Monday, March 14, 2005

3 on Moral Values

Three articles worth reading:
  • The International Herald-Tribune on the ouster of Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher after an affair with a staffer:
    For investors the issue is whether moral values necessarily translate into shareholder value. Are boards correct to evaluate a chief executive's sex life and other personal behavior when judging leadership and performance?

    The answer, academic experts say, is yes. "It is a complicated issue in respect to shareholders," said Rakesh Khurana, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. "But ultimately the value of a company depends on how much faith people have in the organization they work for and the amount of effort they are willing to put in."

    That faith is fostered by an ineffable and scarce element that Khurana calls legitimacy.

    "Legitimacy gives you the benefit of the doubt," Khurana said. "It means you can take action with less scrutiny and fewer objections than a company without it. Legitimacy is ultimately the source of all power and authority. When a leader is no longer seen as legitimate, the title doesn't mean anything."


  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Sylvester Brown, Jr. reflects on some recent front-page articles in his own paper:
    It was a short blurb and photo on the American's front page that really brought Christ home, however. A photo showed the Rev. Laurel Hickman preaching at West Side MB Church. Hickman was one of many ministers involved in last week's annual "Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS."

    The goal of the national effort is to form a coalition of black Christians, Muslims and other denominations to offer consistent educational services and prayer to heal the global scourge of AIDS.

    Whoa, wait a minute. I can see Jesus defending the poor, fighting for the sick and mentally challenged, and maybe exploring stem cell research. But AIDS? How would Christ view a disease that's stigmatized by homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and illegal drug use?

    "He'd reach out to people afflicted with AIDS the same way he reached out to lepers," answered the Rev. Lloyd Edwards, a pastor with Progressive Baptist Church in St. Louis. "AIDS is the leprosy of the 21st century, and Jesus wasn't afraid to help lepers. He healed them."

    Interesting to read that from one black man to another, especially against the "Bigots" post below.

  • I'll have more to say about this last topic presently:
    A movement is growing to redefine religion in public life and to broaden the focus on "values" and "morality."

    • In Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, leaders of the Episcopal Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church held a press conference and issued a joint statement on President Bush's 2006 budget - finding it "unjust."

    • In Utah, faith leaders have formed the "Utah Poverty Partnership," informing the Legislature that its budget will be judged by whether it enhances or undermines the lives and dignity of those most in need.

    • In Minnesota last month, leaders of the Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish and Islamic faiths called for income-tax increases and fewer spending cuts.

    • In Oregon, an interfaith delegation wearing clerical garments delivered a letter to the House speaker and Senate president asking them to recognize poverty as a moral imperative, and the budget "determines who gets educated, fed, sheltered, clothed, protected from crime and emergencies, and treated for illness."

    The faith leaders have been empowered by a recent Zogby poll that found abortion and same-sex marriage weren't the most important faith-based issues in voters' minds in the last presidential election.

    When asked to identify the most urgent moral problems facing the United States today, 64 percent of voters in the poll chose greed and materialism or poverty and economic justice. So it is timely for the rabbis and bishops to remind Congress and state legislatures to exercise a complete range of religious ethics and values in their budget priorities.

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