Tony Gosgnach
The Interim
In this edition of Corporate Watch, we’ll be focusing mainly on some good news coming out of the corporate world. Look for some not-so-good news and areas of concern in the next edition.

The owners of the Curves fitness chain, Gary and Diane Heavin, came under fire earlier this year for giving away 10 per cent of the business’s gross revenue – $10 million – to charities such as pro-life pregnancy care centres. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ruth Rosen blasted the Heavins for giving millions of dollars to “some of the most militant anti-abortion groups in this country.” The criticisms don’t appear to have injured Curves, however, as the chain is closing in on McDonald’s by raking in $750 million a year.

An imbroglio in Texas has seen local Girl Scout councils severing their ties with the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood organization. A group called the Coalition for Life has followed up on that by trying to get other organizations and businesses to stop their support for PP, partly by establishing a website – Eleven other groups have pledged to cancel their PP support, representing about $20,000 in lost donations.

However, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. admits it continues purposefully to cultivate relationships with Planned Parenthood agencies across the U.S. for “sex education” purposes. In addition, the book On My Honour: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience estimates one in three Girl Scout professionals is lesbian and that the Scouts are “a hot spot” for lesbian relationships to develop. Stopp International has established a website at to track the Girl Scouts’ relationship with PP in the U.S.

Meritas is Canada’s newest “socially responsible” mutual fund company and is a joint venture of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (Ontario) Limited, the Mennonite Foundation of Canada and Mennonite Mutual Aid. It reports that it has a “zero tolerance” policy for corporate involvement in military weapons contracting, alcohol and tobacco manufacturing, pornography, gambling and nuclear power. However, there is no mention of abortion and/or birth control. More information on Meritas is available at its website:

Dr. Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., cautions that “ethical” investment funds often reflect little interest in questions of sexual morality, apart from pornography. Abortion and marriage are rarely mentioned. Ethical funds, he says, should be shaped by authentic moral wisdom, rather than political correctness masquerading as moral wisdom.

A major clothing retailer has decided not to carry what one pro-family activist has called “the most blasphemous product” he has ever seen. Urban Outfitters Inc. had begun selling a refrigerator magnet called Jesus Dress Up – Jesus on the cross with a variety of clothing and accessories that could be added to him, including a Satan’s mask, tights, ballerina’s dress and dogcatcher’s outfit. After receiving a quarter-million e-mails within two days, the Urban Outfitters decided to no longer carry the magnet set.

An AT&T Broadband employee who was fired for refusing to abide by company rules on homosexuality because of his religious beliefs has won a federal court case. Albert Buonanno of Denver, Colo. was awarded $146,269 after being fired for refusing to sign a “certificate of understanding” on the homosexual issue. A pro-family spokesman said the case may embolden other religious people in similar situations.

On the media front, Lingerie maker Victoria’s Secret is discontinuing its raunchy Super Bowl halftime event as a result of public and Federal Communications Commission outcries. Clear Channel Communications, meanwhile, has fired broadcast personality Bubba the Love Sponge and is letting go of shock-jock Howard Stern after a $495,000 (US) fine, while the Castrol oil company is pulling its advertising from the FX Network because of it explicitly sexual and violent police drama The Shield.

U.S. pro-family groups have formed a coalition to urge cable companies to give families more choice on the channels that are transmitted into their homes, so as to be able to avoid – and avoid having to pay for – objectionable material. The Americans United for Cable Choice group includes organizations such as Concerned Women for America.

U.S.-based Pro Vita Advisors – which confronts corporations on abortion, pornography and homosexuality – has announced a record number of pro-life shareholder resolutions this year. The companies targeted include Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Berkshire Hathaway, J.P. Morgan Chase and Prudential. The resolutions seek goals including the end of funding to Planned Parenthood.

General Motors in the U.S. is being taken to court by an employee because of its refusal to let him start an affinity group for Christians. According to GM policy, affinity groups can be based on criteria including “sexual orientation,” but not religion. John Moranski says the policy is discriminatory against Christians.

The Gap Inc. clothing retailer has admitted that its global manufacturing network offers low-paying work in often-hazardous conditions. The company, with the help of an approving faith-based shareholders group, is setting up a rating system to monitor how each factory is performing.

Finally, pro-family advocates may consider making Virginia a vacation stop this summer. That’s because homosexual activists are calling for a boycott of that state for its ban on recognizing same-sex “civil unions,” even from out of state. A spokeswoman for Virginia’s tourism corporation said early indications are that the boycott is not having an effect. In fact, the state’s welcome centres have seen a 16 per cent increase in visitors, while lodging and restaurant sales are on an upward trend.