Ken Langone says something icky about the Pope, liberals call for boycott of his former company

101303290-101261117-Untitled-2.600x400r.600x400In 1978, Ken Langone was the lead banker for Home Depot’s IPO. Langone is frequently referred to as a “co-founder” of the company. He sat on the board for 30 years. Using math, 1978+30=2008, which means Ken Langone has not been connected to Home Depot in 5 years. This fact did not stop liberals from calling for a boycott of Home Depot after Langone was interviewed by CNBC.

Langone, a self-described devout Catholic, shared a meeting he had with Cardinal Timothy Dolan regarding statements made by Pope Francis about wealth. Pope Francis believes that it is impossible to worship both God and money, and coincidentally, so did the apostle Matthew. This has wealthy conservatives in a veritable tizzy, because they have been balancing this hypocrisy for generations. How dare some upstart who won’t even sit in a golden throne tell them they can’t worship money and follow the message of Christ.

Mr. Langone is spearheading a $180 million effort to refurbish St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and claims he was approached by a wealthy potential donor who was getting cold feet. Since this anonymous rich person was considering a seven-figure donation, Langone immediately pounced on Cardinal Dolan to hopefully get some advice. Cardinal Dolan, according to the CNBC interview, assured Langone that the gentleman in question was “misunderstanding” the pope’s message.

The message that is upsetting so many uber-wealthy conservatives comes from Pope Francis’ first teaching. He criticized “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” blaming ¬†ideologies that “defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” Zing. The pope has also called on the wealthy to “never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity. No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world.”

Rich conservatives are whining because they think Pope Francis is telling them they are insensitive to the poor. What the pope is actually saying is that to those much is given, much is expected – we have way too much financial inequality in the world and in many countries, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And what rich people are trying not to say out loud – but I’m guessing they’re thinking it – is so the hell what?

I would bet being a really rich conservative Christian is very confusing right now. On the one hand, they hoard money. On the other hand, they supposedly follow the message of a guy who specifically told them not to do that. But I digress; back to Mr. Langone.

Ken Langone supported Mitt Romney for president. He threw a fundraiser for Romney in 2012 that raked in three times more money than anyone expected. Langone has called President Obama “petulant” and “unpresidential” And according to Mother Jones, Ken Langone is a prodigious donor to Republican and conservative groups, including the American Action Network, the “dark-money outfit” run by former Minnesota senator, Norm Coleman. He has sided occasionally with Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Carolyn Maloney and even told Lou Dobbs that rich people need to pay more taxes to help bring down the debt.

So yes, Ken Langone is a really, really rich guy who isn’t a big fan of most liberal ideas and is struggling with Pope Francis. He raised a ton of money for Mitt Romney and worked with Norm Coleman (ick). He’s called the president names. He was targeted by Elliot Spitzer. Ken Langone is all those things, but what he isn’t is the CEO of Home Depot. He never has been.

Imagine my surprise on Thursday when suddenly I started seeing calls to boycott Home Depot because a guy who hasn’t been connected to the company in five years said something icky about the pope. Even more surprising were the large groups of liberals telling the rest of us to shop at Lowe’s.

Let’s look at the reason I don’t shop at Lowe’s, the reason a lot of people I know don’t shop at Lowe’s and why sometimes, Americans have memories like sieves. Think back, back, back to a television show called “All-American Muslim.” In December of 2011, Lowe’s yanked all their advertising off that program. The Florida Family Association was thrilled, as they were the primary group pushing for advertisers to cave to Islamophobia and do exactly what Lowe’s did. FFA, in case you aren’t familiar with their “group,” is run by one guy who hates everything fun and/or different.

Now let’s look at what Home Depot did in response to a hate group. The American Family Association¬†targeted Home Depot for their support of gay rights, encouraging their rabidly right-wing followers to boycott the company. Home Depot, unlike Lowe’s, didn’t cave. They very politely and very firmly told the AFA no thank you, go away. As far as I can tell, there has been no policy change at Home Depot: the company continues to support the LGBT community.

But yes, by all means, let’s boycott Home Depot because an angry rich guy who hasn’t been affiliated with the company for five years is acting like an angry rich guy. And to show Home Depot we’re serious about our liberal values, let’s shop at Lowe’s – the company which, in an act of supreme cowardice, pulled every ad from “All-American Muslim.”

There is a moral here – a lesson we can learn. At our fingertips, we have millions of websites, documents, files and facts that are accessible in seconds. If someone had used those resources before screaming “BOYCOTT,” they would have discovered every single thing I’ve covered in this piece. Most conservatives believe whatever they are told. We can’t be like that. We must be empowered enough to look beyond the rhetoric and the noise, and we must be empowered enough to stand up for the truth. Especially uncomfortable truth. It is only when we leave our comfort zone that we discover who we really are and what we really believe. We simply cannot fall for every hysterical article we read. Take the time to sort it out.

“The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” – George Orwell

Erin Nanasi

Erin Nanasi is the creator of The Bachmann Diaries: Satirical Excerpts from Michele Bachmann's Fictional Diary. She hates writing about herself in the third person. Erin enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. And wombats. Come visit Erin on on Facebook. She also can be found on Twitter at @WriterENanasi.


