The U.S. Bishops know something that cannot be recognized by the President and the Left (including pundits of the Catholic Left):
You can’t defend the dignity of workers if you claim that business leaders don’t exercisce religion.
Recently the Bishops issued their annual Labor Day statement, through Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton, California, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
The statement speaks forcefully of the dignity of workers. But it also speaks of the dignity of business leaders. It insists that:
Ethical and moral business leaders know that it is wrong to chase profits and success at the expense of workers’ dignity.
They know that great harm results when they separate their faith or human values from their work as business leaders.
Whenever possible we should support businesses and enterprises that protect human life and dignity, pay just wages, and protect workers’ rights.
President Obama and his cheering section, including among Catholics, reject this idea. They insist that family-owned businesses are incapable of exercising religious values. They say business can only pursue profit. Of course they do this in defending the abortion-pill and contraception mandate under Obamacare.
Anyone who wants to defend the sacred dignity of workers, or of anything else impacted by business, necessarily must affirm that running a business is a moral-thing-to-do. Otherwise it is completely senseless to tell business leaders they must care about values beyond profit, especially due to the Gospel. If business leaders have no religious rights, they have no religious duties.
The U.S. Bishops understand this. They practice what they preach by, “whenever possible” supporting “businesses and enterprises that protect human life and dignity,” because the bishops insist that the Christian faithful have religious freedom when they operate their businesses.
And the Catholic Left continues to attack them for it, telling the bishops that religious exercise by lay families in business is outside the Church’s concern. If the bishops followed this advice it would negate their ability to issue teachings like the Labor Day Statement. It would muzzle large parts of Catholic social teaching that call the business world to care about workers, the environment, society at large, or anything besides profit.
Thankfully the bishops have followed Church teaching instead of listening to pro-Obamacare pundits.