How far do we go in opposing evil?

Salvete, omnes!

How far are we required to go in opposing evil? How much sacrifice are we required to make? I ask these questions in the light of the following examples.

  1. Many people believe that, in many factor farms, animals are treated inhumanely which is, as I understand it, considered evil by the Catholic Church. In this case, how far are we to go in opposing this evil? Are we required to research as carefully as we can every farm from which our meat comes to be as certain as we can that the animals are treated humanely? If not to this extent, to what extent are we obligated to go in this case? Should we, indeed, abstain from meat in this country altogether because of the potential (and widespread?) inhumanity to animals? Is it a mortal (or venial?) sin not to go to any lengths of this sort?

  2. A CEO ofa major company has declared himself proudly and openly homosexual. Are we required not or no longer to use products put out by this company because a) we are supporting a CEO whose lifestyle is morally wrong, b) this CEO will likely give to organizations supporting “gay rights”, c) these organizations will likely aid folks whom, without proper funding, they may not have previously had the opportunity to aid, d) this could be considered unloving to those who would benefit from such organizations ifw e patronize a company who supports them just for our own benefit. Am I completely off the mark, here?

  3. We purchase a song digitally which may not have the best lyrics only because a) we like the beat of it and/or b) it reminds us, say, of a school dance we really enjoyed or c) something else along these lines. Should we not have bought this song not only because of the lyrics but also because it lends financial support to the artist who produced it and might encourage him/her to do more like this and potentially lead to the downfall of others because of the lyrics?

In none of these cases are we in direct support of any of the sin involved, yet, we are still somewhat in association with it.

Do I understand that the Church has indeed worked out some of these issues and I would be curious about what she has to say concerning them generally and concerning the specific situations. Also, curious about your own takes on these issues.

How far are we obligated to go in either of these cases and how much in danger of mortal/venial sin are we if ew don’t?

“Fighting evil is a very noble activity when it must be done. But it is not our mission in life. Our job is to bring in more light.”

  • Tzvi Freeman

This was written by a rabbi, but I believe it holds true for us Christians too.

Here’s how I fought evil. I live my life as holy as I can. If I find out something is shady I turn away from it. I served in the military. I was a cop until recently. I’m 33 years old and I have a family. I follow the church teachings and move always forward and pray. You are thinking on a level most people don’t even comprehend…that’s good you sound like you would make a great Catholic.

Excellent question. For me, evil is judgement call. Yes, the bible clearly identifies some evils such as homosexuality. In that regards, I feel God will have the final judgement (as He will with all of us) so I choose to believe that God wants us to treat each other with respect and dignity and leave the judgement to Him. That doesn’t mean that we don’t teach the bible but I just don’t think we are expected to oppose evil in a vicious way. I feel hypocritical in this regards because then I think of scenerios such as ISIS. If we don’t combat that way of thinking then we will soon be overtaken by that evil.

Scary issue and I appreciate your post which gives me cause for meditation and prayer.

And thus why we have the Just war doctrine!

Thank you for posting this quote! I agree that it applies to Christians as well.

Not that what I “like” should have anything to do with what religion I come to, but, I must admit, the more philosophical underpinnings of Catholicism have always held some appeal for me. :slight_smile: ( Bit OT, but I thought I’d throw that out there. :slight_smile: )

That said, I still don’t think I’ve received any kind of definite replies and responses to the specific scenarios I raised above or even general, but direct, responses. Is there agreement with all the points I mentioned above? Are there rebuttals?

  1. Is it morally correct/permissible to eat all meat produced here in America without any research into it? With a little research, given the points I made above? With as in-depth research as I can? Why or why not?

  2. Is it morally correct/permissible to use/continue to use products from the company that has the openly gay CEO that I cited above, given the points I made above?

  3. Is it orally correct/permissible to download that song I mentioned above? Why or why not, given the points I made above?

Again, looking for agreement if you agree, and reasons for that agreement, and disagreement any any point(s) if you disagree, and reasons for that disagreement.


Yes to all three, although in the case of three that assumes you are legally downloading.

We are not required to research every company and product before buying. For a start that is totally impractical and secondly the Church does not require that we do that.

Thanks for the reply.

Could you (or anyone else who agrees with you for that matter) please, perhaps, elaborate on why you (or others) respond to my questions in the affirmative, especially given the points I made in asking them above?

This is what I think about the meat. I do try to buy organic meat and eggs, but I believe there’s some hypocrisy here. Some are more worried about the slaughter of animals then the abortion of live human beings. This belief is lopsided.

  1. I believe you may be talking about the CEO of a tech company. I personally emailed a letter to this gentleman asserting that I wouldn’t buy any of its products since he shunned the RFTRA act. He emailed me back a nice letter saying that he hadn’t closed any of the stores there and some of this was media hype. I still will make an effort not to buy their products.

