Saturday, August 06, 2005


Saturday news cycle eye-opener

A lesson in ethical investing

Usually, I associate "dumping stories in the trash"* -- the practice of releasing embarrassing news items on Friday so that they appears in the far-less-read-and-watched Saturday news publications and broadcasts -- with the current presidential administration.

But check out this one in today's New York Times, front page:
Threat to Divest Is Church Tool in Israeli Fight

The Presbyterian Church USA announced Friday that it would press four American corporations to stop providing military equipment and technology to Israel for use in the occupation of the Palestinaian territories, and that if the companies did not comply, the church would take a vote to divest its stock in them.
Let me get this straight. The Church is heavily invested in swords and from time to time insists that they be beaten into plowshares? You have to love the investment strategies of organizations that take the moral high ground.

What the New York Times didn't report is this:
This move follows on the heels of similar divestment threats made by the Church. Last month, the Church successfully pressed internet porn providers to install parental control software by threatening to withdraw the Church's investments in research and development by those companies.

And Last year, the Church's board of directors came one vote shy of deciding to sell off its investments in several Nevada-based companies that operate casinos and escort services, after those companies had refused the Church's insistence that they offer faith-based counseling to their customers.
Okay, so the last two are made up, but you get the point.
*Hat tip: The West Wing.

They also celebrate the fact that they are trying to "appear" to be even handed. Different than BEING even handed.
Two of the companies are Motorola and Caterpillar, which make many products other than swords and are big companies to invest in. If these churches (UCC, Presbyterian, branches of Episcopal and Methodist -- see ) choose to use their investment money to make a statement, it's their money.

Did you see last week where Israel is expanding settlements in the West Bank -- right now while the war is on -- contrary to U.S. requests? I understand the water issue and the fear factor too. We should have more discussion about these issues, especially since American money is being requested for so many projects, and since that appears to be part of the bigger regional peace puzzle. But I accept your criticism of these churches; I don't think it makes you anti Christian anymore than an American questioning AIPAC makes one anti Semitic. We don't have to be the world's policeman but we don't have pay for others' policy decisions either, with no end in sight.

I hope Dr. Condi Rice can stick with the roadmap, getting both countries to honor their obligations and confront their religious extremists, and realize that neither people are going anywhere so it would be best to work together.

How different things might have been if the "Palestinians" had been compensated for their loss of property originally when the state was created instead of breeding in pens. Just as the Gaza settlers are being compensated now. A little money makes things go easier, and when things go easier, you get more peace it seems. --MaryG.
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