Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bending (and Breaking?)

I recently encountered a situation at my work place that has me wondering whether to speak up or not. I was part of a group that was given a quick primer on "sustainability" which, if you haven't had the pleasure, means reducing waste & impact on the environment. This has become a particular focus of many big companies recently, since "green" and "global warming" etc has been in the news and is thus elevated. So far, so good-- I certainly believe we are called to be good stewards of all of God's gifts, including the earth and nature.

Then, I heard the discussion broaden to "social responsibility" such as helping the hungry and under-developed. Still not alarming on the face of it, as we do see companies really starting to become more aware of and involved in such topics-- I have twice led volunteer groups here at work, to pack out meals for Feed My Starving Children, and in fact my company has recently completed a big effort to pack 1,000,000 meals for FMSC using our facilities and volunteers. Really cool stuff and I feel very fortunate to work for a company that does indeed put a lot of resources into helping others. My company even matches any school (including our Catholic School) donation up to $15,000 a year, no questions asked.

But, as I dug into some of the material that was connected to our company's efforts for sustainable development and social responsibility, I saw the names of several non-profits and by extension a few United Nations groups.

(Confession: I have a pretty low opinion of the UN and most of its activities-- and I worry about the Church/Vatican's agreement & alignment with some of the UN goals. That's probably another post for another time...)

One of the organizations I got linked to was the UN Population Fund, which explicitly indicates that the best way to help the Third World prosper is to institute "fertility controls," which means extensive use of contraceptives and something they euphemistically call "reproductive health." I was born, but not yesterday, so I knew at some point this meant abortion was on the agenda. I will give the UN credit, you really have to dig to get the whole truth-- bottom line, abortion is OK when push comes to shove.

So here is my dilemma: how to navigate the complexities of the many whacky non-profits out there when the end seems to suit your purpose, like jumping to sustainability when it helps feed people but then realizing some of your new friends also believe in "fertility control" and dubious "reproductive health." How far should and can one bend before they are broke?

"One may never do evil so that good may result from it." CCC 1789

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