What’s more troublesome was Wal Marts decision, since I frequently shop there. I also emailed them a letter and got a form letter back. Then I asked them to definitely admit that they would protect religious freedom or they’d lose me as a customer. No reply, but shop there for some things, so it’s extremely difficult. Almost every department or discount store has capitulated to the LGBT movement, so now try to buy online as much as possible.

As to downloaded sons, have no opinion as I’m a senior and download mostly oldies. However have deleted Elto John songs as he said that Jesus was a homosexual. Hope this is some help!

Tim Cook was “outed” by commentators on one of the financial news networks. How absolutely ridiculous to boycott Apple because Steve Jobs chose his replacement without thought to his sexual orientation. Take a look at Apple stock prices and the fact that, depending on the month, Apple is either #1 or #2 on the list of the most valuable companies in the world. If you chose to not give companies business that hire gay humans, then you are pretty much going to have to not do business anywhere. It’s your choice about downloading music that you find offensive.:shrug:
PS: I notice that old foul mouthed Kanye was booed the other night, so you are not alone in disliking lyrics that are disrespectful, especially to women.:eek:

I suggest looking to Christ as our guide whenever we can. Christ faced evil often and in many forms during his time on earth.

  1. Inhumanity to animals: Obviously, if we KNOW that seller of food is causing its food stock unnecessary suffering, we should look elsewhere to take our business.

We do not have a duty to research the sins of every person/business before purchasing from them. In order to fulfill this type of responsibility, we would never be able to buy anything for two reasons: To have certainty, with a large number of options available, we would spend every waking hour researching. Secondly, everyone sins. If we seek to avoid doing business with all sinners, we will do no business with anyone; Christ and His mother have departed this earth.

  1. Gay CEO: It is OK, but not morally required, to abstain from doing business with a business entity that has sinful leaders and employees. We must avoid appearance of endorsing such behavior, and depending on the circumstances, we may be able to use business interactions as opportunities to bring the truth to others.

  2. Purchase of a song with questionable lyrics: While it is OK to purchase products that are ‘good’, from sinners, it would not be OK to purchase products that are bad for us or others near us, regardless whether we purchase from sinners, or non-sinners (of which there are none, of course). If the product is an evil to us, we should not purchase it, or even hold it in our possession.

In case number 3, it could be suggested that there is participation in the sin.

On point 2, you affirmed our “right” to do business with a company with a sinful (in this case, gay) CEO. However, you bring up the appearance of endorsing what they do (at least that’s how I understood it). Do you really think most or even all people are automatically going to assume that I support the homosexual lifestyle simply because I (and, yes, it is Apple to which I refer) have an iPhone? After all, last time I checked, buying a product does not automatically imply that I endorse the lifestyle of the person selling that product. In pre-Christian Roman times, would a Christian who happened to patronize a pagan seller automatically be accused of supporting his paganims? After all, a similar case to the one that I mentioned in 2 might (arguably) hold in that case; the pagan individual might use the money he gets from the Christian toengage in pagan and even other sinful practices. I guess another part of my question in 2 involved whether or not we are held morally responsible for what a seller does with the money that we give to him, especially if we know he supports a particular sinful lifestyle. Is there indeed any difference between the two scenarios? Could one not argue that, by buying from a gay/pagan/whatever-sin seller, we are not supporting their sin but we do still want the best for them in this life (God making it rain on the just and unjust alike; us doing good to all men; etc.)? However, as I understand it, some of the early Fathers warn us, when doing good, not to support a man’s sin at the same time, since supporting a man’s sin is, truly, not a good at all. So, does this all come down to a matter of probability/likelihood? What I mean is, if we are reasonably certain that a CEO is going to support sinful acts with the money he may be given by us, should we not give him any of our money? What if he also supports positive causes with that money? Is that reason enough to continue to patronize him? Is the modern example on the same plane as the ancient example I just gave, or is there a difference?

As for 3: Is non-assent to sinful lyrics, even though you purchase a song, truly be defined as a participation in the sin to which you are not at all assenting? Also, whether a product is “good” or “bad” for us ultimately depends on whether it actually affects us. If I am strong enough/unaffected by the actual lyrics, then, what would be the problem? What is “bad” for one person may not necessarily be “bad” for another. (I’m not being relativistic here. Of course, things may be said to be generally “good” or “bad” based on the majority’s general relation, though not necessarily response to, it.)

I look forward to your response and the responses of others!

Tibi/vobis gratias! :slight_smile:

Just because the CEO of a company you buy products from is gay does not mean in any shape or form that you support homosexuality. For anyone to suggest to you that you should not buy products from that company would be ludicrous.

That’s what I figured.

