking for here, I am just upset in general with the way that government treats people,” or “no, a boycott wouldn’t help free Christian prisoners or end the one-child policy, etc.”
    Of course this may merely be a convenient way for me to justify continuing to use using my laptop, driving my car, and buying clothes & toys for my children. I can’t truly trust my logic when I am so far from being “disinterested” in the answer.
    An extreme example, but probably applicable to the Amazon scenario as well. Do we need to harm the thousands of comparative innocents who make their livings in some way connected with that site? Or, was it “enough” to get them to pull this most egregious example?

    Not formulating my thoughts very well, but I think in general I am agreeing with you. The incident has soured me on Amazon a bit and may push me to take some of my business elsewhere. But while there is a time and a place for boycotts, I think you’ve got to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with ’em – and if “voting with your dollars” might not be of more use towards a different goal.

    • GirlDuck says:

      Yah I hear ya. I think the main thing that I’ve learned is that my motivation behind any action I take is important as well as making sure that whatever action I take actually makes a difference. I think some things actually do, based on the research I’ve done. Those are things like writing letters, taking legal action or supporting those who do, raising awareness, etc. Boycotting only seems to work in specific markets and with specific producer/consumer relationships. I don’t think Amazon is one of those. But that doesn’t excuse me from doing the other stuff! I agree about being “soured” on Amazon. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering from them for a while simply because I’m mad at them and don’t feel good about using them.

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