Running a Business

For about the last month, I’ve been working on starting my business. It is a Web hosting business for hosting Web sites on the Internet.

But I have been thinking of something. What am I obligated to do morally? Say if someone tries to host a sitewith me that is morally objectionable? Obviously if it’s something like an adult site, or something like that, I’d refuse. But I’m thinking of more fringe cases. What if it’s someone starting a new age site, or something to do with psychics, astrology, etc? Or worse, a site promoting or somehow supporting homosexuality, abortion, etc?

I’m just not sure how to handle these kinds of things. I can include whatever we won’t host in the terms of service, but I really want to know how I should handle this, or what kinds of things I should refuse, and what kinds of things are OK.

Any other suggestions too concerning running a God-centered business based on Catholic principles would be appreciated.

Before going into websites contents details which you can use administrative controls (legal contracts) and technical controls (contents filtering software), you should ask yourself whether you can compete with Godaddy $2.99 a month hosting service!

Godaddy, Register, and Network Solution sites are all using state of the art security and monitoring software at a very low price.

I personally think such IT domain is fully saturated and there is no money to be made there, I would suggest research more on that before you commit capital to such business.

maybe have a disclaimer that you will not host adult sites or sites linking to adult sites. You have the right to say no to hosting a porn site just as much as you have a right to host a right to life group’s website.

I didn’t ask for business advice, thank you. I know my market, and what I am doing. I’ve been planning this for a while.

But I am asking about the moral component to this. Not about filterin gand such, just simply about what to allow and what not to.

Yes of course, most hosts have such a policy. But I’m asking about the more sensitive issues as mentioned in my first post.

Any further opinions or advice on this matter?

I did do some praying on the matter, and my own feeling as a result was to disallow any content that would be offensive to me as a Catholic. But I want to make sure that I’m not taking it too far, and would very much appreciate some informed opinions.

OK…so since I didn’t really get any replies here, I asked some friends of mine who studied theology, and what I was told was that it would likely be to the level of formal cooperation with evil, if a site were promoting or endorsing immoral activity/values/beliefs. This quite adequately answers my question.

I just wanted to post this here for anyone else who might be curious. It’s difficult to figure out what’s right or wrong when running one’s own business like this.

I certainly didn’t study theology but I do know that there is a reasonable limit to what we should pursue. It seems silly to me to get caught up in the slightest details with things that are really not important. Certainly porn is serious matter but new-age science or the like is to religion what romance novels are to literature. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I don’t mean to bring this thread back up, but I am still struggling with this. My thoughts are wavering back and forth on this issue.

Can someone at least tell me where my culpability would end? Perhaps the rest is personal choice. But if I host a site that contains immoral content, am I culpable for that immorality? I it a formal cooperation?

It is endlessly complex. I am now offering servers. If someone purchases a server from me, and on that server they host a third person’s website that contains immoral content…am I culpable for that? I would guess not because it is several levels down from me, but if I find out about the existence of such a site, am I obligated to ask the server’s owner to remove it?

So confusing. I just want to know where I am culpable and where I am not.

I feel as though it may have something to do with your degree of involvement. If you were selling paper and someone bought your paper and used it to print immoral fliers and pasted them around town, I do not think you would be culpable. If that person, instead, paid you to help them create the immoral fliers which they then disseminated, your culpability would be heightened. Analogically, if you were selling the apparatus to create and host a website, I do not think you would be culpable, but if you were helping all of your clients design their webpages - then you may run into some issues.

I would, however, urge you to wait for more responses. This is my interpretation; I’m not sure how in line it is. Have you tried speaking with a priest?

Wow. That is really tough. I run into that in my business as an attorney. I have represented clients getting divorced, which opposes Church teachings. I have also had clients that, well, let’s just say that I was on the wrong side of the Catechism. It’s tough. I represent my clients to the best of my ability, as you serve your customers to the best of your ability. I have had a priest tell me that repping a client in a divorce is not a sin, but I have also had another priest tell me that whatever I do in my practice, i.e. my work, reflects on my faith. Sometimes I just say, you know, God, I am doing the best I can …

This is not much help, I am sure. Know that you are not alone, my brother.

I appreciate that. I am sure it is difficult for you as well. I guess in something like this, unless there is a clear-cut answer, we have to go on our conscience.

By the way, Seeker, not that it means anything, but your “join date,” October 3, is my birthday. Excellent.

Ha, that is great. :slight_smile:

I tend to spend more time in the basement of churches than the Sanctuary, so perhaps my view is more pragmatic than dogmatic, but I’d like to relate a couple of anecdotes for what it’s worth:

To begin with, my dad worked in construction, mostly around New York and Philadelphia. As you can imagine, neither the region nor the industry were conducive to maintaining a moral code. For him at the time, it was a moot point. He could deal with sharks, he loved the power, and over time, he became as bad as any of them. I don’t know if he was a good guy that got sucked in, or if he was meant to do it, but he nearly lost his family and he still has to consciously choose his new life over his old habits on a daily basis.

