Working at a gas station that sells contraception?


#1

Hey,

I was just hired at a gas station as a part-time customer service representative. I am a recent college graduate and, until I can find full-time work, I need some kind of employment. Seeing this, I was stoked when I heard I’ve been hired part-time.

However, I was talking with a Catholic friend tonight and he mentioned that, several years ago, he quit working at the same gas station company because he didn’t want to sell people contraceptives (condoms, etc). This was something I hadn’t even thought of, and we were discussing whether or not I, as a simple cashier, would have some kind of sin culpability in checking them out if they buy contraceptives from that store. Neither of us were absolutely sure, but he was leaning towards “Yes” and I was leaning towards “No.”

What do you guys think? I’m still leaning towards no sin on my part…but I don’t want to presume…


#2

I think if you can’t do your job, you should find another job that you can do, like your friend did. You might find a range of opinions here on CAF. However, I am of the opinion that you do not have culpability in this matter. You are a cashier. You collect payment for items the gas station sells to its customers. If someone wants to buy condoms, you may be the one working the shift and you have to do your job. If someone manages to guilt you into not being able to do your job, then you need to find another job. Don’t take a job where it’s your responsibility to sell something that your conscience tells you that you can’t sell or to do something that your conscience tells you that you can’t do. Your boss hired you to run the cash register and sell items in his gas station. That’s what you were hired to do.


#3

Thank you for your feedback! Just so we are clear, I don’t think I have moral culpability in allowing people to buy contraceptives at my register. However, my friend raised a question that I had never thought about, so I wanted to see if there was an established moral “rule” regarding job duties like this. Thank you again!

I think, if someone buys contraceptives from my register, I will simply pray for their salvation.


#4

I don’t know but there are a lot of employees working at a pharmacy and the like who are in the same predicament.


#5

I certainly can’t tell you what to do, but I do really think that we can’t keep making decisions for others. We live in a country that says people have a right to these products regardless of what we believe about them. If you are going to be that particular about were you work plan on being unemployed a lot, or under employed.

If contraception supplies of any kind are an issue for you then avoid working for any of the following: Any facility that cares for handicapped adults as some are taught to use contraception if they want to be sexually active. (I used to work for such a place and at first this was unheard of, then it became typical discussion for clients who wanted to have sexual relationships with others.) Don’t work for the March of Dimes, Hospitals that are not Catholic, any pharmacy jobs, the grocery stores of any kind, of course the gas station you just got hired at.

My point is you will not find many places to work at that are not somehow associated with distributing, insuring or selling contraceptive materials. Oh, avoid the public school systems and colleges, universities as well, unless they are Catholic. And if you think the Catholic Church will have a job for you because you make this sacrifice, think again.
I don’t know what your degree is in, but it might serve you too review all the possible options you have based on the teachings of the Church and see just what kind of job you can get and keep.


#6

wow I never thought of that I used to work at a gas station that sold condoms, no one ever bought them ever that would have been too embarassing to ask a young woman cashier for:p so it never came up as an issue for me but if you feel like this is affecting the way you do your job or if this is eating you spiritually go speak to a priest about it. Its better to ask a priest since alot of CAF members opinions would differ.


#7

That is pretty much what I was thinking too. Again, this was an issue I hadn’t thought about at all until my friend mentioned it (I should probably mention that my friend is also a seminarian). I doubted that I would have any real culpability in this, but wanted to get other opinions as well. I plan on talking to a priest about this, too.

If contraception supplies of any kind are an issue for you then avoid working for any of the following: Any facility that cares for handicapped adults as some are taught to use contraception if they want to be sexually active. (I used to work for such a place and at first this was unheard of, then it became typical discussion for clients who wanted to have sexual relationships with others.) Don’t work for the March of Dimes, Hospitals that are not Catholic, any pharmacy jobs, the grocery stores of any kind, of course the gas station you just got hired at.

Again, I agree with that.

My point is you will not find many places to work at that are not somehow associated with distributing, insuring or selling contraceptive materials. Oh, avoid the public school systems and colleges, universities as well, unless they are Catholic.

You are right. Which is why I never thought about this as an issue until my friend mentioned it. As someone who wants to avoid being an accomplice to someone’s act of moral evil, I wanted to be sure the Church hasn’t barred faithful Catholics from working in these capacities if we are required to handle contraceptives.

And if you think the Catholic Church will have a job for you because you make this sacrifice, think again.

Not really sure I implied that in my original post. I wasn’t asking to work for the Church. Simply trying to work in conformity with the Church’s moral authority. I thought this part of your post sounded a little accusatory, to be honest.

I don’t know what your degree is in, but it might serve you too review all the possible options you have based on the teachings of the Church and see just what kind of job you can get and keep.

My degree is in Criminal Justice. Specifically, I am trying to work as a correctional officer in the prison system. The government does not provide free contraceptives to inmates (as my state doesn’t allow sexual activity of any kind in the prisons), so that is not a concern for me.


#8

Here is your answer:

You are free to work at the gas station.

There are different levels of cooperation in evil. You are not cooperating in evil in a manner that would endanger your salvation.

If you worked for the Trojan company and delivered them, then no. Or if you were the gas station owner that permitted the presence of these dispensers, then you’d have a problem. But you have no say over the presence of these products, they would be there and bought/sold regardless of whether you have the job, and your presence does not give the appearance of scandal.


#9

Your culpability would be greatly lessened because it is your job. You don’t decide what gets sold. If anything, it would be a venial sin. However, I think God would like it if you worked somewhere else that didn’t sell contraceptives. Since you just started, I would stick around for a few months, so your resume will look okay. It looks bad to quit soon after being hired, and you owe your employer a little bit for training you. You might quit in the future if you don’t need the money. If you do need the money, you could start looking for another job at a place that doesn’t sell contraceptives.


#10

Here is an answer by the one and only Jimmy Akin;

jimmyakin.com/2005/08/selling_bad_stu.html

In Christ,

Zooman


#11

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.