In the wake of Franklin Graham's decision to pull the Samaritan's Purse bank accounts from Wells Fargo due to Wells Fargo's national advertising campaign that featured a lesbian couple, will Graham do the same with the Samaritan's Purse 401(k) plan?
In an op-ed in the USA Today newspaper today, Graham had the following to say about why he moved the organization's money:
"Because, in our view, Wells Fargo went beyond being gay-friendly to being a public advocate — through a national TV advertising campaign — for a lifestyle we, as a Christian organization, believe to be biblically wrong. (The ad featured a lesbian couple with their adopted child.)"
While I personally find this reasoning bigoted and ignorant, it's certainly his right to move the organization's money wherever he likes. But shouldn't this decision apply to all of the finances of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham organization?
I decided to do some research to figure out who the 401(k) provider was for both Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. It turns out both organizations use The Principal (Principal Financial Group) according to Brightscope.com. You can check it out for yourself here. Keep in mind that this data may not be fresh, the source Brightscope utilizes may be up to two years old, which means that in fact both organizations may have made a switch in the past two years (I did not call to inquire...so keep that in mind).
If in fact The Principal is still the 401(k) provider I think Franklin has a decision to make.
In April of 2014 The Principal joined with the "It Gets Better Project" to put together a video about some of their employees who happen to be gay, lesbian and transgender. The video is below and the this link will take you to the page about the video and the project, it's very touching and The Principal clearly wants the world to know it cares about the LGBT community. I applaud The Principal for this project, it's clearly a priority to acknowledge and make their employees and customers who are LGBT feel safe and comfortable.
The Principal is not just "gay friendly", which evidently Graham is ok with, but it is a company that proudly promotes the fact that they are inclusive. They've done this in a national campaign (if It Get's Better isn't a national campaign, what is?).
According to Graham's own op-ed, this national campaign is publicly advocating for the LGBT lifestyle, not merely being "friendly." Thus, according to Graham's own logic, he needs to look for a new 401(k) provider.
Will Franklin Graham move the 401(k) plans for Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham from The Principal to a record-keeper who is simply "gay-friendly" in order to be consistent? If so, what record-keeper out there is proud to be only "gay-friendly"? I certainly wouldn't want to be the record-keeper Graham settles on.
Put your money where your mouth is Franklin - if the 401(k) is still with The Principal, go ahead and punish them for doing the right thing, move the money.
P.S. I would hate to see The Principal lose revenue if Graham does decide to continue down this bigoted and ignorant path, so please consider them the next time you are reviewing your 401(k) provider. This is not an endorsement, just make sure you take a look at The Principal.