Recently, Paypal, an internet payment company that is related to the internet auction site, Ebay, made a decision to withdraw their plans to build a global operations center in North Carolina. (Link to Paypal's corporate release).They said their decision was based on a new law in North Carolina, which they claim denies people in the LGBT community equal rights, and therefore goes against their values. They were referring to a new law in North Carolina, HB2 which mandates that bathroom and changing facilities that are used by multiple people at a time, only be used by people of the same biological sex. (Link to the NC Bill).
This state bill was written in response to a Charlotte, North Carolina regulation that was going to allow anyone to use any bathroom or changing facility based upon their self identification rather than their biological sex. What this would have meant is that all businesses and public facilities would have been required to allow a biological man, who identified as a woman, or a biological woman who identified as a man to use whatever facility they wanted based on their own gender identity.
The Charlotte regulation allowing transgender bathroom use was not the first of its kind in the county, but the state bill responding to it really is the first time a political entity has pushed back in a big way.
This situation has lead me to ask some questions about what my response should be as a citizen, a consumer, and as a Christian. Do I have any responsibilities to not do business with companies that are doing immoral things or that are promoting harmful policies? If so when do I make that decision, because every company is run by sinful humans and will at some point do something that I find wrong or that does not 100% agree with my point of view.
Many of the companies whose products I use are run by people who have different values than I do as a conservative Christian, but I still use them. This blog will be posted on blogger, a Google site, Facebook, and Twitter. I am quite sure that all of them have executives who have a very different view of sexual morality than I do, but I am continuing to use them for the moment.
In this case though I am going to stop using Ebay and Paypal because of their very public and political stance on an issue that I believe could lead to very harmful situations for innocent people, including innocent children. In their desire to support the gender identity of limited number individuals, they risk violating the privacy of the rest population. If we cannot have bodily privacy in bathroom and changing areas, then where can we expect to have them.
My rationale for making this decision is based on the public move by Paypal. Likewise, a few years ago, Mozilla fired their CEO, Brendan Eich, because he had given a donation to the Prop 8 campaign in California in support of traditional marriage. Like Paypal, Mozilla was making a public statement that traditional values are going to be actively opposed by the company. How can I continue to support a company that actively promotes harmful behavior or actively opposes my own worldview?
Now this is not an easy decision for me because I have been a regular of Paypal and Ebay for years because their products and sites have benefitted me. I have bought and sold products on Ebay recently and used Paypal as my primary payment method to both receive payment and to pay others. Therefore, this decision will have a cost for me, but I am hoping that though my actions and words (and other like me) it may also have a cost for Paypal, letting them know that they cannot actively support policies that directly contradict values of a number of their customers.
In making this decision, I am not trying to say that anyone else must do as I do, but rather encouraging you to at least think about your morals and how you are interacting with the world around you.
I have included with following this post the letter that I sent to Paypal explaining my decision.
I encourage you to think deeply about your values and how they affect your life. Paypal executives are making decisions based on their values and so should we.
To whom it may concern:
I have used Ebay and Paypal for a number of years now. I am not a huge user, but I have done consistent business and as the IT guy in my family I have also directed other people to use your business. For instance, I purchased and sold a number of items on Ebay with Paypal as my primary payment method. I have also used your credit card scanner in a small business and encouraged a family member to use it as well.
I read the text of North Carolina HB2 concerning use of bathroom and changing facilities and biological gender, and not only can I find nothing wrong with the bill, I can agree with its sentiments. The idea written into some laws and municipal codes that bathroom and changing room use should be determined by the beliefs / orientation of the individual rather than biology will and has lead to the violation of the rights of other individuals right to bodily privacy.