Jack Abel, “Divestiture is odd (June 25),” seems unaware that church divestment for ethical reasons is nothing new. Many churches have a policy of only investing their funds (such as pension funds) in socially responsible companies and divesting from companies whose actions do not meet that criteria.
In the 1980s, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) divested from companies that cooperated with apartheid South Africa and, in 2007, from companies involved in military-related production and tobacco companies.
Recently, their general assembly voted to divest from three companies: Caterpillar for selling equipment used to destroy Palestinian homes and build apartheid roads; Hewlett Packard, for providing logistics and technology used in the naval blockade of Gaza; and Motorola Solutions, for providing military surveillance systems used in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and in checkpoints that inhibit movement of Palestinians on their own land.
The United Methodist Church Pension Board recently decided to divest funds from G4S, a private security company that contracts with Israeli prisons. Both the Mennonite and Quaker churches have divested funds from companies that do business with Israel.
Congratulations to these churches for matching their actions with their beliefs.