In recent days, several vaccines for COVID have reached the final approval process. The USCCB indicated that Catholics can morally take the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. At least 28 other US bishops have issued concurring statements.
There is a concern about remote material cooperation in evil. The USCCB notes it in their statement. However, some have thought this so grave that Catholics should not get vaccinated.
In response to this, here are 12 cases of more proximate cooperation in evil. All of these are less remote than any cooperation in evil done by getting these mRNA vaccines. They are all generally for a lesser good than protection from COVID.
1. Buy Energizer Batteries, Heinz Ketchup, Doritos, Lays, or similar.
All of these products are made by companies that support Planned Parenthood directly with financial donations. Heinz sells 650 million bottles of ketchup a year. If 1/100th of a cent from each bottle was donated to Planned Parenthood, that would fund 217 abortions annually in the USA ($300 per abortion). Other companies are similar.
2. Wear diamonds.
Unless you specifically know your diamond was sourced from an ethical mine there is a good chance it was not. After the movie Blood Diamond pointed out how many diamonds were mined to fund warlords, some changes came, but they were limited as Time reported in 2014:
In 2003 the diamond industry established the Kimberley Process, an international certification system designed to reassure consumers that the diamonds they bought were conflict-free. But more than 10 years later, while the process did reduce the number of conflict diamonds on the market, it remains riddled with loopholes, unable to stop many diamonds mined in war zones or under other egregious circumstances from being sold in international markets.
The 2020 US Department of Labor’s report on forced labor and child labor indicated 6 countries still used one or both in diamond mining. Child labor and forced labor are forms of slavery and often involve beating and or working these people to death. Human Rights Watch ranks jewelers on their commitment to ensuring ethically sourced diamonds and no large chain achieves “Excellent.”
3. Eat bananas.
Chiquita and Dole who provide most Bananas are involved in many unethical things to get those bananas to our table. Chiquita was found guilty of funding terrorist organizations to protect its bananas in 2007. Dole used a chemical on its bananas that it knew would sterilize the workers, then only compensated half of them. Both regularly work adults and children 12 hours a day and threaten workers. The same report from the Department of Labor indicated 5 countries have child labor to get bananas.
4. Use 99% of mobile devices.
The vast majority of mobile devices use lithium and cobalt in their batteries. These are hard to come by and are generally mined unscrupulously in poor countries. The Washington Post did a long report on cobalt mining in the DRC. They estimate 40,000 children work in the mines. One person had personally pulled out 36 dead miners, another reported 4 died from unusual birth defects in their small town as a side effect of this cobalt mining. The DRC provides the majority of the world’s cobalt and several companies like Apple admitted this unethically mined metal got into their electronic products.
5. Buy anything made in China.
Anything made in China helps fund the Chinese government through taxes and through the requirement that all manufacturing must either be a Chinese company or a joint venture with a Chinese company. In a country like China, the government controls every company. But all of this helps fund repression in Hong Kong, imprisonment and genocide of Uyghurs, and all the other Chinese human rights abuses.
Many of these manufacturing plants have serious issues in how they treat workers too, such as the iPhone factory with nets to prevent suicides.
6. Watch the live-action Mulan.
I want to make a particular case of this among Chinese products as the credits specifically thank the same organization in the government responsible for the Uyghur genocide: the public security bureau in the city of Turpan.
7. Drink coffee.
The 2020 US Department of Labor’s report on forced labor and child labor indicated 17 countries used children or forced labor to produce coffee. They even have a subsection on coffee that makes one wonder if even the non-slave, non-child labor is just. They state, “Coffee is a risky business. Many coffee workers, often from marginalized populations, are paid on a piecework basis and face sub-minimum wages and excessive working hours. Hazardous conditions are commonplace.”
8. Use Google, Bing, Siri, or any mainstream online search.
Every one of these also easily links to pornography if you search it. None have made any serious effort to remove pornography as a searchable item. There is a Russian language search engine maintained by Orthodox believers that redirects inappropriate sexual searches to information on the 6th Commandment, but I know of no such search engine in English. (Honestly, this would be a good idea if someone wants to make it – I’d definitely support it.)
9.Use Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, American Express or many major insurers.
These are similar to the Energizer Batteries, Heinz, etc. above in that these companies donate money directly to Planned Parenthood.
There are a bunch of other companies – such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, and Safeway – that donate money indirectly to Planned Parenthood through things like United Way. These are also more proximate cooperation in abortion than these vaccines but it is not as evident as those who donate directly.
10. Use Facebook.
Just a few months ago, Facebook showed discrimination against a factual pro-life ad. Facebook also regularly did not respect users’ privacy. In Illinois alone, they had to pay out $650 million. Facebook needs to remove some content but then provides a rather horrendous workplace for those who need to clean out offensive, pornographic or excessively violent posts. These people are paid very little to watch the vilest content in repetition with insufficient support for such trauma in the workplace. This workplace also suffers from the “illusory truth effect” where such reviewers are lead towards dangerous and immoral ideologies by seeing them over and over again. (The “illusory truth effect” is the reality that humans tend to believe something is true if they see it repeated whether it is true or not.) Oh, and they also support Planned Parenthood.
11. Pay taxes.
The US federal government does a lot of highly immoral stuff around the world like CIA black sites. It also offers protection to other countries. For example, right now Saudi Arabia has guaranteed US protection and receives military supplies from the USA. Then it uses that protection and materials to commit war crimes in the Yemeni civil war.
12. Pretty much everything involved in alcohol production and distribution.
Some use alcohol to get drunk. When drunk, people often create car accidents or become abusive to those around them. All of us creating a pipeline to enjoy a few beers on the weekend are also creating a pipeline that provides others to get drunk.
Full story at Through Catholic Lenses, a Patheos blog.