In an example of Christianist activity, a tiny Christian group is attracting media attention after urging a boycott of Britain’s biggest retailer — and other Christians are saying nothing.
In 2003 the gay, Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan ‘christened’ the term Christianist to define the minority of protestant Christians who absorb most of the media attention, whether burning Korans or hating on the gays.
The number of Christians misrepresented by the Christian right is many.
The term “people of faith” has been co-opted almost entirely in our discourse by those who see Christianity as compatible with only one political party, the Republicans, and believe that their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone.
Urban Dictionary defines Christianist as:
A member of the Christian faith who seeks to use a religion of peace and tolerance for political and personal gain.
Like Westboro Baptist Church, the British group the Christian Institute is tiny but its press releases are legion.
It is calling for a boycott of Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, this Christmas in protest at a comment about “evil Christians” made by an employee on Flickr three years ago.
Head of research and development for the Tesco website, Nick Lansley, wrote on the photo website Flickr in 2008:
I’m campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners.
Following complaints the remark was removed.
The Christian Institute is only now protesting about Mr Lansley’s comment at the same time as it is objecting to a drink “degradingly called ‘p***y natural energy” being sold as a limited edition by the chain.
Christian Institute Director Colin Hart said:
I won’t be shopping at Tesco this Christmas, and I am repeatedly hearing from other Christians who have already come to the same conclusion.
Mr Lansley is entitled to his opinions, and Christians are entitled to choose not to shop at Tesco.
Mr Hart also criticised Tesco for reducing the amount of money it gives to Cancer Research UK — although five pence from the sale of each can of the drink the Institute objects to goes to the charity — and giving £30,000 (US$ 47,000) to the annual LGBT festival Pride London to fund a family area.
A Tesco spokesman said:
Mr Lansley’s comments, made in a personal capacity in 2008, in no way reflect the views of Tesco.
Our values as a company are such that we abhor criticism of any religion, and we knew nothing about Mr Lansley’s comments until they were brought to our attention.
We are very sorry that anyone might have thought that there was any blurring of the boundary between his personal comments and his work for Tesco. We have therefore asked him to remove the comments, and he has done so.
In none of the reporting of the boycott are other Christians quoted and no Christian organization has come out in opposition to the Christian Institute representing Christian opinion.
Image: Wikimedia Commons