Socially Responsible?

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It is a source of never ending wonderment to me that businesses cannot be about doing business, ethically and morally, and leave social agendas out of their business. After all, what is business about anyway? Businesses exist for the purpose of production and trade of goods and services. That is all. So long as it is done morally and ethically, and has a legitimate product or service, there is nothing to hinder a business from functioning.

However, the leaders of business cannot seem to understand that they would do well to abide by the purpose of business and leave social agendas out of their business. The problem here is that business is not some faceless entity. Rather, businesses consist of individuals working in concert to promote, produce and sell a product and/or service to other individuals or businesses. As such, all decisions made by a business are ultimately individual decisions. One cannot cast off the responsibility of a decision a business makes if one was involved in the decision making process. Even when a decision is spread among the members of a board or committee, everyone involved in the decision shares responsibility for that decision — even when they do not agree with it.

One can argue with that, but from a Scriptural point of view, this is very much the case as the LORD God deals with entities in very much the same way he deals with individuals. We are shown this in the incident that was caused by Achan’s taking and possession of the accursed thing:

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. (Joshua 7:1-5)

And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Joshua 7:10-12)

The flip side of this coin is operable as well as the Scripture demonstrates in the matter of Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech:

And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. (Genesis 20:1-7)

Throughout the Scripture, it is evident this is the way the LORD deals with the collective endeavors of individuals (entities), whether it is nations, churches, businesses, families, etc. If they are led by those who hate the things of God, then the LORD curses them. If they are led by those who wish to do that which is right in the sight of God, then He blesses. Even if they do that which is displeasing, as in the case of Abimelech, the LORD has mercy. However, we find that not to be the case with Israel and Achan’s sin. Moreover the really sad part is what happened to the thirty-six men who died because of Achan’s sin.

What is the difference between Abimelech and the Philistines, Achan and Israel, and how the LORD God dealt with them respectively? It is a little something called “prior knowledge.” You see, it was customary for men to take more than one wife at the time of Abimelech, and in his ignorance Abimelech took Sarah to wife unlawfully. This was not the case with Achan and Israel. All Israel was expressly instructed that no one was to touch any accursed thing in Jericho. That all spoil was to be burned with certain express materials reserved to the LORD. Failure to obey this command would bring a curse upon the individual and all Israel. Thus, all Israel had “prior knowledge” of what God required of them. This is in contrast to Abimelech and the Philistines who had no “prior knowledge,” and thus were not accursed for Abimelech’s error.

What then does this have to do with modern business and social agendas? Everything. The principles at work here are identical. It is not the purview of business to engage in social “engineering.” Rather, the concern of business is the production and trade of a product or service regardless of who benefits from it. The constraint upon business is morality and proper ethics in all their dealings. It should not concern a business whether a customer’s religion is “approved” by the majority or not. Nor should a business promote one “lifestyle” over another, and the same applies to the political views of its customers. No business should engage in promoting a particular belief over another unless that is expressly why they are in business in the first place. The requirement upon a business is to do that which is just and right in all its dealings.

So what are the consequences of not following the admonition given above? Well, it has everything to do with “prior knowledge” which is available to all in the form of the Bible. We have all already been told what is expected of us. We have all, already been warned by the word of God and history what happens when we refuse to heed the warnings. Moreover, when we refuse to heed them, we will not be treated like Abimelech and the Philistines at the time of Abraham. No, we will be treated more like Israel was in the trespass of Achan — we will be cursed.

The sad part of going against the express will of God is that whose who are not even involved in the decision-making process, will suffer. The employees of Wal-mart, McDonald’s, Cisco, AT&T, American Airlines, Merck and many others will suffer needlessly because the leadership of their companies refuse to heed the warnings given in Scripture about approving of, and supporting that which is an abomination to God. Instead, they have attempted to cover up their wickedness by the clarion call of “social responsibility.”

We should all remember that America was founded with a dependence upon God as her founding document so clearly states:

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; . . .
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The leaders of certain companies in America may have forgotten this, but Almighty God has not. He will hold them accountable.

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