LDI once offered The Boycott List without requesting a donation, but the policy changed when:
1) pro-Planned Parenthood people were urged to send for The Boycott List in an effort to bankrupt us--which they nearly did; and
2) we began to realize the enormous expense involved in obtaining the information needed to prepare The Boycott List.
It soon became clear that we had to seek funding for this valuable work or end the Corporate Funding Project (CFP) because we simply did not have the resources to support it. It is important that this work be financially supported so it can even exist.
Some people argue it is more important to get the information out to the public than it is to ask for a donation. We agree; yet the same argument could be made of nearly everything published by any good organization (brochures, books, videotapes, and so on), but they are virtually never distributed gratis.
Please realize that a donation made for The Boycott List pays for research and printing. It also helps to support LDI's work in general. The few people who complain have no idea what is involved in publishing The Boycott List. It involves countless man-hours, phone calls, travel, letters, and so forth. (This is one reason why LDI's Boycott List is so well respected; we take care and go to the expense necessary to do it right.) And our budget is less than $110,000 per year--a small fraction of that of other nationwide pro-life groups. Simply put, if we are to keep the lights on, pay our staff (totals less than $50,000--and that includes all employees combined), and do the job we are called to do, we need the funds to do it. (In 2007, it was necessary for one LDI employee to work without pay for three months because the money was simply not there. In fact, there have never been a year since LDI was founded in which every employee was paid every month. This is all due to a lack of funding.)
LDI's Board of Directors will change the policy relating to the dissemination of The Boycott List if and when they feel it should be done. But one can expect that LDI will always ask for some kind of donation to discourage pro-abortion groups from seeking The List. (We already receive bad checks from pro-abortion people. We have also had persons make a donation via credit card and, after receiving the requested material, claim the charge was fraudulent. We have even received bad checks from pro-life people who believe they should not be "charged" for The Boycott List. We incur fees from our bank and/or credit card processing company every time one of these incidents occurs.) Thus, any suggestion that LDI is some sort of "money-making operation" is ludicrous. (Either that or we are just very, very bad at it--and we have been bad at it since our inception.)
Why does not LDI put The Boycott List on its website? We would simply be publishing a list that pro-abortion groups would use for a counter-boycott. And we would have done all the research for them. In addition, such information placed on the web tends to get disseminated in ways that can cause serious problems. In one case, an individual placed The Boycott List on his personal website and, since he had heard a rumor that another company was also giving to Planned Parenthood, he added that company as well. Yet LDI was cited as the source of all of the information. Needless-to-say, LDI received a phone call from a very unhappy lawyer who threatened us with a lawsuit. This is why LDI policy prohibits placing The Boycott List online; in whole or in part.
Most people who initially raise questions make a kind, respectful inquiry. Once we reply, more than 95 percent understand the reasons for our practices and policies. In addition, persons who express a concern about finances may receive The Boycott List at a substantial discount. Other people, however, are simply accusatory. Take, for example, this message we received from a person who did not leave a name:
WHY ARE YOU PROFITEERING OFF THE PRO-LIFE COMMUNITY? YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN HELL BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST AS GUILTY AS THE ABORTIONISTS!!!
Another person wrote wrote:
I have refused to pay the amount you wish to extort [from pro-life people] for financial gain concerning companies that support abortion.
(More about this person's attacks may be found here ["LDI Accused Of Grave Sins," p. 4-9] and here ["Breaking Your Word,"7-8].)
A third person wrote:
Pay for a boycott list? You want to profit from anti-abortion? You guys are despicable hypocrites and give Christians and the Pro-Life movement a bad name. If you really cared about the Abortion Holocaust, you would be begging people to freely distribute that list. There are plenty of legitimate ways to raise cash for your organization. Add yourselves to the list and to hell with you. In fact, add yourselves to the TOP of the list.
And a fourth gentleman said LDI leaders will face eternal judgment for seeking donations for The Boycott List:
LDI to my knowledge doesn't distribute the latest information on these companies in the best way possible, via their website, to the public (stating that the list could change daily, to check back often). Instead, they require people to pay them money for this life-saving information. Unless this has also changed, I also will not support LDI for putting a price on human lives...The [LDI] board prefers to make money over saving lives...There is no reason to not [sic] publicize the list on your website, in addition to accepting donations and payments for literature...I will pray for your conversion. We could judge a tree by it's [sic] fruit, but your organization prefers to put more into manure fertilizer than bearing fruit...but may I add that God's judgement [sic] for salvation will be most severe for those experienced, especially the shepherds (ministers & priests), who should know better...[LDI] is a "pay for information" organization (life critical information that is)....
LDI has received e-mails from people who support and those who oppose our policy in this regard. However, LDI Partners have been virtually unanimous in their support. What follows are messages we have received from several LDI supporters regarding The Boycott List:
Just a short note that I am praying for you--I had to laugh when I read in the latest edition of The Caleb Report [LDI's newsletter] some of the e-mails you've been getting, criticizing you and your mission. Without exception, every criticism was the product of the writer's ignorance--ignorance about who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it.
