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Christians and the Stock Market

Mon, Apr. 17, 2017 Posted: 08:10 PM

Most of us have been tempted at least once or twice to dabble in the stock market. And regardless of your views on the matter, it’s a point of fact that an increasing number of Christians are beginning to see the merits of using the stock markets to help manage the family finances. As it turns out, prudent investments of your earnings could, in fact, be good stewardship of your money.

But as the moral climate of our nation shifts toward a more liberal, atheistic one, we must strive to be diligent in vetting the companies in which we invest. It’s becoming increasingly important to research not just the financials of a company but also the company’s product offerings in order to ensure that the management of our money honors God.

Let’s explore a growing trend in investing, which can offer a more concise example of this: pharmaceuticals. There are a huge number of pharmaceutical companies listed on the exchanges, and that number is quickly growing. Among them are Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as smaller biopharmaceutical companies.

For the purpose of this exploration, however, we’ll just look at Pfizer and GSK. Both are trading at around $30-40 per share on the stock market, and both are big, multi-national drug companies. So if you were forced to choose, would you invest in GSK or in Pfizer?

First, we’ll take a look at GSK. The company has largely stayed out of the news, and its product offerings are quite benign. Glaxo specializes in over the counter pain medications, antidepressants and treatments for long term issues such as diabetes. GlaxoSmithKline has dabbled in birth control, but certainly this isn’t a major seller for the company. Its biggest offerings include Wellbutrin and Excedrin.

Pfizer, conversely, has a history of making waves. The company has launched quite a few products which decidedly compete with the morals of most Christian investors, including Depo Provera and other birth control drugs, as well Cytotec. Cytotec is used to facilitate abortion procedures. Pfizer is the manufacturer of Viagra, which has also been a bit controversial, though not as much so.

With solely these facts to rely on, one may be tempted to buy stock in Glaxo and forgo trading shares in Pfizer altogether. Investing our money in the latter would constitute support of an organization which would clash with our moral obligation. But Pfizer has recently made headlines again. It would seem that its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Xeljanz, has been shown to combat hair loss.

Hair loss treatments have been proven to increase profits of drug companies. Merck made a name for itself with Propecia, which boosted revenues by over $400 million at its introduction. As early as 1988, Rogaine was approved for the treatment of baldness in men. Rogaine was released by Upjohn, considerably increasing its bottom line. (Incidentally, Upjohn later became a part of the Pfizer family.) So with this recent research development, wouldn’t it stand to reason that Pfizer will soon see a rise in profits following pending FDA approval of this hair growth pill?

With that said, it must be again stressed that it’s absolutely imperative that we, as Christians, fully understand the scope of our investments. The Book of John speaks about “reaping where you have not sown,” and as if the decision to invest didn’t already set the moral compass of believers swinging enough, the decisions we face as to where our money should be invested has them spinning in circles.

The potential for the growth of companies like Pfizer and others, which have consistently remained lucrative opportunities for investors, is tempting to say the very least. But as a fellow follower of Christ, I would implore you to seek out the facts before giving your money to companies which would profit from abortion, lust or vanity. If you must invest, it’s possible to do so without sacrificing your ethics.

Biopharmaceutical companies remain an option for Christian investors. These small companies tend to focus solely on disease such as cancer or Alzheimers, and don’t cater to drug trends. Suppliers like Amerisource Bergen have been cited as among the fastest growing investment opportunities for 2017, and don’t manufacture products which are harmful to the morality of the nation.

And while we looked briefly at a few pharmaceutical companies, this principle can be applied across the spectrum of the stock market. Disney, which promotes homosexuality in America, for example, is a stock to be avoided. Likewise, Netflix, which shows borderline pornographic programming to our youth, should perhaps be reconsidered. Companies like Chipotle can be considered. They do feed our nation after all. But with so many health scares and dubious tactics, who can trust them?

Whether you choose to invest or save, be mindful to direct your intentions to God’s glory. Pray for God’s guidance in your decision, and you will be blessed.

Dylan Moran