We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…

Founded on God-given liberty, America has been the freest and most prosperous nation in history.

America’s devotion to freedom began with the Declaration of Independence in 1776.  Drafted mostly by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration neatly summarizes the new nation’s foundational beliefs:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

More than 244 years later, numerous countries still violate the most basic human rights that we take for granted in America.  Sadly, some publicly traded companies are complicit in this misery.

Timothy Plan was launched in 1994 to offer Christians and others of like mind an alternative investing vehicle that does not include companies involved with unbiblical practices.  Filters in the eVALUEator system scan for pornography, abortion, anti-family entertainment, anti-marriage lifestyles, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and attacks on liberty.

eVALUEator is a tool for financial advisors to aid them in compiling portfolios for clients who don’t want to profit from unbiblical practices.  Using Morningstar data, eVALUEator now has over 38,000 individual companies and more than 11,000 funds available to view and for printing reports for clients.

Basic Violations of Human Liberty

The Liberty screen, powered by eVALUEator, “identifies companies that are involved in human oppression, human trafficking, slave labor, terrorism, and Christian persecution.”

That’s no small task.

The current leader of persecution of religious liberty in the world is China. So, eVALUEator filters out any Chinese Communist-controlled companies, such as Air China or Guosen Securities, Inc.

“The U.S. State Department keeps a list of Chinese state-owned “red chip” companies, and whenever that list is updated, we update our filters,” said David Hart, president of eVALUEator Services.  Other countries also come under scrutiny. “It has to be government-sanctioned religious persecution,” Mr. Hart said. “Not only allowing it but encouraging it.”

“More than 340 companies are now listed in eVALUEator as ‘red chip’ companies, with more coming every day because of the crackdown in Hong Kong by Chinese authorities,” said Douglas Ally, director of operations for the Institute of Corporate Securities Research Inc., which provides Timothy Plan’s filters, which are integrated into eVALUEator.

Recently, the Chinese Communist Party tightened its control over companies by appointing Communist commissars who outrank management.

A state-owned enterprise “must include recognition of the Communist Party in its articles of association and a party organ must be created in any state firm that employs more than three Communist Party members,” the South China Morning Post reported on July 8, 2020.

“All major business and management decisions must be discussed by the Communist Party organ before being presented to the board of directors or management for decision,” the regulation states.

Tackling Terrorism

“Terrorist companies are more difficult to find,” Mr. Ally said. “We have to document  everything we have ourselves, so we don’t rely on someone else’s filters.”

The eVALUEator staff relies on reports from the U.S. State Department that identify countries that sponsor terrorism.  Currently, the State Department lists four nations – Iran, South Korea, Sudan and Syria – as offenders.  Even if a company is domiciled in the United States, it can be filtered out if it’s owned by or does business with one of those nations.

The lists are constantly updated, with some companies falling out of compliance and others coming back into compliance.

Et Tu, Hershey?

Although fewer than 8 percent of companies fail to pass the filters, some of them are household names, such as major chocolate producers Hershey, Mars and Nestle.    

“Our research indicates that they all get supplies from sources that use child labor, mostly in Africa,” Mr. Hart said.  “The sad part about that is if you look at the history of Hershey, its founder, Milton S. Hershey, was a major supporter of children, though not a father himself. He was married very late in life, and they couldn’t have children.  But they were very active in helping orphans and spent a tremendous amount of money on it.”

Another major company filtered out is Starbucks.  “They violate the Liberty filter because, among other things our research indicates, they buy coffee beans from organizations that employ child labor,” Mr. Ally explained. 

Do the representatives at eVALUEator ever follow suggestions made by individuals who suspect a company may be up to no good?

“Timothy Plan gets tips fairly often from investors,” Mr. Hart said. “With anything passed on to us, our staff reassess the company to verify or refute the accusation.  We can’t go on what someone else has said.”   

Does Timothy get pushback from companies that have been screened out of the funds?

“Very few companies object to being screened out,” Mr. Ally said. “Most of the people who deal with that are Human Resources people, many of whom, it seems, already have agendas.”

Sometimes, an investigation yields something that persuades a policy change.

“A good instance is one chain of restaurants,” Mr. Hart said.  “Their foundation was giving money to Planned Parenthood.  Their president was shocked, and promised not to support Planned Parenthood anymore.”

However, the company, which brews beer, is still screened out because it fails Timothy Plan’s Sobriety filter, which excludes alcohol-related businesses.

Focusing on Actions

The process of screening is a matter of factual classification, based on specific criteria.

“We’re not looking for good companies, or bad companies, just activity that we shouldn’t be involved with as Christians,” Mr. Hart said.

In his book “Invested with Purpose” (2019), Timothy Plan founder Art Ally explains the philosophy behind the filters:

“We understand the filters we choose to focus on may not appeal to everyone, and some may even find them controversial.  All our filters are based on how Scripture instructs us to live. Our purpose is not to judge the person, but to avoid the actions that cause His people to stumble.”   

Mr. Hart adds, “Man is the only species that God created to love. We are going to love something. He created us to love Him, because He loved us first. One way to love God is not to involve ourselves in things that displease him. 

“Every time I have a financial advisor purchase eVALUEator, I think I’m giving him the tools to love God.”

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