Just for a moment, imagine you are sitting in a public area and seated near you is a family with two very young children. As children do, they giggle and get loud and, of course, have a hard time sitting still. Yet the parents lovingly work at keeping the kids in line, wanting to respect others around them. Then out of nowhere, a scruffy looking man wearing too much jewelry approaches the family. Immediately, you think he is going to complain about the children and the noise, but something very different transpires. The man meanders up to the table, glancing back and forth as if worried about being detected. In between his glances, you notice his focus is on the little children. It is not a friendly or caring focus but an evil look, even lustful.
Immediately, your mind goes to all those statistics coming out about human trafficking, a term that includes forced prostitution of little children. Statistics like the ones from Save The Children state that children make up 27% of all human trafficking victims worldwide, and two out of every three identified child victims are girls. Your heart rate increases as you feel the disgust and anger of the possibilities of something terrible about to happen. The man stops, puts his hand on one of the little girls’ shoulders. The dad looks up, and the mom looks frightened. Then, glancing back and forth one more time, the stranger leans forward, looks the dad in the eye, and sickeningly inquires, “How much for the little children?”
“Stop right there,” you may be saying to yourself. “Situations like this aren’t real. Maybe in the movies but not real life. And even if it did happen, no parent I know would ever consider selling their children. It is just disgusting to even think about it!”
Most, if not all, would agree with you. But let’s step back a bit. Is it possible some parents unknowingly are promoting and possibly participating in industries and social beliefs that create an environment for such things to exist? According to Dexter Lyons, the founder of the Issachar Mutual Fund, "Most investors are not aware of the impact their investments can have on society, their children and generations to come. However, there are free websites that score companies, ETFs, and mutual funds so you can immediately evaluate the holdings in those investments. Once you know the truth about how your investments are being used, it is hard to keep investing in the same way."
“Can't be,” you say, and I wish you were right. But for a moment, please consider the following.
What if a mom or dad owned stock in a company that spent millions of dollars each year encouraging sexual immorality? And because of the social influence of these promotions, their daughter bought into a promiscuous lifestyle. Now her life is inflicted with sexual disease and broken relationships. Do you think those parents would invest in such a company, be a partial owner, if they knew what destructive activities the company was doing with its profits? How much profit would be necessary to convince them to do so? How much for the little children?
Maybe, like so many, you believe that life is sacred. How much would you have to earn to convince yourself to invest in companies that promote or profit from the abortion industry? According to 2nd Vote, over 25% of Planned Parenthood's $1.3 billion annual revenues come from corporate and private donations. Jay Peroni, lead manager for Seven One Seven Capital, explains, “Many who have dedicated their lives to praying for the unborn, unknowingly are aligned through their investments with companies financially supporting the abortion industry.” Again, how much for the little children?
Unfortunately, many parents may be selling out their children’s futures. They do this by investing in companies that use and abuse people. Knowingly or unknowingly, they buy stock in companies that manufacture addictive products and encourage sexual immorality. Whether they invest directly or through their retirement plans, they partner with companies that discourage and demean faith and family, and use their profits to finance a future that is void of the kindness and decency most parents desire for their children. It might not be as direct as a stranger walking up and offering money for your children, but it may be harmful to them just the same.
Fortunately, there are organizations that can help parents invest with loving integrity by giving them the information they need to avoid such companies. Art Ally, founder of The Timothy Plan Mutual Funds says, “There are plenty of alternatives to investing in companies that are attacking your values. There are also financial professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping their clients invest in a way that promotes decency and kindness.”
One such organization, The National Association of Christian Financial Advisors, has a free tool for you to do the research yourself. You can screen your investments for free with the Christian investing tool eVALUEator. If you prefer the help of a professional, NACFC.org has a feature to help you find a professionally trained Christian Investment professional.
(Mark Minnella is president and co-founder of the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants. He designed the first faith-based professional designation program, Christian Financial Consultant and Advisor, in the industry. He has extensive background as a leader in the faith-based investment movement, is the founder of Integrity Investors, LLC, and the author of “The Wall Street Awakening.”)