I am a lifelong Presbyterian. My father and grandfather were Presbyterian elders; so am I, at a big Presbyterian church in downtown Chicago.
I am also the co-author of divestment laws in two U.S. states. I believe in divestment, where appropriate. Threatening to pull our money out of corporations doing business in certain parts of the world can be a good idea, if done in the right place and for the right reasons.
Divestment was, at one time, a good idea for the province of Northern Ireland, where virulent anti-Catholic discrimination made Catholics two and a half-times more likely than Protestants to be out of a job. That’s why I co-authored and successfully lobbied for the enactment of divestment legislation incorporating the MacBride Principles, nine fair employment principles, in Connecticut in 1984 and New Hampshire in 1989. Companies doing business in Northern Ireland which failed to adhere to the principles could face funds being pulled.
Divestment was a good idea for apartheid South Africa, where a white minority government segregated and discriminated against black inhabitants of the country. The Sullivan Principles, a corporate code of conduct upon which the MacBride Principles were modeled, provided the same economic leverage for companies doing business in South Africa.