Column: The Catholic Investor
It seems that hardly a day goes by that another major corporation doesn’t pop up with some amazing demonstration of its commitment to the LGBTIQA+ agenda.
InBev, owner of Anheuser Busch brand
Current star of this phenomenon is Anheuser Busch – InBev, the beer company behind the Budweiser brand.
Anheuser, formerly a U.S. company headquartered in St. Louis, was acquired a few years ago by InBev, a giant Belgian brewer. In its new form, Anheuser has been an active supporter of LGBTIQA+. Recently, they decided that it would be a good idea to launch an advertising campaign for Bud Light featuring a transgender biological male, Dylan Mulvaney, who was celebrating “365 Days of Girlhood”. This particular campaign was, perhaps, the height of business lunacy as the historic market for Bud Light was working class and college age men, neither group of which had much in common with the cause Bud was championing via Mulvaney.
As you likely know, Bud Light drinkers revolted, cratering sales and Anheuser stock. The stock has lost roughly $27 billion in market cap and sales of the beer itself are down in the neighborhood of 25%.
Not to be outdone, Target decided that it would launch a marketing campaign to celebrate “Pride” month – known as June to most of us. But it took things a step further by including clothing items designed to camouflage parts of human anatomy that clearly signal one’s biological sex. And those clothes weren’t limited to adults! Instead, they included clothes for children and infants. To top everything off, they also included clothing designed by an avowed Satanist.
Kohls, Nike, and more
I could go on (Kohls, Nike, etc.) but you get the idea that these companies, and a meaningful number of others, have completely lost their way and do not share a Catholic view of truth and what is appropriate, especially regarding children. (Matthew 18:6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.)
What to the Catholic Bishops say?
The USCCB Investment Guidelines, in their November 2021 revised edition, added a prohibition on investment “in companies that directly participate in the performance of surgeries or in the administration of drugs or hormones for the purposes of delaying normal puberty or modifying the body’s appearance and/ or functions in order to express an identity incongruent with one’s biological sex.”
While that section pertains specifically to using surgery or drugs, the point seems to be that companies that engage in activities that are meant to change a person’s appearance “in order to express an identity incongruent with one’s biological sex” should be avoided. Target’s actions, if seen in that light, would put it in the class of companies to be excluded.
But what about Anheuser, or other companies actively pushing the LGBTIQA+ line?
The ESG Factor
In their attempts to curry favor with that population segment, or to meet Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) requirements, aren’t they actively participating in the normalization of these reprehensible behaviors? Aren’t they worse than the hospitals and doctors involved in “gender reassignment” whose grievous actions affect relatively small numbers of people? In reality, they are participants in an attempt to change the thinking of literally the entire population to embrace what is clearly unnatural.
We have identified hundreds of U.S. companies that have publicly stated their support for the LGBTIQA+ agenda. We now offer our clients the option of excluding these companies from investment in addition to those excluded under a more traditional interpretation of the USCCB guidelines.
But there is another layer of this issue to consider…
In our efforts to identify companies aligning themselves with LGBTIQA+ issues, we also unearthed a significant number of investment managers.
Here are some of the top managers (by assets under management, AUM, as of 6/30/2022 per ADV Ratings) which have taken a public, pro-LGBTIQA+ stance:
What to do?
Step one: The first step would be to consider if you want to start investing as the bishops believe is appropriate. If the answer is yes, then you need to take steps to find a company that can provide you with that option. Once you make that change, or if you have already, then….
Step two: The next step would be to consider if you want to exclude companies publicly on record as being supportive of the LGBTIQA+ agenda.
Step three: Thirdly, if your investments are being managed by one of the companies in the table above, you might wish to consider moving elsewhere.
Our Call as Catholics
As Catholics, we are called to love God and our neighbors. In that spirit, I would urge us each to pray for all who struggle with confusion regarding their sexual identity and attraction.
I would further suggest that we pray for the corporate executives running companies that are contributing to the spread of this sort of confusion.
Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam aeternam. (May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive your sins, and lead you to eternal life.)
Thomas "Tom" Carroll, CFA, is the president of Catholic Investment Strategies, a position in which he has passionately enjoyed serving since 2012. Prior to this position,... MORE »