The Devil Made Me Buy It

Local Iraqis gather around blood and debris left from an early morning bomb attack, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq. A bomb exploded alongside a group of Iraqi men waiting for work in eastern Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least eight and wounding more than 50, police officials said.
AP
DIDAX Inc., creator of the 1997 Christian Web Site of the Year, crosswalk.com, has launched The Money Channel, a site that promises to help the online Christian community integrate conservative, Biblical values with effective money management.
Managing Your Money
One of the key features on the site is Crosswalk Investigator, a tool that allows the user to input a mutual fund and receive a score on portfolio holdings based on the following criteria - pornography, abortion, anti-family entertainment, companies that actively promote non-marriage lifestyles, alcoholic products, tobacco products, and companies that profit from casino gaming.

A "pure" fund has no exposure to these types of holdings while a "failing" fund means exposure of 15 percent or more. Also on the site are portfolio management tools from Quote.com, news services from Reuters and a faculty of Christian/conservative financial advisors providing columns like, What Would Jesus Do - With My Money?

Who are the good guys?
Top social investment fund Domini Social Equity failed the conservative Christian Crosswalk Investigator filters with a 70.75 percent exposure rating.

Domini, which trumpets its stance on social and environmental responsibility as well as high returns, drew failing marks on the abortion filter for its holdings in Cigna and Johnson & Johnson.

Cigna provides health insurance coverage for elective abortion services - a no-no in the eyes of Christian conservatives. Johnson & Johnson makes corporate contributions to Planned Parenthood, among other things that run afoul of the Crosswalk Investigator.

The Walt Disney Co. was branded by the filter as a pornographer and as anti-family.

Apparently, Sprint is also in the pornography business because, as an Internet-related site, the long-distance telephone service provider chooses "to host and provide access to statutorily pornographic material."

Microsoft also failed the Investigator with its stance on non-married lifestyles.

On the positive side, for Christian and non-Christian social investors alike, Domini Social Equity is "pure" in the areas of tobacco, alcohol and gaming.

Lucifer speaks
Morgan Funshares would certainly draw the ire of crosswalk.com, had it not escaped notice because of its closed-end status.

This specialty fund, originally named Morgan Sinshares, could be called an anti-social responsible fund.

According to the 1998 semiannual report released in July, criteria for investment in a company "is a great trade name, with a product that is habit forming and is a low cost commodity." The fund had holdings in 25 "fun" companies, as of June 30

True to its stated investment objective, Seagram and Anheuser Busch cover alcoholic beverages, Circus Circus Enterprises and International Game Tech cover gaming, although Harrah's, included in the entertainment section of the report, also is a gaming issue.

Tobacco is well represented, with 15,000 shares in Phillip Morris and additional holdings in Gallaher Group PLC. And yes, minor sins are covered too. If you have a sweet tooth, or a yen for what some consider to be cancer-causing artificial sweeteners, try holdings in Coca-Cola or Pepsico.

And for the junk food junkies among us, there's McDonald's.

The wages of sin haven't been very profitable lately, however. Shares of the fund, which traded at a 52 week high of $8 on June 16 closed Tuesday down 1/4 at 5 3/4.

Written By Craig Tolliver