AN EDITOR’S NOTE: Disney’s latest salute to the altar of awakening prompts a question: Is it still possible for Catholics and other people of faith to follow their beliefs in their business?
The Walt Disney Co.’s recent “woke” political activism has unleashed a firestorm from its primary customers: parents whose children watch and love Disney. By taking sides against parental rights in the national controversy over Florida’s new education law, the Walt Disney Co. has angered many parents, prompting them to question whether they should continue to license movies and Disney TV shows in their homes.
Disney’s latest manifestation of the new awakening religion raises another question: as “woke capitalism” in support of progressive claims continues to exert its sway over the operations of more and more corporate America, is it still possible for Catholics and other people of faith to follow their convictions in their businesses?
Catholic New York Times columnist Ross Douthat coined the phrase “woke capitalism” over the past decade to describe the growing trend for corporations to pay homage to progressive political agendas. At that time, it was clear that the careers of Catholics could be at stake if they worked for companies that subscribed to awakening. It was demonstrated by the departure of Brendan Eich as CEO of Silicon Valley tech company Mozilla in 2014, following abusive attacks by “LGBT” activists. Eich’s transgression was to personally donate money several years earlier to support California Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that amended the California Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a wife – an action in complete alignment with Eich’s Catholic faith, which defines marriage in exactly the same way.
Back to 2022 and Disney’s opposition to Florida’s new law. Although the law has been deliberately misinterpreted by political progressives as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, what it actually does is prohibit teachers from initiating inappropriate discussions about the subject. Age on Sexuality in the Classroom. It also requires schools to institute procedures notifying parents of any changes to the services they provide to students, as well as notifying them of changes to the “mental, emotional, physical health or well-being” of their children.
The only reason the bill has become controversial is that it was passed by the Florida state government in the specific context of ongoing nationwide efforts by ‘LGBT’ activists to instill their views in students. on controversial issues such as homosexual activity and “gender transition” procedures. minor children. Obviously, the legislation would make such activism more difficult without parental knowledge, which is consistent with Church teaching that parents are the first educators of their own children and that the family is the unit. fundamental to society.
What it does not abide by is woke ideology, a slogan that was originally specifically associated with progressive views on race, but which in recent years has grown to encompass a wider spectrum. progressive perspectives on contemporary political and cultural hotspots. As such, while decrying the United States as a fundamentally racist entity, Wokeism condemns traditional religious beliefs about family and human sexuality as grounded in the evils of “patriarchy” and “heteronormativity”.
While these ideas have figured prominently on American college campuses for several decades, as well as to a large extent in government and the media, it is only more recently that they have begun to surface in classrooms. conference and corporate executive suites. This seems odd, given that diehard social progressives are usually some of the most outspoken critics of capitalism. But the growing secularization of Western society has generated an elite class that sees “no need for outmoded belief systems and religions,” as Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles noted in a reflection he spoke last year on the rise of secular ideologies, and as a result, the woke mentality also dominates much of the corporate world.
Yet the extent to which these progressive beliefs are sincerely held by business leaders is debatable, as Douthat pointed out in a 2021 speak at the Napa Institute. While some business leaders may subscribe to woke ideology because they fully agree with its premises, in many cases they support radical social agendas for other reasons, such as seeking to prevent governments on the left to raise corporate tax rates or try to grow their businesses. ‘ ability to recruit university graduates who are deeply committed to progressivism.
But, Douthat added, whatever reasons might incline the leaders of a particular company towards woke capitalism, in general their support is a tribute they feel compelled to pay in order to continue doing business in the world. Contemporary America. That’s why, at this time, Disney is standing firm against Florida’s parental rights bill, even though it could do irreparable damage to the Disney brand, which was historically based on adhering to family values.
At its core, woke capitalism rejects many of the Christian principles that once informed the decision-making of our nation’s business leaders and fostered in them an impulse to treat their workers fairly and serve something greater than the company’s net income. This Christian foundation has now been replaced by a harsh and ruthless secular belief which, in the cause of social justice, zealously demands that corporations embrace radical agendas as sacred imperatives that no American can be allowed to interfere with, including their own employees.
This current corporate awareness creates an almost impossible situation for faithful Catholics who have worked hard throughout their careers to succeed in business. Either you compromise your values and move on, or you run the risk of having the business canceled. In fact, it has become almost impossible in this environment for a faithful Catholic to be the CEO of a public company.
What is also sadly ironic about this situation is that Catholic social teaching offers the best possible framework for solving societal problems. Although proponents of corporate awakening claim that he tries to solve serious social problems, he fails to find the right answers because he is crippled by his lack of supernatural dimension.
“Today’s critical theories and ideologies are deeply atheistic,” Bishop Gomez noted in his reflection on secular ideologies. “They deny the soul, the spiritual and transcendent dimension of human nature; or they think it has nothing to do with human happiness.
As Catholics, we already have the solution that corporate America needs to truly achieve genuine success and lasting human happiness: faith in Jesus Christ. It is especially fitting to remember this now as we enter the season of Easter, the liturgical time when we rejoice in the saving resurrection of Our Lord from the dead. And it is our mission to proclaim this truth, in a spirit of charity, to all who need to hear it proclaimed again – whether they occupy a privileged chair in a large company or find themselves in the one of life’s most difficult peripheries.
Happy Easter, and God bless you!