Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Jon Haber of Bearing Witness examines the investment portfolio of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and finds some pretty stunning oversights for an organization concerned with ethical investment.
Readers will of course be familiar with the PC(USA) as one of the mainline Protestant denominations spearheading the efforts to divest from companies that "support Israel's occupation." Currently, the PC(USA)'s Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee is investigating the church's investments and making recommendations to implement the directives of the church's bureaucracy.
Haber's investigation finds a lot more to be concerned with than companies like Caterpillar and Motorola for a church that claims to be interested in ethical investing. Specifically, he finds that, among other problematical holdings, the church holds stock in five corporations listed among DivestTerror.org's "Dirty Dozen" corporations who "do business with terrorist-sponsoring states" and which "exemplify the various ways in which this behavior is helping prop up such governments and, thereby, enabling their ability to aid and abet terrorism."
It should be noted that the PCUSA MRTI committee supposedly spent a great deal of time combing the church's portfolio for equities of questionable moral value (which is how Caterpillar, ITT, Citigroup and the rest were identified). Given that it took me no more than fifteen minutes to discover the information noted above regarding the five "dirty" investments in the New Covenant Growth portfolio, one wonders just how much effort this group dedicated to such a project...
How much effort, indeed. And who assisted with that effort? Haber concludes:
It's one thing to gamble with the assets of individual investors or the reputation of the church based on the institution's own decisions. But what does it say when this reckless course is pursued due to the urging of those who care less about the return for New Covenant Fund shareholders or the reputation of the Presbyterian Church than they do about their own narrow political agenda?
Is the PC(USA) serious about ethical investing, or is the PC(USA) itself being used to further some other, more nefarious agenda? It is a reasonable question to ask.
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: PC(USA) continues major investment in 'Dirty Dozen' terror-state investing companies.
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