Jun 1, 2024

Christian Investors and Gay Pride Month

The Christian investor community cannot shy away from engaging culture on such a vital topic. We must let our light shine. We must keep our salt salty.
Christian Investors and Gay Pride Month

As gay pride month is upon us, we will all see displays of LGBT celebration from many companies. Logos on social media will turn rainbow colors, gay pride flags will be hoisted at headquarters and retail locations, LGBT-themed merchandise will be on prominent display in stores, and advertisements with LGBT themes will run far and wide across media channels. I believe that pushing back against LGBT activism is a critical area of a biblical approach to investing, and though it is complex and often controversial, the Christian investor community cannot shy away from engaging culture on such a vital topic. We must let our light shine. We must keep our salt salty.

But what is a Christian investor to do with this problem? Should every company with a gay pride month celebration be excluded from faith-based portfolios? If so, how on earth can anyone possibly track down all the activities of these companies and screen for them in any cohesive fashion? These are the sorts of questions and quagmires that keep many faith-based investing firms disengaged on this issue, which is a great tragedy and only contributes to the continued expansion of corporate activism in the LGBT arena.

At Inspire Investing, what we are looking for when we tag a company with a negative Inspire Impact Score for LGBT activism, and thus exclude them from portfolios, is a pattern of activity that identifies a company as going above and beyond other companies to promote LGBT ideology. Two key words in that description are important to note.

“Activism” is one of those words. Let me be clear that we do not screen for LGBT “people” or even LGBT “assent” or “agreement.” We live in a society where people are free to hold their own beliefs and make their own choices of how they will live, for which I am deeply grateful because that same freedom allows me to hold my biblical beliefs and live out my faith in the risen Christ. We encourage companies to provide good jobs to good employees, whether gay or straight, Christian or Hindu, black or white, or whatever else. We do not penalize a company for employing LGBT people, nor do we penalize a company for their employees or executives holding viewpoints on marriage and sexuality that deviate from the orthodox Christian view. We do take issue with companies that have chosen to take sides on this social issue by promoting LGBT ideology, seeking to normalize and encourage LGBT sexual behavior and identity. LGBT ideology is harmful and antithetical to thriving as a human individual and society, so we oppose its spread and encourage people to turn away from LGBT behavior and come to Jesus for acceptance, forgiveness, and the abundant life of salvation.

“Pattern” is another word that is important to consider. We do not rely on isolated incidents for our screens but rather on a pattern of activity. Specific incidents can (and should) be dealt with via shareholder engagement rather than divestment, speaking biblical truth to corporate power and leveraging our influence as investors to inspire transformation within companies such that their behavior becomes more and more in line with biblical values as a result of our ownership and interaction with them. However, when various incidents become so numerous and frequent that they indicate a pattern of activity, we are dealing with a more significant issue. Patterns should likewise be opposed, and often, we can be a positive influence as shareholders, even with companies that are engaged with LGBT issues in many problematic ways. At the same time, there must also be a realization that eventually, the pattern becomes so hardened that it is time to “shake the dust from our feet” by excluding those companies from portfolios and moving on. If there are no teeth of divestment, then our engagement has no bite.

Christian investors do not need to limit themselves to investing only in companies that believe and promote a biblical viewpoint on sexual orientation and gender identity. Good luck finding those companies in the public markets. Instead, we see the salt and light principle at work when Christians shrewdly invest in companies and use their position as shareholders to be a God-glorifying influence upon that business. We have been blessed at Inspire Investing to have numerous success stories of such positive changes in corporations we invest with as God has granted us favor in our engagement with them, and God willing, we will have many more in the years to come as the biblically responsible investing movement continues to boom. But when it becomes evident that engagement efforts are going nowhere and not likely to produce any desirable outcome, we need to let companies know that we are serious about the values we say we hold dear by divesting from our shares in those businesses and putting that capital to fruitful use in a business where we can have influence (and possibly an even better financial return while we’re at it).

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

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*Advisory Services are offered through Inspire Investing, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. All expressions of opinion are subject to change. This article is distributed for educational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services. Investors should talk to their financial advisor prior to making any investment decision.
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