Taking Aim at Target: The Bible vs. Culture

By Milo Jones | Posted May 30, 2023

When Target stores across America rolled out their 2023 Pride collection—with messages such as “live laugh lesbian” and “cure transphobia not trans people”—some consumers expressed outrage. Several news outlets even reported that people were confronting store employees and vandalizing LGBTQ displays. On May 24, the company released a statement explaining such “volatile circumstances” were behind its decision to remove some of its LGTBQ+ apparel.

This comes on the heels of a Bud-Light boycott after parent company Anheuser-Busch paid a transgender influencer to advertise its now-infamous alcoholic drink. “This month I celebrated my day 365 of womanhood,” said Dylan Mulvaney on Instagram, “and Bud Light sent me possibly the best gift ever—a can with my face on it.” Since the ad’s appearance on April 1, America’s favorite beer has lost $15.7 billion in market value.

Now the department store is feeling the effects of “Bud-Lighting,” the new strategy “to crush so-called rainbow capitalism by … calling for boycotts.” In one week, Target’s market value dropped nearly five times more than Bud Light’s did after its first week of boycott—$9 billion and counting.

Behind the Backlash

Catering to the LGBTQ+ crowd is nothing new for corporations. More and more have been doing so since Pride Month was first celebrated in June 2000: Adidas, Apple, Disney, LEGO, Levi’s, PetSmart, and Toms are just a few, with Target joining the ranks in 2012. So what’s causing more opposition than usual to this year’s campaigns? According to marketers, it’s the country’s political climate regarding gender-affirming care for minors.

Look at the legislation happening alongside the current boycotts. Just in May, the governor in Washington State signed a bill that allows minors seeking gender-affirming care to be sheltered from their estranged parents, while governors in Oklahoma, Florida, and Nebraska signed bills that prohibit gender-affirming care for minors. Legislation in other states is currently in progress.

What is “gender-affirming care”? As defined by the World Health Organization, “interventions designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity when it conflicts with the gender they were assigned at birth.” Interventions are offered on a continuum, from counseling to medication to surgery. But parents can rest assured that surgeries on a person’s chest or genitalia are “rarely” provided to minors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The political climate also involves public schools. GLSEN (“glisten,” the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) is an organization that “focuses on getting districts to adopt policies that will keep parents in the dark on their child’s in-school gender transition,” reported Fox News Digital on May 26. A Christian teacher in California recently lost her job for “refusing to comply with a district’s gender policies, which she said would have required her to lie to parents.” GLSEN seeks to integrate gender ideology at all curriculum levels in public schools—sometimes with sexually explicit books.

And—big surprise—GLSEN’s treasurer also serves as Target’s vice president of brand marketing. Said the retail giant, “We are proud of 10 plus years of collaboration with GLSEN and continue to support their mission.” So far, the retailer’s annual donations to the education group have totaled $2.1 million.

Putting the pieces together, we see what’s throwing gas onto the fire—a societal obsession with gender identities that doesn’t respect long-standing religious, social, and medical norms. 

Thus, when Target rolled out its 2023 Pride collection, many mothers took their fury to social media. In a TikTok video, one mother showed her disgust at finding, “in the kid’s section, keep in mind,” queer greeting cards and transgender swimwear. “They’re giving it to your kids,” she said. “If that doesn’t give you a reason to boycott Target, I don’t know what does, but this … is getting out of hand. They’re targeting children … and it’s time that people actually do something about it.” Another mother fumed on Twitter, “We’ve backed #Target into a corner for selling #Pride merch in the children’s section. Now we go for #Walmart. These woke companies need to know that enough is enough.”

 Safeguarding a Child’s Heart

How should Christian parents respond to all the Pride Month marketing—especially for consumer items aimed at their children? Certainly not with profanity-laced messages on social media, for our speech should “always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). If our “salt loses its flavor” (Matthew 5:13) because of cursing, how can we make people thirsty for the gospel?

And what about boycotting? Will that “protect our children”? So many companies are now supporting Pride Month that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a product that’s not affiliated in some way with a LGTBQ+ promoting retailer, whether it’s the smartphone in your hand or the vehicle that you drive. However you decide to approach companies that market LGTBQ+ products to children, ultimately, legislation and boycotts won’t do much to safeguard your children’s hearts.

Why? Because we’re in the midst of a systemic breakdown of morals that isn’t limited to the arena of retail warfare. 

That’s why the Bible offers sound counsel about how to actively raise your children: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7). Such children will not be swayed by such cultural confusion, for the words “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27) will be written on their hearts. (Be sure to read our recent blog about the effect social media has on young people.)

Because the Bible predicts “perilous times” for the last days (2 Timothy 3:1), with “evil men and imposters [growing] worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (v. 13), fixing our country’s moral problems is hopeless. However, we can help God fix individual people by showing them their true identity in Christ. (We have a youth conference starting June 7 to help young people do just that.)

For more information on how society has distorted God’s design for male and female, read Pastor Doug’s article “Unisex in Jesus?

Milo Jones
Milo Jones is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and lives in College Place, WA.

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