LUND, Sweden—A Swedish diocese has put its money where the sun don’t shine, literally and knowingly. Despite Church of Sweden policies against pornography, the Lund diocese has decided to invest in commercial media firms that distribute adult content. One such firm, MTG, broadcasts porn at night on channel TV 1000.
According to Lund diocese chief economist Stefan Skoog, while the church would rather not put its money into such ventures, the nature of modern investment limits its options.
“It is almost impossible to find any companies that are completely clean,” he said, adding that instead of not investing at all in companies like MTG, the church was attempting to change the company's behavior from within.
“Our strategy is to actively influence our fund managers not to invest in funds that make money this way and also get them to bring this up with the companies to try to influence these to stop,” he said.
The problem, he explained, is that if the church were to only invest with “clean” companies, it would have a very small pool of companies from which to choose.
“It is also really hard to know where one should draw the line,” he said. “All ethical funds have this problem, because it is always possible to ague that something could be used in an unethical way.”
That open-minded attitude with respect to its investment strategy did not go down well with local residents. According to The Local, Sveriges Radio (SR) asked people in the area what they thought of the church’s porn connection.
“This is questionable,” one person said. “I would rather that the Church of Sweden place [its] money in funds that didn’t deal in such things.”
Another remarked, “It is completely improper. I think the church should follow its own Christian values and be a paragon of morality in society.”
Despite the admonitions, Skoog told The Local that members of the Church of Sweden can “rest assured that the Church places its money as ethically as possible.”
While one wonders why the church, which dates to 1526, claims the largest Lutheran community in the world and last year consecrated its first openly gay bishop, decided to have an economist speak on matters of ecclesiastical ethics rather than a priest, the fact that Skoog did not immediately issue a fatuous denial and then secretly sever all contact with MTG and the other firms is more than a little inspirational.