Profit Machine

On KQED’s forum program last Thursday, retired congressman Barney Frank talked about the recent “religious freedom” laws that Indiana enacted and that Arkansas was considering. He said something that struck me:

“I’m really glad we have this moral objection to homophobia. But what really helps in America is when people say, ‘Look, morality aside, I can’t make money if you’re going to do this.’ So now you have the business community overwhelmingly announcing that hatred interferes with the profit motive. And that’s how we’re going to beat it [homophobia].”

I heartily agree with Mr. Frank. In fact, I think he’s entirely right, and I want to celebrate the plethora of companies that stepped forward against these bills in recent weeks. However, I want to call attention to the fact that we need a profit motive to effect this kind of change in our country.

We have a deeply broken culture if it takes a profit motive for us to not perpetuate hatred and discrimination. Money is important, but that self-evident truth of “all men are created equal” must hold sway over the profit machine.

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