Still, my concern is what less direct effects my financial support ofa company like this might have down the line. As I stated in my first post, it is very likely that this CEO supports gay causes (I think I recall hearing that he did not long ago, in fact). He could very likely use the money from our/my purchases to support ehse causes (but, yes, as well as other worthy ones). Is it truly loving/charitable of me to keep supporting this company with such a possibility in mind? Is it properly charitable for any Catholic (or Christian) to do so? If not, why aren’t Catholics prohibited, or, at least, discouraged, from using products from this company? Or, is there something I’m missing? Is it still permissible for whatever reason(?) to purchase products from this company even with all this in mind? Is there any counterpoint to my arguments/observations above? Is there, indeed, any solid Church teaching on scenarios like this? Does God, in fact, not hold me responsible for what a CEO does with his money, even if a particular scenario is more likely (as in this case)? Still, does he permit us to patronize such companies as these?

Actually, I believe I affirmed a ‘right’ to choose NOT to do business with a company with an openly gay (i.e. practicing homosexual) CEO.

By ‘what they do’, do you mean the products they design and manufacture? If so, then yes, purchasing products from a company will suggest a support for what they ‘do’. And there is no problem supporting the good business that sinners do.



When we pay someone a just price for a good product, or a just wage for a day’s work, we are not responsible if that individual then uses their pay for sinful activities. We are, however, responsible for admonishing sinners, so when we have the opportunity, we must do so.

Paying for sinful lyrics would suggest assent. The product purchased is inherently flawed. A product’s “badness” is not dependent on our ability to resist the evil. It is not subjective.


#1. You are on the right track. In these areas, I just try to keep improving, for a number of reasons including health and not supporting cruelty. However, I have a long way to go. It seems that the first step is to buy organic which probably helps with your health, but not much with cruelty. The next step would be to shop at some of the newer food stores that have sections where the meat is humanely raised. The next step is to not eat meat. The final step would be to participate in political action against groups that support animal cruelty. For myself, we try to eat organic and are more and more replacing meat with vegetarian alternatives. However, I commend people who have gone farther.

#2 It would not bother me to buy from this company. In a strange event many years ago, the carelessness of a straight and kind healthcare professional endangered a family member of mine, and the diligence of a gay healthcare professional helped save the day. So I don’t attack people who saved me. Also, a gay man named Alan Turing is the person who rose to the occasion to solve a problem that lead to the downfall of Hitler. Turing didn’t run away and hate on people. He asked for nothing in return and was driven to suicide later in life by hating scum. I am not gay but we have gay friends. We don’t discuss each other’s sex lives.

I think it was Koester that wrote that even all the criminal violence in the world is insignificant compared to the violence done by groups. So I think you were on the right path with #1. The harm in the world is being done by organizations and governments, not imperfect individuals.

#3 This is similar to #1. Just try to do better. If I like a song and then the lyrics are about abusing someone, I probably will move away from it. However, songs are not the problem in the world, it is groups and organizations that hurt others.

There are two kinds of “comparing” that we often fall into, and both are a mistake. One is to compare yourself to others, focus on one or two areas where you are lacking and judge yourself as “not good enough”. The second is even worse, and involves focusing on an area where you are better and condemning someone for that one area when in fact the person you are condemning may live a better Christian life than you are. The good kind of “comparing” is to learn from, and emulate people who are better than you in a particular area.

So my opinion on the answer to you question is that our first duty is to set a good example in how we treat others especially the poor and stay unspotted ourselves from as much vice as we can.

Opposing evil should be a matter of priority, and we should oppose those organizations that are harming people, the unborn, and animals. It is often a brave thing to do to stand up to an entity that could harm you. It can become an act of self righteous cowardice to attack an imperfect individual who does not harm others.

Good luck.

As to your first point, not sure if I’m interpreting what you say correctly, but you seem to a) be sending a bit of a mixed message here, b) be problematizing the issue (possibly because you yourself think it problematic) or c) making simple factual statements. By this statement, do you mean, straight out, that, while we are not held responsible for what another does with our money, we are responsible for admonishing sinners generally in all areas of life (factual statement). Or, do you mean that, while we are not responsible for how others use our money, we might not want to purchase products from a gay CEO in order to admonish him for his homosexuality/support of it (problematizing)? Or, are you suggesting that it is hard to resolve the issue of not bearing responsibility for another’s actions while, at hte same time, admonishing him for them (mixed messaging)?

As to your second point, yes, things can be inherently bad based on such things as the intention in doing them. However, for certain people, if they are strong enough, these things do not have ill-effects on them. That’s what I meant by “not bad for them”.

My question is not whether we should give money to gay CEOs just because we are gay. I have no problem with it if this is all that’s involved. My question arises because some gay CEOs might give their money to support gay causes and may, then, in some way, do harm to other people by supporting thier gay lifestyle, though I suppose that, even if the money wasn’t there to support said lifestyle, gay people would still be gay unless they came to rhe realization it was wrong…?

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