To God's People at LDI: Nobody on this planet is doing more to fight the evil wrought by Planned Parenthood than you are. Nobody does it better, with more integrity, with more grace and humor, or with more focused efficiency. Nobody puts a dollar or a prayer to work as effectively as you do. From those of us who "get it" comes this message: keep up the phenomenal work! And when you're feeling just a bit beleaguered by the harpies and their whining, keep remembering that God "gets it" too.
Thank you for all you do.
-- David Kothman
In earlier messages Mr. Kothman wrote:
I just received my July-August issue of The Caleb Report and, as always, did not put it down until I had read every word. I was particularly troubled by [one] e-mail you received...As a faithful reader for several years, I have come to not only understand by applaud your policy as it relates to giving away your publications. In fact, I am this minute going to write a check to send you to help in some small way with your heroic mission.
You guys are what is right and good with our movement in defense of life. God surely holds a special place for you in heaven. And on behalf of the millions who look to you for leadership on this issue, which so clearly will define us as a people, I ask that you stay the course, do not be discouraged, and don't go changin' to try to please everybody. After all, we love you "just the way you are."
-- David Kothman
LDI has received encouragement from many other people as well, including the following:
I was so saddened to read that people make a big deal about the cost of The Boycott List. I was encouraged by your response a while ago about the one guy who wrote in. It's funny, even if the lists were $42.00 [each], they still would be priceless to own!!! It is my contention that we have saved at least that much in a month's time by purchasing generic products that worked as well as the brand name products that are on the list. (Sometimes you don't ask why things are the way they are!)
I'm sorry you got such an irate response because you charge for The Boycott List. Having been involved in the pro-life movement for almost 30 years I understand completely your position. You are of invaluable help to me, be assured of that.
-- Mary Ann
LDI has received comments from the leaders of other pro-life organizations, including the president of Human Life International who wrote:
The Life Decisions International Boycott List is one of the finest pieces of research that the pro-life movement puts out. LDI is not run by profiteers; it is run by warriors. The costs associated with The Boycott List simply fund the work, not someone's lifestyle. Does not Jesus Himself say "the laborer is worth his wage" (Luke 10:7)? How should this work of Christ be any different than spreading the Gospel in other forms? Not everything in the work can be offered free. Consider the enemy. When LDI tried that approach some years ago all the PP [Planned Parenthood] thugs took them up on the offer and drained LDI's stock, nearly bankrupting the organization and destroying their good work. Even if LDI were to offer The Boycott List free on the Internet it would undermine LDI's own ability to generate funds to keep his work going. That would serve PP's interests very well.
From personal experience, I want you to know that The Boycott List has led to one of HLI's greatest recent victories. On account of LDI's work we were able to enter a corporate resolution against the Target Corporation and get them to completely de-fund PP, the baby-killer. On account of LDI's generosity in printing us several thousand copies of The Boycott List, at a bare-bones rate, we were able to get that List into the hands of hundreds of our supporters who can now use it to fight PP with us. I regularly have people call me to tell me that they are boycotting corporations supporting the baby-killer on account of the endorsement we give to The Boycott List. They know they can trust it beyond the shadow of a doubt. LDI does so much with so few resources, and they should be thanked, not criticized for their efforts.
The very fine STOPP organization might not exist today if it were not for being absorbed into the much larger ALL. They now have resources that allow them to disseminate information to the public at much lower cost. However, an annual subscription to The Ryan Report still costs $25! LDI does not have the luxury of a multi-million dollar backup. They use the widow's mite to accomplish the work of Christ.
Another respected pro-life leader, Meredith "Mick" Eugene Hunt of Life Advocates, wrote:
For years, off and on, I have been a subscriber to LDI's Boycott List and have had absolutely no problem with paying a little money for it; nor have I been much disturbed by the copyright, which makes good sense to me under the circumstances. LDI's List simply is the absolute best, most carefully researched, and by far the most complete list of Planned Parenthood's corporate supporters in the country. This is not just a small piece of paper with a few names on it. LDI also has quite a success rate in corporations stopping their funding of PP.
It takes a little money to run a pro-life work. (How do you get by? I send my newsletter out to donors and free to any one asking for it, but then I don't have people all over the country getting it without also offering a little support; and my letter is not the work itself, but only about it.)
Any individual may choose to disagree with this or any other policy. However, in the case of LDI, all policies are subject to review by the Board of Directors. LDI's Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed the manner in which The Boycott List is disseminated.
As noted above, "persons who express a concern about finances may receive The Boycott List at a substantial discount." If you wish to participate in the boycott but truly cannot afford the requested amount for The Boycott List, please send us an email and request a discount. We will respond with details. We do not want money to be a reason why anyone who wishes to participate is prevented from doing so.
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