Welcome to the Hotel Gomorrahpornia
March 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
My friend Austin Ruse recently published a column on hotels as a major distribution channel for the pornography industry. As seedy and disgusting as the business is, I’ve been aware of it for quite a long time now. Investing in hotels is like investing in pharmacies: there may be morally unproblemmatic ones out there, but they are very, very few and very, very far between.
What I didn’t know until I read the column though was this:
While it is shocking that seemingly good American companies make money on hard-core pornography, even sadder is the Catholic dimension to this sordid business. The largest investor of Catholic money in the world is Christian Brothers Investment Services. It handles the funds of 1,000 Catholic institutions including dioceses, religious orders, and even Catholic organizations like the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights.
The Christian Brothers have an investment policy on pornography. They do not invest in companies “whose primary line of business is products or services aimed exclusively at inducing sexual excitement or a prurient interest in sex.” This means that they have no problem investing in companies whose secondary or tertiary line of business is hard-core porn. The Christian Brothers are not so nuanced on tobacco investing or investing in “militarism and violence.” Putting money into such companies is ruled out by the Christian Brothers.
So tobacco is ruled completely out of school, military supplies are utterly off limits, but porn is just fine and dandy as long it is only part of a company’s portfolio rather than its primary business.
Thomasis said the Christian Brothers remain in such companies in order to change them from within. When the interviewer pointed out that over the previous years the Christian Brothers had offered not a single stockholder resolution on porn – though they had offered dozens of others on such topics as tobacco, the environment, and arms’ sales – Thomasis said his conscience was clear and ended the interview.
“Change them from within”.
I’m not even going to go there.