• U.S.

Nation: Moore’s Morality Tale

2 minute read

At New York’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore Jr. last week aimed a fire-and-brimstone Easter sermon at those corporations that have decided to leave New York City.* Every firm that departs, said the bishop, helps perpetuate a cycle of rising unemployment, diminishing city services and increased crime. He added: “Even though they may be clothed in economic considerations, most industries’ decisions to leave are basically immoral decisions.” Touching on another consideration for leaving, he described white fear of black crime as a “racist, guilt-fear myth.”

Strong stuff, at Easter or any other time. And, perhaps, laced with a bit of the bishop’s own mythology. To be sure, leaving New York may cost jobs and reduce tax levies, but would it be particularly “moral” for a company to ignore economics and its responsibilities to employees and stockholders? In managing to be sanctimonious and demagogic at the same time, the bishop displayed little real understanding of the reasons for New York’s plight; his premise has very little to do with the city’s overarching problems. Second thoughts and perhaps a second sermon are in order.

*Among recent departures announced is that of Time Inc.’s book division, which will move to the Washington, D.C.. area this fall for economy reasons.

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