Friday, December 23, 2011

Faithful America to U.S. Catholic Bishops: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The snapshot is a photo of a sign Steve and I saw yesterday in City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.  (Sometime down the road, I may bore you with a few details about why we've been traveling in California--in addition to the requirements of Steve's work and a bit of a Christmas break for both of us.)

And speaking of the U.S. Catholic bishops (I have been doing so lately, haven't I, just a little bit?) and corporations and matters ethical: the group Faithful America has a petition online right now asking the U.S. Catholic bishops to put their money where their mouth is, vis-a-vis the people with whom they do business.

Literally so: Faithful America is calling on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to stop doing business with Bank of America, since the USCCB tells the faithful that we should "refus[e] to invest in companies whose products and/or policies are counter to the values of Catholic moral teaching."  As the Faithful America petition notes, "Bank of America helped bring down the economy, received $25 billion in taxpayer bailout funds, and now they've been caught illegally forging documents to kick thousands of struggling families out of their homes."

And the Vatican itself recently denounced the greed of big banks.

Faithful America notes that churches around the country are among those who have now removed their accounts from Bank of America.  Steve and I have, for our part, moved almost the entirety of what paltry savings we have from Bank of America, though we have a friend who works there who has been extraordinarily kind and helpful to us.  To the best of my recollection, the only savings account I've kept with Bank of America is one she helped me set up to put aside money monthly for the education of the two sons of one of my nieces.

I've blogged previously about the shoddy treatment we've gotten from Bank of America when, on two occasions, we went through the long, laborious process of trying to refinance the upside-down mortgage on a house in Florida with which we're now stuck after a former friend lured us to buy the house with false promises of jobs for both of us up to retirement.  On neither occasion would Bank of America refinance the mortgage to help us with the crushing monthly payments, and on both occasions the process of working with the bank was frustrating in the extreme, as we copied and faxed documents that they then claimed to have lost, and as we got one intrusive phone call after another from their agents, some asking outrageous questions about our living situation.

So needless to say, we fully support the current movement to shift accounts from Bank of America, and I've signed the petition asking the USCCB to support that movement to.  And to put its money where its mouth is, if it wants us to listen carefully to episcopal teaching about economic and social justice.

To sign: at the bottom of the page to which the link above points, you'll see a button labeled "Sign Petition."  Click there, and you should be on your way to signing, if you so choose.

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