Facebook comments

  • Kingminnie

    Ken Langone was presented as an owner of Home Depot in all the articles I’ve read. Do we now need to check EVERYTHING when we read from a trusted source? Perhaps the authors need to be more forthcoming.

    Basically, you’re saying we can’t believe anything at all that we read.

    • Kelly Parrish

      Home Depot Major Share Holders

      BLAKE FRANCIS S 700,827 Nov 21, 2013
      TOME CAROL B 586,710 Nov 20, 2013
      ELLISON MARVIN R 194,645 Nov 21, 2013
      CROW TIMOTHY M 185,588 Nov 21, 2013
      MENEAR CRAIG A 108,166 Nov 20, 2013

      Basically all reported “NEWS” must be researched.

    • Grazel

      He was, years ago. He isn’t currently. That’s the fun thing with language. You can state a fact in such a way that it can mean what you want it to, without it meaning what the reader interprets it to mean. Statistics is the same way, as I learned in college statistics class. The same set of data can be used to prove contradictory views all based on how it is presented. Marketing and PR firms, reporters, and news agencies all know this. You can sway an audience without lying based on how you present the information. Wording can be just vague enough that it’s not a lie, it’s just misleading and the audience takes it a certain way (often with coaching and in predictable ways). Facts don’t equal truths. Facts are just data points that can be interpreted and misrepresented.

    • Emora

      What I’m saying is that it took me less than 5 minutes total to find everything I put in the article. There are reputable sources for information around, this site being one of them. Just do your research, especially when folks start screaming “boycott!”

    • Travis

      “Do we now need to check EVERYTHING when we read from a trusted source?” That depends entirely on what you consider a “trusted source.”

  • Robb Thompson

    No, Kingminnie, but you should definitely question it any time someone attempts to tell you what you should think.

    • Jim Bean

      If he/she was inclined to do that, he/she wouldn’t be here.

      • Kingminnie

        I’m quite capable of thinking for myself. I merely read an article. Isn’t that what you did by commenting here? Or maybe you need to be told what to think?

      • Jim Bean

        I was being sarcastic and meant you no personal offense. I DO see how it came out that way, and I sincerely apologize. My point was that this website is geared towards political activism – not the best resource for objective and complete information.

    • Kingminnie

      Well, see, I don’t believe I was TOLD what to think. I read a few articles that referred to Ken Langone as co-founder of Home Depot. To me, that is not “telling me what to think”. Good Lord, I know how to fact check, I’m not an idiot. My point was that apparently now no matter what or where you read anything, fact checking needs to be part of that exercise.

      • Robb Thompson

        Well, what direction were those articles leaning towards? Were they of the “I’m enraged, and you should be too?” variety? Or were they reporting simple facts as facts, leaving you to make your own decisions?
        As has already been pointed out, Ken Langone DID make the comments, and Ken Langone DID help found THD, and people ARE putting the two things together in their minds as one. Did these articles put the second fact together with the first as something germane to how you should feel about the information, or where they disparate facts within the whole. If so, you may not have taken the bait, but it sure sounds as if others have.
        I don’t recall calling you an idiot, it certainly sounds as if you aren’t. You asked a question, I provided my answer to that question. The phrasing of your question did not seem rhetorical to me, so I assumed that it was an honest question.
        I take no news stories that come to me on the Internet at face value, especially if they seem to be trying to drum up my rage on some subject or other. That way of thinking goes for both sides of this national battle that we find ourselves in these days. I take that view all the way back to a line from a song I used to hear on the radio when I was 8; “There’s battle lines being drawn – nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”.
        I recognize the possibility that everyone, including this publication, is trying to tell me how I should think.

  • Quacker

    I agree that as a people, we are to “knee jerk” reaction to everything. What he said is just dumb…..but a boycott of HomeDepot is totally knee jerk and we, as enlightened Liberals, should be more responsible and mature then that. No excuse to act like we are all on Fox News and just need to start something up. Lead by example. Come out against his words and such, but a boycott of HomeDepot, not very responsible to me.

    • Jim Bean

      In the phrase, ‘enlightened liberals’ what does the term ‘enlightened’ mean? My impulse is to conclude it means ‘smarter than most’ but I’m hoping I’m wrong because a truly smart person is too smart to think they’re smarter than most.

      • Robb Thompson

        That seems to be a common approach with some. Take some phrase, define what it means to you, then assume that the way you decide to interpret it is in fact the way that the other party intended it. It goes along with assuming that if you would react to a given situation in some manner, everybody else would of course react in that manner as well.

        I happen to take a literal view on the term “enlightened”, where it means “lit up” or “lights up”. When you take the effort to light something up, you can see that thing more clearly.

