CATHOLIC BUSINESSES SENSE
THE CANCEL-CULTURE DANGER
Even if that group has a common characteristic — such as religious identity — there can still be wide variations in awareness and sentiment from individual to individual.
Sometimes, however, you get a strong feeling about the overall direction of their current thinking, collectively. Such an occasion was my recent involvement in the Catholic Marketing Network’s “Momentum” industry expo event.
CMN is the trade association of Catholic bookstore operators, publishers, and vendors of religious items. A wide array of apostolates and specialized faith ministries also participate in the organization. And as technology plays an ever-larger role in religious communication, so do broadcasters, video producers, and online media developers.
I was at this year’s CMN event representing Good Shepherd Catholic Radio, producer / distributer of my weekly talk show, “Free Expression” (for which I obtained a number of interviews while I was there). I also chaired a panel discussion on a timely topic: resisting censorship, cancelation, and de-platforming.
Everybody knows about such outlandish efforts at suppressing political diversity and restricting commerce as Donald Trump being thrown off Twitter, and Mike Lindell’s My Pillow business being sandbagged by social media and ditched by his payment processor.
But you may not have perceived “Big Tech” or “Big Finance” as looming threats to people who sell prayer books and rosaries.
As a matter of fact, I wasn’t sure the attendees would be particularly interested in what our panel had to share. It became clear, though, that Catholic business folks are not only aware of the growing danger, they’re highly anxious about it.
It’s not that these people spend their days devouring Whatfinger News, Gateway Pundit, Heartland Daily, or other conservative information sources. Quite the contrary, they tend to focus on spiritual matters and Church issues.
But I think some kind of turning point was passed when “Big Tech” tried to quash several books — not all of which are explicitly Catholic — that address issues touching on traditional moral teaching and the Christian life. I refer to such works as…
- Carrie Gress’ The Anti-Mary Exposed
- Kimberly Cook’s Motherhood Redeemed
- Paul Kengor’s The Devil and Karl Marx
- Regina Doman’s Stations of the Cross for Kids
…and especially books that question current gender insanity, such as…
- Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, by journalist Abigail Shrier
- When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, by political philosopher Ryan T. Anderson
I’ve written before about how all these titles have been the objects of digital book burning. And while I can’t assume everyone at CMN was an avid reader of my blog, it was clear to me they sensed that the current hostility toward Catholicism and its ethical precepts could soon reach their doors.
There was not the slightest objection when the panel suggested that Catholic bookstores might soon face attacks as purveyors of socially objectionable and politically incorrect ideas. If anything, there was a shudder of agreement.
That anxiety is justified. Assaults on the First Amendment are getting bolder and more open.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently acknowledged that the Biden administration is working with social media companies to censor misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines.
Like how the majority of new infections are appearing in vaccinated individuals?
God only knows how else Joe and Zuck will be cooperating.
The Progressive cancel corps has even begun to attack its own. Democrat online fundraising platform ActBlue has removed the donation page of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, so recently hailed as lock-down hero of the pandemic.
It’s now alleged that some female staffers have been subjected to the Gov’s dubious libidinal inclinations. Such nasty, and decidedly un-feminist, behavior has put ol’ Andy on the outs, tech-wise.
Well, it’s not for me to defend anybody’s waywardness. But I can’t help savoring the irony in the Cuomo situation. This is, after all, exactly the kind of stuff the Left has always relished, in regard to Donald Trump.
Still, we must remember that these are only allegations against Cuomo at this point. Even he is entitled to due process. And who made ActBlue guardian of the nation’s morals, anyway?
The bottom line on our panel discussion was that hostility toward religion is real and increasing. Faith-based businesses — and for that matter, all who aren’t on board with the Progressive worldview — need to minimize their dependence on “Big-Tech,” “Big-Finance,” and “Big-Anybody-Else” who can mess up people’s lives over ideology, politics, and bigotry.
And to counter it whenever possible.
There are stirrings that this is happening. Andrew Torba, founder of the free-speech net, Gab, has announced that he’s developing plans for a Gab Marketplace, complete with advertising opportunities, much like Facebook, along with a payment processing service alternative to PayPal. If he makes any significant progress along these lines, you can be sure he’ll be obstructed every-which-way, just as he’s been with his social network.
Torba’s not Catholic, but he surely deserves interfaith encouragement.
For that matter, Catholic business folks ought to get their own act together and develop services that are accommodating to entities engaged in promoting views, values, and behaviors consistent with the Judeo-Christian moral heritage.
Same goes for faithful Protestant, Orthodox, and Jewish business people. We’re all in this together. And there’s a market out there. The high anxiety I saw at CMN convinced me of it.
Let’s get busy serving that market.
We might just save our nation along the way.
Participants in our panel were Nick De La Torre of the missionary apostolate, Awaken Catholic, and Sr. John Dominic Rasmussen of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Both of these organizations are doing sophisticated evangelization work online, and both have encountered interference. Cathy Gilmore, CMN marketing and communications officer, also took part, describing an alternative financial service under development. Yours truly facilitated the discussion.
Our exchange drew attention to the opportunities afforded by technology to gain visibility in simple, inexpensive, and warmly personal ways. One good example is a Facebook campaign, created by Our Lady of Grace Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which puts a human face on its business by featuring photos of customers. Here’s an example of the OLGB ad series…
The urgency of developing non-cancelable alternative services becomes clearer in light of how well organized are the forces on the other side of the great cultural chasm. Yes, Virginia, there really is an LGBT Chamber of Commerce…CMN’s “Momentum” event is essentially a trade show, though it includes devotional and educational programs that give it a distinctly spiritual dimension. But whenever people in a particular industry get together, you can always find some silliness, and CMN was no exception. There was a booth where you could have your picture taken with Jesus…Incidentally, Nick De La Torre interviewed me on his Podcast, “The Awaken Catholic Show,” about my novel, “My Brother’s Keeper.” You can catch it here…
If you have a Catholic business or are involved in an apostolate that’s focused on communication, you might want to consider joining the Catholic Marketing Network. Check out the organization here…