Is Walmart Evil? – Part 1 Corporations

I have been on the outs with Walmart for a while now for many reasons. So when I began to receive numerous e-mail forwards about how we should boycott Walmart because they are supporting the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, I didn’t think twice about joining them. In fact our family is ahead of the curve on this one as we have not shopped at Walmart in many months for other reasons I’ll get to shortly. In fact I feel a multi-part series coming on to attempt to explain this all. I think this is how I will attempt to break it down over the next several posts.

  1. Corporations
  2. Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism
  3. Local Economy vs. national economy
  4. Decentralization – a Biblical model for all areas of life
  5. Foolishness of political parties as a divide and conquer method of control

(That is a rough estimate of the direction I would like to take this conversation. Bear with me, ask questions and add comments where I leave something out, I want to be sure this is covered thoroughly.)
One of the e-mails I received said Walmart is “betraying it’s Christian roots”. I would have to take exception with this notion. First Walmart is a corporation, not an individual, therefore it has no Christian roots. A corporation is not human and therefore not subject to the emotions, thoughts, and reasoning processes that are built into all humans. Most of all it is not subject to the rule of God in it’s heart. It does not have one. Because of this, it can not betray anything. In fact, a corporation can only do what it was designed to do; make money. So in this sense, Walmart is staying true to it’s roots. It is making profit at all cost.
This is also one of the downsides to not being human. It is not judged by it’s character, but by it’s profits.
Now the concerning issue which has everyone up in arms is the profits are now being used to push an agenda. Which has always been the life cycle of a corporation since Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth”. The chief problem now is that those pushing the agenda have no morals. Sam Walton may have been a good Christian man, (we’ll leave that to God to decide) but he left a legacy of destruction that is only beginning to be realised. A legacy, I’m going to claim, was inherent in the corporation at it’s inception.
This is one of the shortfalls of a corporation and one of the reasons, I would personally make the claim that they are unbiblical. If the leadership is not moral, there is nothing that will restrain the corporation. The shareholders, as long as they are profiting will not restrain it, the employees who are dependant on the income will not restrain it, and the government that is built with it’s profits and generosity, will not restrain it. (Does anyone remember Enron?) I like the way R.L. Dabney put it. He said, “A corporation doesn’t have a soul to damn or a butt to kick.”
The Bible speaks to all the principles we need to build our life in a Godly manner. If all we had was the Bible and we were building a nation, where would we get the idea that we needed an unaccountable entity to help us make money? I’m not talking about joint partnerships or trading partners. I think we could support, both by example and specific needs, from the scriptures. I am talking about the specific purpose of a corporation. Why do we have them?
I have set them up and understand the nature of them. I have participated in them and worked for them. But why do we need them? What do they provide that a man, his family, or his business partners could not provide? Does the lack of a document calling a group a corporation prevent them from producing or manufacturing goods? Does it keep them from hiring other people to help them? What is the number one reason given for setting up a corporation? According to corporation.com its to avoid government audits and provide protection against personal liability. I’m not completely sure these are good things.
(Another point I’ll try to discuss more in the next piece is the government control that comes with being a creature of the state.)
In addition, it provides a vehicle to perpetuate the wealth that it creates outside of the Biblical means of the family. It is a perpetual partnership where the partners change, but the wealth stays in the corporation. God in his wisdom, knew the good and the bad great wealth could create. As such in the normal state of affairs, that is to say according to the biblical model, all wealth is held in a family and the father as the patriarch had complete control and responsibility of it.
Here is a means to insure that the next generation, who would control the money and set the agenda, was going to use it morally. The purpose of the Christian family was and is to glorify God and honor his commands. It is the father’s responsibility to train his family in these principles. If he failed in his training and the son was a rebellious man then he was disinherited and the father would pass on the wealth to someone who could manage it properly for the Glory of God. It should not be missed here that if a family as a whole became rebellious, then they would come under the judgement of God.
In the corporation, we do not have this control. In fact, the control of the money can be bought, which is common place today with buyouts and take overs. But the key difference is, there is not an individual who is going to be held accountable for how the wealth is used. Honoring God and bringing him glory is not part of the charter of a corporation. If it is part of the paper charter, it is not what it will be judged by. Wall Street only judges by the numbers. Again, the corporation is set up to make money and the only restraint placed upon it is that of the joint moral conscience or the board as pressured by the stock holders and legislated by the government. There is no ultimate accountability.
So here are the key points to the issue with corporations.

