More on Yale’s Templeton-Funded ‘Spiritual Capital Initiative’
Should educational institutions be using donations to create long advertisements for companies crafted like Religious PSA’s and bill them as Documentaries? Should fundamentalists be able to buy vanity documentaries from Yale? This is the US, so the answer is obviously “yes” but the public does need to be aware. Yale’s recent “Spiritual Capital” production promotes the bigoted and anti gay Chick Fil A chain, and there are more to come.
While the film examines if there is value added by the chain closing on Sundays, I doubt that it examines the value lost from people who won’t eat there anymore due to their anti-gay stance.
But one thing “God, Science and Philanthropy” did not do was to provide current examples that would illustrate to readers specifically why or how Templeton funding might be problematic, and the most striking examples I have been able to find are not in the hard sciences at all.
While some examples yet may emerge to support the reasonable concerns, raised in Schneider’s article, about the impact of Templeton money on scientific research, there seems already to be an emerging, dismal effect within the humanities.
Consider: As a February 2010 press release from Philanthropy News Digest described,
The Yale Center for Faith and Culture at Yale Divinity School has announced a three-year, $1.875 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to research and promote the empirical study of “spiritual capital” — the positive effects of spirituality on entrepreneurship and the management of enterprises.
This has born quick, dubious fruit. According to the first of 24 planned “empirical” case studies financed by the Templeton grant, fast food chain Chick-Fil-A is an exemplar of the “spiritual capital” value of gratitude, for closing on Sunday.
But in the area of sexual diversity, Chick-Fil-A might be seem as less than fully gracious; in 2009, Chick-Fil-A’s charitable arm, the Winshape Foundation, gave over $1.7 million dollars to organizations and efforts known for opposing same-sex marriage.
As a January 2011 article from change.org characterized,
“Chick-fil-A is a restaurant where franchises frequently donate to anti-gay organizations like the Pennsylvania Family Institute, Focus on the Family and others. The restaurant’s charitable arm, WinShape, holds conferences for opponents of gay marriage and praises their work. And this charitable arm’s Retreat program puts a blanket ban on gay couples using their facilities, because they “do not accept homosexual couples.” “