Norwegian Union Calls on General Conference to Stop Investing in Weapons Manufacturers
27 February 2018 | The Norwegian Union of the Adventist Church has called on the General Conference headquarters of the denomination to terminate all investments in corporations that produce weapons (English translation provided by AToday). The appeal was made in a statement by Norwegian Union President Victor Marley. The appeal follows the recent discovery that the General Conference has, for years, owned shares in a number of weapons manufacturers.
In the statement, Marley said that it was completely unacceptable for the Adventist Church to own shares in companies connected directly or indirectly to the weapons industry.
The Norwegian Union has requested full transparency from the General Conference on the investment matter and has asked the denomination to withdraw from investments that do not harmonize with the Adventist Church’s beliefs, teachings and values.
In response to these concerns, the General Conference’s investment department said that, as a general rule, it seeks a careful approach by having a highly diversified investment portfolio with different strategies based on the best advice the church can get. The General Conference’s fund manager, Timothy Aka, stated that the denomination will not invest in companies that operate tobacco, alcohol, gambling, pornography, meat, or caffeinated beverages as they are not in harmony with the values of the Adventist Church.
The GC has expressed a willingness to expand the list of industries excluded from the portfolio. Industries to be excluded will likely include the defense industry as well as entities with environmentally harmful activities. Aka said that the GC wants to be a good example for both members and institutions when it comes to investments of mutual funds. He added that the investment practice the General Conference follows is not new and that the investments are in no way a secret.
The statement from Marley and the Norwegian Union was issued only in the Norwegian language. Tor Tjeransen, Communications Director for the Norwegian Union, told Adventist Today that after assurances by the General Conference that the matter would be discussed at the denomination’s upcoming Spring Meeting, the union did not feel the need to translate the document.
Tjeransen said that European Adventists have traditionally been very clear on their pacifist stance and find investment connected to weapons manufacturing companies very troubling. The investment policy that applies to the Adventist denomination’s Trans-European Division prohibits investment in the weapons industry.
In his statement Marley told Norwegian Adventists that they could be a prophetic voice, not only to the outside world but also to their own denomination.
According to the Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, the Adventist Church in Norway has 62 churches and 4,531 members.