Was just thinking on this issue and did a search on CAF before creating this thread. Evern though there has been some writing on it, I decided to start my own thread because the precise issues relating to this topic about which I am concerned have not been, or at least IMO, too little been, addressed.
Since we know that some, perhaps even a good, percentage of money Starbuck’s receives goes to fund Planned Parenthood, which, in turn, supports abortion, are not Catholics obligated not to patronize Starbucks?
I have heard it said that Planned Parenthood supports more than just abortion so that we cannot be certain whether our money proper would go to support an abortion.
I am indeed familiar with issues concerning proximity to sin and there are many who would argue that, since we are not directly contributing to abortion and since we cannot ultimately decide for someone where their money goes, we are not sinning by patronizing Starbucks and businesses like it even though they support abortion.
I used to believe this.
Let’s think of it this way. If I go to Starbucks, my money may very likely go to support abortion. If I did not go to Starbucks, that money would have no chance of supporting abortion (i.e., the murdering of babies). To be even more specific, whatever money I would NOT give by NOT going to Starbucks may do at least a little to prevent the killing of even one baby, but, if I went to Starbucks, that one baby may not be saved/may be killed.
Furthermore, I have been reading that boycotts do sometimes have positive moral effects so that, ifw e would all, say boycott Starbucks, all of us who do not support abortion, that might cause companies such as Starbucks to stop supporting organizations that support abortion.
Also, linked with remote proximity to sin, as I understand it, is a doctrine (infallible or no, I am not sure?) called something like double-effect which, as I understand it, basically states that the good which results from doing an activity should be proportional in significance to or better than the negative side of the sin, or something like that, before we can justify even a remote cooperation with sin. FIrst of all, am I understanding this double-effect correctly? If so, then, I doubt there are many people who would say the positive effects of having a Starbucks are sufficiently good to negate the evil effects of killing a baby. Indeed, we could argue that Starbucks coffee does, in some way, nourish our bodies, but surely most of us who go there are doing so primarily for the pleasure that a good cup of Starbuck’s coffee brings. So, is our pleasure sufficiently positive as to outweigh the negative effects of killing a baby? Am I right on all this?
Still, it would seem that we would have to give up a good deal of daily “pleasures” (i.e., things that are technically not utterly vital to support our existence) to avoid inadvertently giving money to abortion, or even other sins for that matter. We would essentially have to live like the Amish in order to avoid this. Yet, are we, technically, required to make such sacrifices in order that we are not guilty of remote cooperation with sin via double-effect?
Again, is double-effect a set infallible doctrine of the Church? If not, would there be any argument to counter this particular line of reasoning? If so, why do not more Catholics live like the Amish? Why is the Church not encouraging Catholics more vocally to live like the Amish in order to avoid double-effect of remote proximity to sin?
Also, what about all the actual good Starbucks and other organizations do in supporting causes with which we agree? Could that not be sufficient reason to be all right to go ahead and patronize these companies? I mean, it’s about like paying taxes, perhaps? We don’t agree with everything they go to, but we do agree with many things, so we still pay them. “Render unto Caesar” and all that. Though taxes may have in antiquity gone to fund, say, pagan temples, they also went to fund roads and other things and also were ultimately used to keep law and order in the Empire. One might even argue that Christ’s saying here meant that “rendering unto Caesar” was, in some sense “rendering unto God” because not only of obedience to God-ordained authority but also because of the good that could come out of it.
So, with all this in mind, what do you guys think? Is it all right to support companies like Starbucks even though they support causes like abortion, or should we give up virtually all modern pleasure in life and live, at least to a great extent, practically like the Amish? (I ask this in all seriousness.) Is this the kind of sacrifice that Jesus requires of all of us? Why or why not, in either case?
Hmm, I am indeed wondering if this is not what the writer of the Apocalypse had in mind when he said we would be able neither to buy not sell or that we should “flee to the mountains” so that we would not be partakers in their punishments…?