It’s probable that most of the readers of this piece, including those in my own family, use Pay-Pal. It’s efficient, quick, and reliable.
Pay-Pal has also just announced it has “canceled its plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte, following passage of a North Carolina law that prevents cities from creating non-discrimination policies based on gender identity.”
Interesting phrasing: the measure North Carolina’s State House and Senate passed overwhelmingly last week simply said that a person has to use a bathroom based on his or her biological sex, thereby overturning an ordinance passed in Charlotte that would allow transgendered persons to use the restrooms of their opposite biological sex. Family Research Council has applauded Gov. Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, and the leadership of the North Carolina legislature for their courage in standing for common sense and public decency on this issue.
Put quite simply, the political leaders of one of America’s largest states have simply affirmed that a biological male may not use a biological female’s restroom and vice-versa. The very name of the bill, “The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act,” captures what the legislation is about: It means that women and men will not have their privacy violated or security threatened by persons of the opposite sex using their facilities.
Subjecting persons of one sex to members of another in close and highly personal settings violates the natural desire for privacy with respect to our sexuality that is grounded in the intuitive, unlearned response native to each of us.
This brings the issue back to Pay-Pal: According to its CEO Dan Schulman, “Becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable.”
One feels his chest inflate with righteous indignation just reading this stentorian affirmation, right?
Maybe not so much in light of Schulman’s recent trip to Cuba with President Obama. As reported in Fortune Magazine, Schulman said “PayPal would start allowing money transfers to and from Cuba later this year … the opportunity for expansion is huge in Cuba, where $2 billion in cash is sent from the U.S. to Cuba annually.”
Well, well: Apparently Mr. Schulman’s moral unction knows national boundaries. Mr. Schulman should consider the following from the readily available 2015 Annual Report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom:
Serious religious freedom violations continue in Cuba, despite improvements for government-approved religious groups. The government continues to detain and harass religious leaders and laity, interfere in religious groups’ internal affairs, and prevent democracy and human rights activists from participating in religious activities. Despite constitutional protections for religious freedom, the Cuban government actively limits, controls, and monitors religious practice through a restrictive system of laws and policies and government-authorized surveillance and harassment.
Additionally, regardless of religious affiliation, political repression is part of the Cuban government’s stock-in-trade, one that continued unabated during the President’s trip to the island nation last month. USA Today reported that “Just hours before President Obama landed Sunday in Cuba for his historic visit to the communist island, Cuban authorities arrested more than 50 dissidents who were marching to demand improved human rights.” The dissidents were part of the Ladies in White group, which began after the Communist government arrested, tried, and sentenced scores of male journalists and others for demanding greater freedom in the early 2000s.
Let’s make it a bit more personal: According to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM):
While President Obama was watching baseball (in Cuba), Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso was sitting in a police station. Barroso, a Baptist pastor, blogger and friend of VOM, was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and detained at his home (which also serves as his church) just hours before Air Force One landed in Havana. A few hours after the president left Cuba, Pastor Barroso was set free and returned to his family … Pastor Barroso is a bold pastor and outspoken advocate for religious freedom in his nation, and as such he is seen as a threat to the communist government of Fidel and Raul Castro. The Cuban government decided to make sure there would be no “distractions” during President Obama’s visit, so Barroso and dozens of other dissidents were detained by police in the days leading up to the president’s arrival.
It will be interesting to see if Dan Schulman will decide to revisit his decision to advance his corporation’s potentially “huge” expansion into Cuba. I’m sure for a man of his exquisite moral sensitivity this is a painful moment.
Rob Schwarzwalder is the Senior Vice-President of the Family Research Council.