Moral Dilemma

The problem with caring about a cause, an issue, a concept, is that at some point your caring, your committment, are bound to be tested.

I knew, when I joined Curves, that the owner of the parent company was a fundamentalist Christian. I read on the CurvesForum, the night before my first session, that there are some franchises that play Christian workout music, and while I respect the right of anyone to worship in any way they want, I made up my mind that if confronted by such music, I’d ask them to change it. Admittedly, in the privacy of my own home, I also joked about the concept of Christian workout music. Even Fuzzy, who grew up Baptist, found humor in this. As he said, “It brings a whole new dimension to ‘Jesus, Lift Thy Cross’.”

Then, as did many people, I read in various places about how the Gary Heavin, the founder of Curves, donates a portion of the profits to anti-choice organizations. And this…this troubles me. In fact it’s made me heartsick.

While my time at Curves has been brief, I’ve never been to a gym that felt comfortable, and non-judgemental. I get a kick out of the old Chinese woman who challenges you to jogging races on the recovery boards, and am vicariously proud of the highschool student who comes in alone after school, and quietly goes about her workout. I even enjoy the cheesy “hooked on oldies” workout music. It’s hard to dread the next machine when “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is chorusing in your brain.

And at the same time, the thought of going back in there, now that I have this knowledge, is giving me the same, “Lightning shall strike me down” feeling that I had while sitting through an extremely anti-semitic Christmas sermon, the first time I visited Fuzzy.

I could stop going, but there’s no other gym in my neighborhood that is female-only, inexpensive, and offers drop in circuit training. If I had the money, I’d open my own franchise, but alas, I don’t. I could donate an amount equal to what I spend to a pro-choice organization, but that wouldn’t really be more than a band-aid on my conscious.

And so I’m torn, and I’m tired. The two are not related. I’m burnt out by work, by life, by the last few days of heat. I’m just…tired. Stressed. And what I want more than anything is to retreat from the world and sleep for a week, because right now I’m not sleeping. Or, I am, but it’s fitful and unsatisfying.

I wonder if my sleep is disturbed because I’m so stuck on this whole Curves issue.

5 thoughts on “Moral Dilemma

  1. I first heard about it on the Weight Watchers board–they gave a link to the Christianity Today article, and I looked it up on Snopes when I heard about it, as well.

    I…still don’t know.

    Does it bother me? Yeah, definitely. I think it might bother me more if I knew that my owners were directly contributing. I don’t know how franchises work, exactly–I don’t know how much of their profits are sent his way, if any at all. I just don’t know.

    And even then, would I stop going? Well…I don’t know that, either. That would be a really hard choice, for me. I really enjoy Curves, and I hated dealing with the gym at the apartment complex. That’s not much of a choice–indirectly contribute to these anti-choice organizations, or deal with the abject personal humiliation that was the gym.

    Either way, it sucks.

    I think, in the end, if I decide to withdraw from Curves, the only one that I end up hurting is myself. No matter what *I* decide to do, he’s still going to keep donating money to charities that he feels are best suited to his politics–and that’s his right, just as it’s my right to disagree. If I quit going, though…ugh.

    So…yeah. This sucks. :/

  2. I was more concerned when I heard about “matching contributions.”

    Interestingly, another Liz whose blog I read (she’s “I speak of dreams” in my blogroll) pointed out that the Christian press is reporting on this and lauding the man, while the mainstream press is carefully not mentioning any of it, and simply hailing Heavin as a good businessman.

    Sometimes, I think it’d be easier to be ignorant and apathetic.

  3. Just in case you’re interested, there’s a thread on the WW message board about Gary Heavin’s response to the article. Mind you, I saw it on Christianity Today, not in the Chron or the Merc, but still. Something to keep in mind.

    Sorry about the ugly URL in the link–if you can’t read it, let me know, and I’ll see if I can find it elsewhere.

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