And during that same time the National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters has mocked the bishops for doing so. He has ridiculed them for claiming that any organization, except the church’s own institutions, has a public claim to obeying Christian conscience against Obamacare’s mandate to provide abortifacients, contraception and sterilization.
But now Winters is harshly criticizing the bishops for not creating a document that says businesses should follow the Gospel. This week, when the bishops were not able to create a document addressing poverty and the economy, Winters revealed that he is all for Gospel values in business if liberal causes are at stake:
A CEO might wish to follow Church teaching, pay a living wage to her workers, recognize their collective bargaining rights, ensure decent working conditions. But, if those humane actions cause the stock price of her company to decline, she will be fired, the company will move to a “right-to-work” state or aboard, and it will be back to business as usual. All, repeat all, the incentives of our hyper-financialized economy focus on the bottom line of profit, not the bottom line of human dignity. The economy in which we live not only invites, it often requires, actions that are antithetical to the Gospel. Multinational corporations flee a living wage like the plague and they pay no never mind to the social devastation of factory closings.
It exemplifies a “focus on the bottom line of profit” for Obamacare to deny conscience and impose crushing penalties on Christians in business to force them to provide items that violate Church teaching. Yet given the chance to make this exact point in a break with his partisan ideologues and the candidate he said he wanted to win, Winters didn’t congratulate the bishops for insisting on Gospel values in business: he attacked them for it, and continues the same attack to this day.
Winters insists that only Church institutions have a claim to conscience protection; following the Gospel is not the job of Christians in business, and to say otherwise (as Pope Benedict has done) is to “feed the individualistic beast.” But if the “living wage,” “collective bargaining rights,” and “decent working conditions” are at stake, suddenly Winters’ amnesia sets in and the left is once again the champion of living the Gospel in business.
Winters often claims that he laments that Catholics don’t rise above right-wing and left-wing ideology. But he took one position when it benefited the candidate he wanted to win, and the opposite position a few days after the election when it reinforces his narrative that Republicans are evil.