Should corporations take any sort of stand on morality?In July, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, announced the following: "We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical...
In July, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, announced the following:
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
Should corporations be taking any sort of stand on morality?
On the one hand, one thinks, "yes," corporations should take public stands on moral issues because taking moral stands is good. On the other hand, one recognizes that what pohnpei says is precisely true: in this milieu, a public stand on moral issues is sure to offend or even enrage as many people as it pleases. Maybe a solution is a private corporate moral stand, a stated stand on moral issues released within the corporation but not issued publicly. This could (1) fulfill the corporatiion's need to be morally active while (2) enlightening employees as to the moral character of their employers (even is the stand itself is not embraced or shared, it may be encouraging and motivating to know one's employer has a moral character), yet (3) it could protect the corporation (whose main business is business) from public backlash and cries of protest.
There is no reason that corporations should not take such stands. We tend to applaud corporations that take stands we like, so we should not be angry when other corporations take stands that we dislike. If Microsoft, for example, backs domestic partnerships for gay couples and/or gives benefits to such couples, liberals do not complain. Therefore, liberals should not complain if Chick-Fil-A takes the opposite stand. The same applies, in reverse, to conservatives.
If we do not like the stands a company takes, we should boycott it. But we should not try to ban companies from taking stands.
I would rather see corporations stick to their own business and stay out of the morality business. That's not to say that I think they shouldn't be permitted to take a moral stand, I just don't really care what their position is.
It doesn't matter to me how Chik-Fil-A feels about marriage. I'll bet Mr. Cathy is sorry he ever said what he said, although he won't admit it. And you won't see other major companies making that same mistake very often.
We can all have our opinions and beliefs. But we shouldn't be surprised when somebody else takes a strenuous stand against us if we start talking about it in public.
I do think that a corporation should take a stand on morality, to a point. A corporation needs to be careful, because you will risk alienating customers. When Chick-fl-la spoke out against gay marriage, it made some people come to the store and made some leave.