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Pension and Health Benefits Board of The United Methodist Church to Screen Against Investing in Private Prisons

Submitted by Thinking CAP on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 - 3:00 pm

It was mostly good news to hear that

the board of directors of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (GBPHB) today announced the decision by the board’s Fiduciary and Executive Committees of the addition of a sixth investment screen that would prohibit investment in companies that derive more than 10% of revenue from the management and operation of prison facilities. The GBPHBStatement of Administrative Investment Policy has been amended to include this screen.

It’s not clear why they stopped at 10%. The only reason I know of as to why people invest in companies they have philosophical disagreements with is so they can show up at investor meetings to express themselves, make a scene, trying to garner media attention. But I would be surprised if that was the reason for their decision to stop at 10% instead of 0%.

Especially considering that later in their press release they note they also, “seek to avoid investing in companies that derive significant revenues from gambling or the manufacture, sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages, tobacco-related products, weapons or pornography.”

But the saddest part for us here at Christians Against Prohibition is that they did not realize this sooner, or see how the horrors of Prohibition are at the root of our exploding prison population. Ironically they note it was, “The Interagency Task Force on Immigration [which] brought the issue of private or for-profit prisons to the attention of GBPHB.” Ironic because I’ve read stories of how those fleeing the Drug Prohibition/Drug War violence in their home countries would rather find themselves in a U.S. prison, fed, and with some form of health care rather than live in the even more degraded conditions which U.S./U.N. drug policy has rammed down their throats.

GBPHB Board Approves Private Prison Investment Screen

Of course this whole thing seems to overlook the fact they are based in the U.S. and although, I guess, they do not pay income taxes and other taxes due to being a religious organization, certainly many of their clergy and lay employees, and practically all of their congregants pay very hefty sums to the U.S. which is hell bent on wasting more money and lives on intrinsically failed drug prohibition which exacerbates every ill they decry.

I have a feeling it’ll be time to contact them before too long …