Purchasing from a Company that Supports Sin

I’m asking this for multiple reasons. First, I’ve received conflicting information on the morality of purchasing from companies that support sin. On one hand I’m told that we aren’t required to boycott; on the other, I’m told that we must avoid remote material cooperation with sin unless there’s a good reason. This has caused me confusion. There’s also the issue of this information pertaining to purchasing food. Currently, I’m concerned with products that would be used for leisure, I’d imagine this scenario would be harder to justify.

So this came up when it dawned on me that the developers of a video game I play support gay marriage. I knew this, gay romance was in the game (only briefly at the end and it was very avoidable), but I realized that this could indicate that my money was going to that cause (they at least advocate for it through their games). At that time I was already researching the morality of purchasing from companies that support sin. I made the assumption that this would be a similar case. Now, I’d normally not be concerned about this. In the case of games that I’ve already purchased, they have already received my money. All I’d have to do is cease buying the new releases. This situation is different because it’s an online game of which I’m a subscriber. As a result, they are receiving my money every month. As I thought about it I figured that playing it was morally neutral. It doesn’t lead me to sin and it doesn’t take up too much of my time. Also my intent isn’t to support gay marriage and I’m not doing anything evil (I think). The only problem is that their are alternative games I could play. Some of which I like equally (from the same company, but I’m not paying them to play it, anymore). So is it morally licit for me to continue playing this game? I have also thought about ending my subscription and playing as a free-to-play player (this is a legitimate option the company allows). This way I could continue to enjoy the game, without the chance of any cooperation with sin. Could this be permissible?


C794 - Can you name me a bank that acts totally morally and ethically, and that serves/helps/assists only those who are moral and ethical in their fiscal and personal activities? Indeed can you be sure that the money you handle and use hasn’t previously been used in the occasions of sin?

The modern world is a minefield - it probably comes down to personal intent when it comes to transactions - is it your intent to aid that company in ‘sin’, or is it your intent to enjoy the video game?

ps. How much of what you own and wear was manufactured without some degree of exploitation and neo-slavery - particularly stuff acquired from the developing world?

It is impossible to not buy things that may have been made by some company that support sinful things. Let us say you need some drug. You must buy it, and this same company most likely also manufacture contraceptives, and some of the money you use to buy it goes to the lab who try to make better and safer contraceptives. Is that a sin? No, it is not. So go and shop and don’t feel bad, and don’t think deeper then you need to.

C794 we are all sinners to some degree simply by trying to survive in a broken world. Do your best but don’t get too scrupulous especially when its passive, linkages are distant, non-public and of small direct consequence re influencing your own values.

God loves us not because we are perfect but because we counter bad (including our own) with good…and by forgiving others who offend us. Then we can be confident God will forgive us the sort of passive participatory evils you speak of that we cannot always avoid (without going insane with pettiness).

As others have posted here, it may be impossible to find a company which is untainted by sinfulness at some level. I think that is because all humans are sinners. But here is a positive idea: Contact the company and let them know what bothers you, and that it may cause you to stop using their product or to end your subscription. You, along with other like-minded customers, may exert enough pressure to persuade them to change their product in subsequent releases. It may not accomplish anything, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to communicate with the company. If they tell you you are wrong to feel that way, or they are not going to do anything about it, you still have the option to reconsider whether you want to continue to support them.

Thanks for the replies. So I’ve been talking this over with people I know and reflecting on what was said here. First, the reason I viewed it as potentially sinful was because of something I read from the Vatican. It had Emeritus Pope Benedict’s name on it from when he was a cardinal. While I don’t think he wrote it, his name gave it a lot of credibility. Basically it said that we must avoid remote cooperation with sin, unless there’s absolutely no option. The article was about vaccines that are obtained from aborted fetal cells. Even though abortion is graver than gay marriage, vaccines are more necessary than a video game.

About contacting the company: that would be a good idea, but I know it wouldn’t be affective. They have already acknowledged that they’d loose customers, but that they’d also gain some. But what should we expect? This seems to be the state of the entertainment industry.

In regards to my subscription: I did decide to cancel and move to free-to-play. I didn’t feel that there was a good reason not to (I’ve heard people in other situations say we need a proportionate reason to engage in remote cooperation). I was able to purchase back some of the features I lost, but there are many that I can’t reclaim. My thinking has now moved to how permissible future purchases will be. I could technically pay (it’s cheap) to unlock certain group content for a week. This is something I’d consider doing on my winter and spring breaks. Even after all of these things, I’ll have paid only a third of what I was paying yearly. So I have lowered my remote cooperation. Although, I do wonder, if it would be hypocritical for me to buy an expansion pack when one is released. Ugh. I’m not a fan of this situation, I regret cancelling my subscription.

So I really feel like I’ve gone off the deep end with this. I talked to someone whose more reasonable than I and he assured me that I’m not (he even encouraged my actions). It’s just that this isn’t like me. Until a month ago I was completely apathetic towards things like this. If anyone has more feedback I’d greatly appreciate it.

Oh and if any one is interested in the article I mentioned, here it is: cogforlife.org/fetalproductsall.pdf It’s very long and it deals with a much more serious matter (abortion and vaccines), but it if this is how that topic is dealt with then I feel justifying something so unimportant should be even more difficult.

Sorry to bump this. I wanted to ask if anyone thought I was going about this wrong?

Sorry to bump this. I wanted to ask if anyone thought I was going about this wrong?

Well, no, I don’t think you are going about it wrong. You do well to question the morality of buying video games from a company that promotes homosexual acts or gay marriage. However, I am not sure how grave it would be, considering that your involvement is remote and your influence is negligible.

Likewise I am not sure of the gravity of using vaccines which have been developed with cells from aborted fetuses, because our involvement is quite remote, etc., and to avoid the use of vaccines may endanger children. I have recently read this analysis from the Vatican:
Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human fetuses

I leave it up to you to figure out all the intricacies of subscriptions, expansion packs, paying to unlock group content, and so on. I know little about that.

God bless you. May the Holy Spirit assist and guide you always toward a life of love and virtue.

If we had to avoid that (thread topic) then we would all have to sit in caves naked and starving.

Thanks for the replies.

What are your thoughts on that article? I would like to hear someone else’s view because my understanding of it has formed the basis of my thinking and actions in this situation. Although, I feel ridiculous trying to figure out if I can play a game, when that article is dealing with something important. I have read something about proportionate reason and buying Starbuck’s. If that can be justified, I think this could be also. Especially when I consider that I have already decreased my yearly payments. Anything else will be to restore some of what I’m loosing. Expansion packs are where this gets tricky. They can cost up to the price of a new game, but they can also be a lot cheaper. At the same time, my game will become outdated with out them. I could still play, but I wouldn’t have access to new content (this includes a lot of what they’ll release for free). This is something I’ll have to think about later.

In regards to proportionate reasons: if I found out that all developers in this genre supported gay marriage, would that further justify any of my purchases? I’m almost 99% sure this is the case. In this scenario it’s not like I could go to a different genre for enjoyment, this is my favorite; 99% of my time playing games in the last two years has been this style (online and single player). Could I then just forget about the things these companies support. I feel like this would be similar to the example I read about buying Starbuck’s. Although, using this example still makes me feel silly. It’s closer to my situation than buying vaccines, but it still doesn’t feel appropriate.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.