The Very Reverend John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona, decided to do more than just sign a petition against Target’s bathroom policy and paid a personal visited to a local store to share his concerns – all of which he documented on Facebook.
“Though I have already signed and FULLY support the American Family Association (AFA) boycott of Target for putting kids (especially little girls) at risk of sexual predators in Target bathrooms, I also took an additional step suggested by an article I read recently on the Target policy,” Father Lankeit explains.
The article suggested that people visit their local Target store, ask for the manager, then respectfully express their deep concern and disappointment with the policy.
“As a Catholic priest and a pastor of a parish with thousands of parishioners and with a TV Mass that reaches many thousands more, I wanted the manager to know that I was not coming in as an isolated individual but on behalf of many Catholics who aren’t going to sit on the sidelines for this one,” he wrote.
“So, I met with Joseph, the on-duty store manager, introduced myself and handed him my business card (‘God card’). I told him that as an individual, I regularly shopped at this particular store for everything from socks (black of course!) to toiletries to the best orange cranberry nut muffins on the planet. I then explained I have a parish with thousands of parishioners, many of whom, if they take their relationship with Jesus seriously, intend to find alternatives to Target.”
To put a finer point on the whole conversation, he then added: “If any organization has learned the hard way the importance of protecting children, it’s the Catholic Church. So you can imagine, this troubling policy hits very close to home for me.”
This admittance got his attention. “ . . . [B]ecause it showed a willingness on my ‘organization’s’ part to face reality when grave evil entered into the picture and children were deeply hurt and damaged.”
Father admits hat he didn’t make the visit to Target because he thought it would change anything. This objective can be left to the success of the petition and customers who continue to boycott the store. His reasons for making the trip were much more profound.
“I did it because planting the seeds of Truth is not optional for a Catholic — and this conversation with Joseph may have opened HIS mind and heart enough to make him rethink his personal ‘policy’ on the consequences of looking the other way in the face of very evil and immoral activities in our culture…which always, ultimately, damage children the most.”
Fr. Lankeit offers this advice to all of us: “If you REALLY care about this issue, please go in and talk to the manager and your local Target store–RESPECTFULLY and without any ‘vibe’ that makes them feel attacked, personally. It’s not about changing corporate policy as much as changing the heart of the person in front of you.”
He concludes: “I think Jesus would consider this approach to be…’on Target’!”
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