        So, for instance when I “light up” your commenting history, I see a pattern that would seem to indicate a rather well-spoken individual whose views always seem to skew in one direction, questioning nothing that originates from that direction but everything that comes from the other.
        Every time I have tried to look at conservative FB, opinion, or news sites, I have had to back away, due to the massive amount of fiery hate that comes from it. It truly feels as if I’m standing at the local sewage settling pond because I hope it might have a good view. Perhaps there are more palatable sites. If so I have not found them, and repeated requests to my conservative friends to point even one out has yielded no results.
        I also find some of this attitude on Progressive sites, but nowhere near the level of the conservatives.

      • Jim Bean

        I am impressed at your insight. My comments are usually in response to a comment or article that is already radically skewed in some direction by someone who is absolutely sure his opinion is the only ‘right’ opinion. Its my way of ‘lighting up’ the landscape around the issue by challenging the originator with counterpoints that I may or may not agree with.

      • Robb Thompson

        Oh, I don’t know. I happen to believe that truth and facts have a much heavier weight than mere opinion. Manufactured truth and propaganda have a far less weight for me though.

      • Jim Bean

        The lead in article was about the Pope, religion, and money. The Pope, formerly despised by the Left has become their darling by speaking out about other people’s greed (but not theirs). I suspect that if he offers a disparaging comment on their genital behaviors he’s going to cease to be their darling rather quickly. I don’t see truth and fact playing a role in any of it.

      • Pat

        “Formerly despised by the Left”…………… where are you getting that information from? Oh, and I suppose you are delusional enough to think any gays or lesbians are liberals only…………guess again. Robb Thompson hit the nail on the head describing your comments as skewing in one direction only. Do you really think you are going to have the power to change our minds??? You are wasting your time. Libs are so much smarter than all you conservatives think they are. My liberal friends are by and large more educated than most of my conservative friends. Give it up, Mr. J.B. You’re fighting a losing battle on here.

      • Jim Bean

        There is no relationship between education and intelligence/complex reasoning skills. Otherwise, they would have predicted the Phil Robertson/A&E thing would blow up in their face. There is also a learning disorder component that is nicely illustrated by the fact that they did the Phil Robertson/A&E thing so close on the heels of their Chick Fil A misadventure.

      • Pat

        My friend has a Masters Degree in Engineering and he is MUCH SMARTER than his very conservative sibling. I have 3 siblings with Masters Degrees in various subjects and they are definitely more intelligent than most people I know. A higher education makes one more knowledgeable, and that makes them smarter. Three of the 4 are liberals and the other is a moderate, therefore, I stand by my previous statements.

      • Jim Bean

        They become more knowledgeable but their complex reasoning skills remain unchanged. Lets use the Duck Dynasty/A&E and Chick Fil A fiascos as an illustration. Liberals were unable to foresee that their attack on Phil Robertson would blow up in their face and make them look foolish. Not only that, they were unable to foresee that even though they had just made the same mistake with Chick Fil A.

      • Pat

        No, the higher education gives them better complex reasoning skills also. You just cannot accept the fact that what I have said is true. Liberals I know are smarter than conservatives I know. You are clearly an ultra-conservative, and you keep saying the same dumb stuff over, and over again. You just gave more proof that I am right!

      • Jim Bean

        Well, if you say so.

      • Pat

        Good boy, Jimmy, good boy!

      • Robb Thompson

        No, the lead in the story was how so many people put 2 and 2 together and got 22, which in turn translated to “Boycott Home Depot!” It was also a suggestion that perhaps people should not make major decisions based on incomplete facts and full-bore jingoism from others.

      • Pat

        Right on, Robb!

  • Jim Bean

    Good news, then, for Home Depot. Every time liberals call for boycott of something, their business booms and their stock soars.

    • Keith

      Your mama must have said,”never give up, Jimmy, never give up”, a million or more times. Mama would be so proud. (Too bad nobody cares what you think).

      • Jim Bean

        That’s good to know.

    • Morgan O’Brien-Bledsoe

      Actually I do know that following the Chick Fil A boycott they lost so much revenue that they stopped using corporate funds to donate to anti LBGTQ groups. Although that one day they did make bank but it didn’t last.

    • SophieCT

      Got any data or are you just imposing your wishes on us?

  • Jacob Aud

    (Psalm 146:3-6)
    Do not put YOUR trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.
    His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; In that day his thoughts do perish.
    Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in Jehovah his God,
    The Maker of heaven and earth, Of the sea, and of all that is in them, The One keeping trueness to time indefinite,

  • Jeffrey Scouler

    Heres what i say you should boycott both ans uspport your local business that is failing due to big business. Forget their political views and remember that places like wamart, home depot, lowes, and other global business are the rulers of the world,, all pope francis is saying is to stop hurting the little guy. Finally a guy who says what is not pc and what he really believes.

  • Morgan O’Brien-Bledsoe

    Wonderful article. Shared it with my FB friends. I hope everyone reads it.

  • Jim

    I have been boycotting Home Depot, Walmart, Whole Foods, Bank of America for years. Not because of some statement that some one reported about the Pope but because I don’t like their business model and as a customer, I get to do that. Home Depot’s whole business is “CHEAP” and out sourced,

  • KSguy

    I really dont shop at either. Mybex girlfriend from hell works at home depot and lowes is too far a drive. I go to menards, better selection lower prices.