The Mega-Hypocrites

Everything is megasized at companies like Apple. They make mega-profits, have mega-sales of products like the iPhone, and they employ mega-hypocrites like Tim Cook. He is president of one of the most profitable corporations in America, and obviously feels this qualifies him to speak out on constitutional rights like religious freedom. And to commit Apple, the whole company, to his personal views as well.

Cook recently put unsubtle economic pressure on Indianapolis and the state of Indiana to deny full religious freedom to business owners whose conscience forbids them to participate in what they considered to be an immoral celebration of a homosexual “marriage.” Cook wants the religious freedom law changed so that such owners would not have even an opportunity to take their cases to court. Cook wants governments to compel such people to participate in what they consider to be immoral activities or to lose their right to do business.

A number of conservative commentators have pointed out the embarrassing fact that Mr. Cook has never once raised his voice against the much greater discrimination against homosexuals in many countries where his company does business. In many Arab countries, where Apple does a booming business (Tehran has more Apple stores than Indiana), homosexuals not only have no right to “marry,” but can suffer the ultimate discrimination: the death penalty for the crime of sodomy.

I don’t believe there’s any record of Cook ever lodging a complaint against such nations, and why? It’s likely Mr. Cook would not want to lose market share in those countries. But in this country, which is bent upon recognizing sodomy as a human right, Cook favors denying religious freedom to those whose religious conscience forbids them from baking a cake for a homosexual wedding, even if it means losing their livelihood.

It makes no difference to Mr. Cook, and his mega hypocrite friends, that such homosexual activists deliberately target these businesses to crush their owners’ religious freedom, or crush their business, since it’s quite clear that any number of other bakeries would do the work.

But too few commentators, some conservatives included, have mentioned the fact that Mr. Cook and his company do mega-business with China, a country which denies all basic human freedoms to its citizens. The vast majority of iPhones, to name only one product, are manufactured in China, even if some of the components come from other countries. It goes without saying that China’s record on human rights is still atrocious, long after Richard Nixon assured us that doing business with China would open up freedom there.

Apple CEO Tim Cook [Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
Apple CEO Tim Cook [Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
That same mantra is repeated by all kinds of business executives today to justify their cooperating in the suppression of human rights in China by funding that government through their manufacturing activities.

Religious freedom continues to be severely restricted in communist China. There are all kinds of religious activities that can bring a prison sentence in the land of Apple iPhone production. But has Tim Cook cared enough to say anything, even one word against such persecution? You gotta be kidding.

Moreover, China remains a country in which the right to life simply doesn’t exist as a natural right. This country, growing economically from companies like Apple, continues to force women to have abortions if they conceive a second child. That means that China’s government is guilty of murdering millions and millions of unborn children every year. But of course men like Tim Cook are not concerned about that since they perhaps approve of abortion on demand in this country as well. And then, of course, forcing women to have abortions also works out rather well for the assembly lines, since women no longer have to take time off to have a second child – convenient both for totalitarian governments and amoral businesses.

But let’s just stick with the problems confronting homosexuals in China. According to gay human rights organizations, while homosexuality has been decriminalized in China since 1997 (and is no longer on an official list of mental disorders), life is not so gay for gays there. There are still many Chinese laws and regulations, the organizations report, that discriminate against homosexuals. For instance, there is no such thing as gay marriage. Gay families are not allowed, not even in domestic partnerships. Homosexuals have no freedom to promote the gay lifestyle, and labor laws do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

So where is the moral outrage of the Tim Cooks of the corporate world, even regarding the kind of “moral” matters they claim to care so much about that they will interfere in the legal process here to secure new rights for some while denying or severely restricting ancient rights, such as religious freedom, to others? Try to find a single public statement by the high-tech companies in California, who espouse legal rights for homosexuals and say they oppose discrimination of any kind – companies like Google, Yahoo, and Oracle – in support of religious liberty. Are they not mega hypocrites, one and all?

These self-righteous “liberal” corporate managers are every bit as contemptible, even more so, than the older “conservative” robber barons who once exploited laborers to gain great wealth. Apple does the same, only overseas, where they pay about a quarter of our minimum wage to Chinese laborers, who work 60-75 hours weekly, but still can’t earn enough in places like Shanghai to live anywhere but in company dormitories. Our morally outraged businessmen are now the exploiters, their outrage is a sham, because mega profits are their god.

Fr. Mark A. Pilon

Fr. Mark A. Pilon

Fr. Mark A. Pilon, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, received a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from Santa Croce University in Rome. He is a former Chair of Systematic Theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary, and a retired and visiting professor at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. He writes regularly at littlemoretracts.wordpress.com.