  1. They are not human – incapable of character
  2. They are set up solely to make money
  3. They are used to push social agendas
  4. They are not a biblical entity
  5. They shield those who make bad decision from being held accountable by the one’s they cause harm to
  6. They provide a perpetual means of controlling wealth outside of the biblical model of the family

We’ll continue this thread in a future post and discuss the difference between Capitalism and the Industrial Capitalism that came to fullness through the war for southern independence. In the mean time here is the information to contact Walmart and let them know how you feel about them working with The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

17 Comments

  • Hello Vaughn Family,
    We met in San Antonio at the Bootcamp. You have such a lovely family. I just came across your blogs from ‘Biblical Womenhood’,and I am very excited to show them to Kevin. This one you wrote about Walmart in particular speaks to things very important to Kevin. He left the corporate world just this past March after 22 years and he can explain many ungodly concepts in play in a corporate environment. Also he has an amazing testimony of the reaction of other men upon his leaving, some of them coming to him in tears.
    We had hoped to see your family on Friday but other responsibilites crept in so hopefully another day soon!
    With much love,
    The Powers Family

  • Greetings Paul,
    Those are good words. There is much to think about in them. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on smaller corps., that do not have shareholders and are designed to help protect sole-owners from legal action. I would also be interested in hearing your thoughts on non-profit 501c3, and if this is a valid biblical approach to forming an organization.
    Ultimately, all of those entities I named are subject to the rule of the government in one form or another, yet they do offer means of checks and balances and ultimately the possibility of sole responsibility.

  • James Miller says:

    Hey Paul,
    It has been a long time since we have talked or seen each other. You words sound all too familiar. It reminded or our days at Texas Instruments and Acer America. Anyway, I agree with your wisdom. I have a question similar to the previous reply. What about church organizations? I pastor a small church, not really large enough to have a board, which I already know how the Lord wants be to establish, and definitely not large enough to incorporate. I would like to know what you see as the biblical approach to establish the ‘government’ of a church entity.
    Talk to you soon,
    James
    P.S. We really need to get together sometime before the rapture, lol. My kids are growing up fast, as I’m sure yours are.

  • At the risk of not getting around to a true response to these questions, let me try a quick post and hopefully as this series continues I’ll touch on each of these in more detail.
    First the point of a small corporation as an entity for protection in today’s litigious culture.
    I think there are two different ways I would answer this depending on my responsibilities. Were I involved in rebuilding a culture and debating, legislating, or voting on legislation I would soundly and unequivicably reject the idea of corporations from the smallest to the largest. It is a bad idea and the fruit is destructive.
    However, getting from the place we are today to the place where we may be able to rebuild a culture is a different story. I would hold the principles being discussed in this series is the thing to consider. I personally will no longer participate in a large corporation because of the fruit I have seen come out of them and the dangers that it poses to my family.
    However, I can think of two semi legitimate arguments that could be made. One may be the role of a spoiler, or a spy in a large corporation. The second is to participate in a small corporation that understands these principles and is building an organization to change the model we operate under. A reforming corporation for lack of a better term.
    In today’s society it will be extremely difficult to build any substantial wealth without participating in the system that has been accepted and promoted in our culture. It is possible to make a living and support a family outside of this concept, but personally I don’t see a way to make the huge amounts of capital needed to be a contender on the larger stage.
    I will be making the case that one does not need to compete on the national and international arena to bring about reform though. In addition, having huge amount of paper capital may not be the best position to be in in the years to come.
    To the point of a church entity. A church does not have to be a corporation. We are a church who is a church, not a 501(c)3. There is one form needed to get a bank account which was not needed prior to 9/11. It is the taxpayer ID form. You can not open a bank account without it. So that is a choice the church must make. Will it operate on a strictly cash basis, or will it be able to cash checks and participate in the market place with the modern purchasing methods.
    The principle of liberty that is being challenged by this new law is that the church must have the permission of the state to open a bank account and have the same purchasing and giving facilities as other organizations and individuals.
    The larger Biblical question is simply how does God command his church to be structured. We believe in an elder lead assembly that functions as a decentralized government which supports and encourages the governments of the households by the fathers. The civil government has no say or authority of this matter except in free societies to support and encourage the atonomy of the church and the family.

  • Lisa says:

    I must comment, albeit a little late as this is October, on the Wal-Mart posts. I agree with most everything you’ve discussed. The major problem is…most people cannot afford to simply go to the next store which has the HIGHER prices to do their shopping, myself included. We are a single income, 5 children, Christian, homeschooling family of 7. It is harmful to MY budget to go to another store simply to “hurt” Wal-Mart. They will not miss my xxx dollars because not very many people are going to change their shopping habits because of the reasons stated. Yes, I agree that they have the monopoly. They basically can just call the shots. But there’s very little that we as basic, middle income familes can do to stop it. Not to mention the extremely low income and the non-english speaking populations.
    Very similar to the Christian society today. We have let, and let, and let (in other words “allowed”) until now we are rediculed, mocked, scorned, and bascially unbelieved. “Well! If THAT’S what a Christian is(or if that’s how a Christian acts) then I don’t want anything to do with it. Or:”Well what makes them any better than me?”. Or:”Well, we need to be TOLERANT of others”. You have the few Bible believing, Bible teaching, Holy Spirit-lead churches but they aren’t changing much with the overall moral picture of Christianity in America today. People are too full of themselves to deny themselves and REALLY follow Christ. BUT, Christ said that things would wax worse and worse. Many are calling for a great revival, but Jesus mentions nothing about a revival in the last days. He said everything would only worsen and we are to lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh.
    Thank you for your blog/site.It is very encouraging and insightful. I look forward to the posts!
    Lisa

