Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Latinos, Labour Unions And Cultural Radicalism

Interesting interview with Rev. George E. Schultze SJ, author of "Strangers in a Foreign Land,” discussing the need for American labor unions to recognize that Latinos are social conservatives who are uncomfortable with unions' pro-abortion, pro-gay approach.

Even though this interview and book centers around an American phenomenon, we can learn a few things I believe from Rev. Schultze’s insights and experience, particularly in regard to abortion and the struggle for social justice.

Here are some highlights of the interview that I found encouraging:

In addition, the sexual revolution, no-fault divorce, and abortion have taken a heavy toll on our culture because they do not promote commitment. When we are not responsible and committed people, we lack meaning and direction as a society. Latinos, particularly Latino immigrants, tend to hold more traditional and conservative values even though they are susceptible to the same temptations as every other person.


A slippery slope exists in labor’s wrongheaded acceptance of attempts to redefine marriage and the failure to understand the importance of respecting human life. If we continue to disregard the unborn, we will find greater acceptance of euthanasia. This has already happened in Europe.

Not only will health care workers (who are often union members) benefit from a culture that respects life; it is the right thing to do. Unionists aren’t speaking out because they kowtow to those who in recent generations have set the cultural agenda, normally the media and academics.

Union leaders also find political correctness politically expedient. Isn’t this how Satan works? Unions are the most democratic institutions in the United States and they are susceptible to the pressure of special interest groups who want to leverage the power of the labor movement. Union members need to express their opposition to cultural radicalism through all the internal union channels available to them.

During the early 1990s, the international president of the plumber’s union wrote an article in a national Catholic magazine that explained his opposition to abortion and why he could not vote for candidate Bill Clinton. I have not heard nor read of any other union leader since then making such a clear statement.


Yes, I think the labor movement has fallen into the traps of relativism and subjectivism, where basically the ends justify the means. I now read of nationally known labor leaders receiving awards from NOW for supporting abortion.

Here’s the most inspiring comment in the article I think and it points to the urgent work that we are called to undertake in Canada, not simply in respect to labour unions and movements, but in respect to the creation of a truly just society. Justice demands that every human creature is afforded basic rights and freedoms, the most pressing right currently denied in Canada being the right of the unborn to life.

But organizing is always reorganizing. We need to raise up women and men who possess the cultural insight and the moral standing to sacrifice for the common good and lead us. We need to support labor leaders and workers who are already making holy sacrifices to do the right thing by workers, employers, and the people they serve.

And finally I note the following statement from this author:

I believe that you will find Catholic leaders becoming more vocal in their rejection of organizations that directly or indirectly promote views inimical to Church teaching. They will support unionists who promote Judeo-Christian values in the union hall and at the election polls but will become more outspoken against the use of union members and funds that promote immoral positions.

I certainly hope he is correct about that.

God speed the day when all moral-minded Canadians whether Catholics, other Christians, or those of other faiths and backgrounds become, through responsible voting, a vocal majority in Canada rather than a silent majority.


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