(This is a Guest Post from John Leek's new blog: JohnLeek.com His new blog will focus mainly on the intersection of Christian faith and culture. Head on over and say hello!)
As a resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, who has fished in the Gulf and enjoyed the natural beauty of the marshes and islands, I have plenty of reason to be upset with British Petroleum. They, and the folks they contract with, have made an awful mess and it can be incredibly upsetting to mind and body to watch the oil continue to move on the news. Plus, BP seems to have a pattern of playing it fast and loose with those regulations meant to protect employees and the public.
BP needs to make this right and seems to be trying to do so. Unfortunately some groups, including some I've supported in the past, have decided to "boycott BP." They seem to want to encourage anger toward BP's individual gas stations for the purpose of gaining new contact information and donations. This is troublesome because it is misdirecting anger and could hurt individual station owners.
These people seem to ignore the fact that most of these gas stations are owned by individual Americans, many of them immigrants, who are just as powerless to do anything about the spill as you and I.
I stopped by the gas station pictured here in Ocean Springs today and the cashier shared that business doesn't appear to have changed; so boycott talk may all be bluster, but its presence in antagonistic and unproductive.
As Christians we are taught to seek after truth and to do no harm to other people. We should be careful to take care not to jump into attacking people for perceived wrongdoing. We should especially be careful when in doing so we might harm people without cause and to no greater purpose. Let's encourage our friends and neighbors to do the same.