  • Lisa,
    I appreciate your comment and understand the challenges as we live in this industrial world.
    My wife has done a great job of “beating them at their own game” if you will. If you are interested she has made some great posts on the subject on here blog:
    http://www.birthdynamics.com/blog/
    She is also currently working on a book called “The Homemakers Guide to Extreme Grocery Shopping”. We are transitioning away from the normal grocery store dependency and are excited about the potential of eating our own food all the time.
    We are still a long ways off from complete independence, but there is something special the first time you sit down to a meal and realize that everything on the table came from your land. (or perhaps a neighbor if you trade)
    The irony is, this use to be the norm for most of the population. Today it is a strange thing indeed if anyone eats food from their own land. My wife also has some pixs of our future meals as we are raising 50 chickens currently as part of this process.
    I do differ with you on the end times. I hope to post one day on this soon. The view you have laid out is the view I was taught growing up. But it has a very recent history in Christendom. Until the late 1700s most of Christendom believed that Christ was coming back for a spotless bride and that he was not coming back until Psalm 110 (The most quoted old testament passage in the new testament- 14 times) was fulfilled.
    Like I said I do hope to post on this more later. It makes for a great study. A good introductory study on this is a book called, “A Conquering Faith”, by William O. Einwechter.
    Thanks again for the comment.

  • Hello, Paul.
    Excellent posts with which I agree almost entirely. But I want to address a bit of a compromise you are willing to make.
    You wrote:
    “However, I can think of two semi legitimate arguments that could be made. One may be the role of a spoiler, or a spy in a large corporation. The second is to participate in a small corporation that understands these principles and is building an organization to change the model we operate under. A reforming corporation for lack of a better term.”
    If a corporation “doesn’t have a soul to damn or a butt to kick” how in the world can it “reform” or “understand” ANYTHING?
    The problem is that, as you also pointed out, a corporation is only as good as the men (and unfortunately women) who run it. Fifty-two of the first 56 colleges in the U.S. were founded as Bible schools and seminaries, including Yale, Harvard and the other Ivy League schools. These entities all had a godly purpose, but the purpose of an institution, especially a corporation, changes with its leadership or board membership.
    So far, we have avoided incorporation of our family business. I did not get my nine children Social Security numbers. When I made that decision 25 years ago, you could still open a bank account and an employer could still hire you without one, with no trouble. Of my five children that have reached working age, two of them have decided to get their SS#. They have come to the realization that they would have to be utterly dependent on someone who HAS one to function in society, earn a living for his family, etc.
    So there is the rub. We agree on the evil. We agree on the principle. The problem is figuring out how to function in this corporate climate without becoming voluntary paupers without violating deeply held principles.
    Personally, I still can’t see how to do it, and I’ve been since about 1980.

  • randallgerard says:

    Hi Paul,
    I’m looking forward to reading the whole series, but know I’m getting on board a little late. I hope you actually see this, because I have some questions. While I agree that incorporating in order to avoid personal liability and reap insider rewards from the government is an unbiblical innovation of modern times, who or what is going to restrain ‘godly patriarchs’ in your alternative economy? I’m just trying to understand how excesses and tyrannies at home will be addressed under a local agrarian economic system. How do we keep from becoming a society where ‘every man does what is right in his own eyes’; a society that typified old Israel in the days of the judges?
    Thanks,
    randallgerard

  • PaulTN says:

    Randall,
    The brilliance of God’s created order is that tyrannies and injustices are limited to the family in which they take place. We will never have a perfect Garden of Eden here on Earth prior to the return of Christ. So there will be tyranny and injustice.
    But the good news is, you can keep us from being a nation where “every man does right in his own eyes.” Each man is responsible before God for his actions and will be judged for them. As the leader of the family acts so his family reaps the rewards or punishments. There is nothing on this Earth that can force an evil man to do good. That is why God instituted civil government, “to punish evil doers”.
    At the end of the day it is only God’s grace that strengthens us to follow his commands. But the distinction here is first that his grace is extended to people, not corporations; and secondly, as heads of our families we have a vested interest in obeying the word of God to bring blessings upon our family, corporations do not.
    I hope that helps. I think you’ll find more in the remaining posts as well.

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