Though I have already signed and FULLY support the American Family Association (AFA) boycott of Target for putting kids (especially little girls) at risk of sexual predators in Target bathrooms, I also took an additional step suggested by an article I read recently on the Target policy.
Fr. John Lankeit takes the Target boycott one step farther.
The article suggested going into your local Target store, asking for the manager and respectfully expressing one’s deep concern and disappointment in the corporate policy. As a Catholic priest and a pastor of a parish with thousands of parishioners and with a TV Mass that reaches many thousands more, I wanted the manager to know that I was not coming in as an isolated individual but on behalf of many Catholics who aren’t going to sit on the sidelines for this one.
So, I met with Joseph, the on-duty store manager, introduced myself and handed him my business card (“God card”). I told him that as an individual, I regularly shopped at this particular store for everything from socks (black of course!) to toiletries to the best orange cranberry nut muffins on the planet. I then explained I have a parish with thousands of parishioners, many of whom, if they take their relationship with Jesus seriously, intend to find alternatives to Target. I “targeted” the corporate policy (instead of saying “you”–as in “you, Joseph”) that puts little girls in danger because any man can, under the “guise” of this policy, hide behind the euphemism “gender” and go into a girls bathroom with impunity.
To put a finer point on the whole conversation I said, “If any organization has learned the hard way the importance of protecting children, it’s the Catholic Church. So you can imagine, this troubling policy hits very close to home for me.”
I think, if anything got his attention, it was THAT comment because it showed a willingness on my “organization’s” part to face reality when grave evil entered into the picture and children were deeply hurt and damaged.
I did not do this today because I have a lot of hope that it will change Target’s policy–that’s what the online petition aims at. I did it because planting the seeds of Truth is not optional for a Catholic–and this conversation with Joseph may have opened HIS mind and heart enough to make him rethink his personal “policy” on the consequences of looking the other way in the face of very evil and immoral activities in our culture…which always, ultimately, damage children the most.
If you REALLY care about this issue, please go in and talk to the manager and your local Target store–RESPECTFULLY and without any “vibe” that makes them feel attacked, personally.
It’s not about changing corporate policy as much as changing the heart of the person in front of you.
I think Jesus would consider this approach to be…”on Target”!