I hated him for a long time, but I have come to forgive, and now I understand that he did what he needed to do. His parents’ education ended at eighth grade, and his high school counselor told him that he would never go to college. So he went to Vietnam, then used the GI Bill to become an engineer. He went to work with thieves and thugs every day, so that I could eat, get an education, and not have to make the lose-lose choices he did. Whatever sacrifices he made, I feel that my future conduct will atone for his compromises ten-fold. Furthermore, after decades of being apolitical, he is leaning my way more and more, and his insight regarding the opposition is invaluable.

Because of my experiences in Philadelphia in the 90’s, I found myself in a unique position to comment on the race for Wisconsin’s US Senate seat in 2012. The primary was a tight three-way race and without going into too much detail, Thompson was the big government ‘RINO’, Hovde was the fiscal conservative, and Neumann was the social conservative. During the course of the campaign, Neumann discovered that in 2004, Hovde donated $500 to Andrew Hohns, a candidate who openly supported gay privilege, abortion, needle exchange, and condoms in schools. This caused serious damage to the Hovde campaign. What Neumann failed to mention and what Hovde failed to rebut is that this was a district in which Republicans don’t even bother contesting the general election, and Hohns’ opponent was, guess what? An open supporter of gay privilege, abortion, needle exchange, and condoms in school! Hohns was an equity manager at an investment bank and Hovde was a real estate investor. He gave $500 to a business associate who was a dark horse candidate and the lesser of two evils. He got down and dirty in Philadelphia construction, but he now uses some of his millions to support conservatism.

How did it end? Well, the supposed man-of-faith Neumann continued to exploit this. He still finished third, but siphoned off enough of the Tea Party vote so that Hovde finished second and Thompson won the primary. Thompson had full coffers and the moderate vote, but no grassroots passionate enough to go out there and fight for him. In a state that had just maintained a Republican judiciary, increased their Republican lead in the state legislature, and defeated a recall attempt on their Republican governor, they elected a Tammy Baldwin, a pro-abortion, gun-grabbing lesbian, and sent her to the US Senate for 6 years, where even Nancy Pelosi has to give her the old ‘ixnay on the extremism’ from time to time.

I’m all for standing on one’s principles. I avoid companies that use Chinese slave labor, I avoid entertainment that does not reflect my values, and I boycott stores that posts signs prohibiting my right to self-defense. Today, I chose to purchase my domain name and server hosting from LambHost. Not because they have the volume to compete with GoDaddy rates, but because I believe the profits will go toward a greater good, and I trust they won’t throw me under the bus if my legal, moral content is deemed politically incorrect.

Still, when it comes to fretting over your culpability, I think you go too far. You can accomplish a lot of good with this venture and parlay it’s success into promoting your beliefs. You can’t do that with a defunct business. That’s what purists did in Wisconsin, and instead of a pretty darn good man in Hovde, they have an abhorrent individual in Baldwin. Sometimes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

CanICarry,

Thank you for your wonderfully insightful post. You’ve given me a lot to consider.

And, I am happy to host your site. I thank you for choosing my company, and I hope I can make that decision worthwhile.

Your story was inspiring though. I do see what you are saying. Sometimes in life our choices are not black and white, but gray or less gray, as it were. All I can do is to follow my own conscience from within, and the Holy Spirit who is hopefully guiding and informing that conscience.

Anyway, thank you again. This is the last place I expected someone to find our site, so I was surprised to hear you had come from these forums. :slight_smile:

Haha, good. I was writing that in the wee hours after a long day of trying to teach myself HTML code, and I certainly don’t intend to give anyone carte blanche to do bad things as long as they use their profits for good things. I’m pleased to see you got the point. :slight_smile:

I understand that you didn’t come here to self-promote, but as far as finding you goes, my experience may help you in future marketing. I searched Google for “conservative owned domain register”, which led me to a forums.catholic thread on “Unpolitical or Conservative alternative to Gmail”. Unsatisfied with that thread, I searched the forums.catholic site for “domain register” and found this thread. Interestingly, based on the Gmail discussion, I changed my default search engine to IXquick, and using IXquick today, I was unable to duplicate my hit on forums.catholic. :confused:

So, there’s an example of a company I don’t want to support leading me in the right direction anyway, because we all know that google isn’t really doing the leading, they just get the credit. Based on their critical mass alone, websites we don’t agree with are a natural starting point. I let them do 90% of the research and tell me who is ‘evil’, and then assume that the opposite is true. After completing the final 10% on my own as due diligence, I usually confirm that their enemy is my friend. :cool:

Thanks for letting me know. We don’t specifically target Catholics/Christians, but our operations are very much in line with Catholic principles, which we’ve discussed briefly.

Let me know if you need any help learning HTML or anything else. I’m happy to help with whatever I can. :slight_smile:

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