Dirty Money: Corporate America’s War Against The Family

By Warren Cole Smith

(EP News)””Thirty years ago, businessmen involved in pornography and gambling might be on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted” list.,  Today, businessmen profiting from these seedy activities ““ and you can throw in abortion and homosexuality ““ are just as likely to end up on the “Fortune 500″ list.

Vice has gone mainstream, becoming a part of the profit picture of many Fortune 500 companies. ‚  In the space of one generation, gambling, prostitution, homosexuality, abortion, and pornography have gone from being illegal in every state in the nation to being legal in most states ““ and profitable in every state. ‚  According to the Biblically Responsible Investing Institute, only three of the 30 companies on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are either actively involved in, or making financial contributions to, activities or organizations that Christians would find immoral.

That’s the bad news. ‚  The good news is that Christian activists groups are now starting to pay attention ““ and publicize the bad actors. ‚  Here are a few headlines ““ some surreal, some horrific, and some pathetic — they helped to generate in 2007.

‚ · ‚  A Card For Every Occasion. ‚  A line of cards intended to lend support and encouragement to women who have abortions was introduced this year. ‚  Exhale, an “after-abortion talk-line” that claims “support and respect are just a phone call away,” offers the cards on its Web site. ‚  “I think you’re strong, smart, thoughtful and caring,” reads one card. “I believe in you and your ability to make the best decision. I think you did the right thing.” ‚  Another reads, “May you find peace after your abortion,” and yet another says, “There are not words to express my sympathy for your loss.” ‚  Carrie Gordon Earll, senior analyst for bioethics for Focus on the Family Action, said while Exhale may have good intentions, the cards represent an attempt to de-stigmatize abortion. ‚  “The cards beg the obvious question,” Earll said. ‚  “If abortion is a good choice, why do you need a line of greetings cards to comfort those who choose it?”

Hoosier Homewrecking. ‚  On March 28, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced its opposition to Indiana ’s proposed marriage amendment, which would define marriage as between one man and one woman. ‚  In a letter to Gov. Mitch Daniels, Lilly claimed the amendment would brand the state as intolerant and could jeopardize domestic-partner benefits. ‚  “I can’t believe a company with the stature of Lilly and their enormous legal resources would take a corporate position like this without any specific legal reasoning to back it up,” said Sen. Brandt Hershman, the amendment’s author. ‚  But they did. ‚  In fact, Lilly was not alone. ‚  Industrial giant Cummins, one of the state’s largest employers, also came out against the amendment. ‚  The local clout of these companies ultimately killed the amendment in the Indiana legislature, before the people got a chance to vote on it.

Ford’s Bad Idea. ‚  For years, Ford had an ad campaign that ended with the phrase “Ford Has A Better Idea.” ‚  Whoever came up with the idea for Ford to support same-sex marriage might be looking for a better job now. ‚  The American Family Association (AFA) reported May 1 more than 700,000 people have pledged to boycott Ford Motor Co. because of the company’s support of same-sex marriage and homosexual advocacy. Ford’s April sales are reportedly down 13 percent from a year ago. The company’s sales have declined in 12 of the 14 months since the boycott began in March 2006.

Across The Board(room). ‚  And if you think Ford, Cummins, and Eli Lilly are unusual, consider this: ‚  Barron’s Magazine, in its Sept. 10, 2007 issue, released its list of the “Most Respected Companies.” ‚  The BRI Institute, which (as we said above) evaluates companies based on whether they’re engaged in or promoting activities Christians would find objectionable, found that of the top 10 companies on the Barron’s list, only 3 of them pass the BRI Institute’s screens. ‚  Microsoft, General Electric, Toyota, Exxon Mobil and Apple Computer are all companies on the Barron’s list that don’t pass muster with the Biblically Responsible Investing Institute, for reasons including pornography, anti-family television program sponsorship and business interests in terrorist states. ‚  In fact, only three of the top 10 companies on the Barron’s list — Nestle, Cisco and Proctor & Gamble — pass the BRI Institute’s screens.

‚ · ‚  Lodging A Complaint. ‚  Of course, it’s not illegal to speak out, but certain things are illegal to act out. ‚  And that’s why pro-family activists have targeted LodgeNet Entertainment Corp., a company that supplies pay-per-view pornographic movies to America ’s hotels. ‚  Phil Burress, president and executive director of Ohio ’s Citizens for Community Values (CCV), believes much of the content in question is prosecutable under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v. California . ‚  According to Burress, this ruling sets clear guidelines for what is prosecutable, and LodgeNet is in clear violation. ‚  Burress is looking for local prosecutors interested in pressing charges, and he wants federal prosecutors to prosecute LodgeNet for distributing obscene material across state lines ““ a federal violation.

Yikes, Ikea! ‚  One company is taking its homosexual activism a step further by incorporating it into its mainstream advertising. ‚  The U.S. advertising campaign for IKEA, a home furnishings company, features a homosexual family theme in its commercial. ‚  The commercial includes a same-sex couple and young female child on the floor. The three lean against the couch, resting on each other as a voiceover asks, “Why shouldn’t sofas come in flavors, like families ? “ ‚  AFA special projects director Randy Sharp says IKEA routinely promotes the homosexual lifestyle in ads around the world. “IKEA produces dozens of pro-homosexual ads that they air on Swedish TV,” he said. ‚  Sharp says the AFA has sent a letter to the company, which has corporate offices in Sweden , the Netherlands , and Belgium . ‚  However, IKEA is expanding in the United States , with new stores not just in cities such as New York and Los Angeles , but also in Charlotte , N.C. , and other mid-tier cities across the country.

These examples don’t begin to cover issue. ‚  Shell Oil, for example, defied pro-family groups by stocking pornographic magazines in 240 of its convenience stores in Florida . ‚  Walt Disney now sells same-sex “commitment” packages similar to heterosexual honeymoon packages at its resort locations. ‚  JP Morgan Chase is the nation’s largest corporate contributor to Planned Parenthood. ‚  Wachovia and Bank of America are heavy supporters of the Human Rights Campaign ““ the nation’s most powerful pro-gay advocacy group.

“The problem,” said Rusty Leonard, who runs Stewardship Partners, an investment company committed to biblical values, “is that most of the offenses are not obvious. ‚  It’s pretty clear that Playboy Enterprises sells pornography. ‚  But it’s harder to determine that News Corporation, which owns the conservative Fox News Network and just bought the Wall Street Journal, also sells pornography. ‚  Or that your own bank is contributing money to pro-gay groups. ‚  Those in the community know that, but it’s not the sort of thing they brag about in their annual reports.”

Leonard said vigilance ““ and the help of professionals who are experts in Biblically Responsible Investing ““ are essential for Christians who don’t want to turn their investment portfolios over to “the bad guys.”

And some groups are getting the message. ‚  Telus Corp., a Canadian cell phone company, announced Feb. 21 that it will no longer allow customers to download pornography. According to the Candian Press, the action came as a result of hundreds of complaints from customers, shareholders and religious leaders. ‚  Vancouver Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Roussin had urged people not to renew their contracts with Telus. ‚  “This decision is for the greater good of the community as a whole, a fact I am glad Telus is recognizing,” he said. “The company has listened to the voices of its customers and Canadians in general, who were quite clear that this was not something that serves the public in any beneficial way.”

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