Standing up for religious principles in an increasingly secularized and politicized country has become extremely difficult for religious and clergy. It doesn’t help their spiritual causes when these very same religious and clergy cannot delineate between what their respective faiths teach and what is simply the desire to attain a political or economic result.
For example, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, a member of the Interfaith Counsel on Corporate Responsibility, have issued a shareholder proxy resolution to Walgreens requesting the drugstore chain abandon the sale of tobacco products.
To borrow from Sam Cooke, I don’t know much about running a successful franchise but I do know a bit about most of the world’s major religions, especially Roman Catholicism. Not a whole lot of faiths espouse anti-tobacco theology. Those that do require only that their followers adhere to religious practices and customs rather than forcing everyone else outside the flock obey as well. That last, incidentally, exists only in the secular realm populated by such statist politicians as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
So the radical sisters from the City of Brotherly Love want Walgreens to stop selling tobacco? Back in my corporate-flack days, this was called “diluting the brand” as there’s nothing in Roman Catholic doctrine that addresses cigarettes, cigars, snuff and chew or the selling thereof.
But there’s plenty in said doctrine that refers to the intrinsic sinfulness of contraceptives and contraceptives that may also work as abortifacients – both sold, by the way, at Walgreens, and both, coincidentally, completely ignored by the Philly nuns in their litany of leftist proxy resolutions.
Contrast the St. Francis Sisters’ activism with the decision to boycott the Boston College graduation ceremony made by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley. O’Malley traditionally delivers the blessing for the ceremony, but will take a pass this year to protest the selection of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny – who endorses abortion legislation – as speaker at the event.
As the old Sesame Street song goes: “One of these things is not like the other.” Standing one’s ground on religious merits is not part of the nun’s liberal “narrative,” which apparently derives far more from Planned Parenthood and nanny statism than it does Roman Catholicism.