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The second annual Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index unveiled on Tuesday showed that prominent companies lack commitments to guarantee the First Amendment liberties of their customers and employees, thereby threatening the “fundamental freedoms of every American.”
The Viewpoint Diversity Score, an initiative of the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), evaluated 75 publicly traded companies with respect to their free speech and religious liberty commitments. Only two companies scored more than 25% on the index out of the 100% available, while eight firms increased their ratings from the inaugural edition released last year.
“Threats to freedom don’t just come from the government, but from major corporations like financial institutions and big tech companies that have concentrated power over essential services and communication channels,” ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement. “Too often, these corporations de-bank or de-platform Americans, citing policies that give them unbounded discretion to censor people for their views. That needs to change. Companies need to take seriously the way their policies and practices can chill the exercise of speech and religion and deter individuals from participating in the democratic process.”
Online rental and travel marketplace AirBnB earned the lowest rating of any other company on the Viewpoint Diversity Score, receiving a dismal 2% overall score and a 0% score for the firm’s activities in both the marketplace and the public square. Entertainment conglomerate Disney meanwhile earned a 7% overall score, financial services platform PayPal earned a 5% score, and asset management company BlackRock likewise earned a 7% score.
Financial technology company FIS, however, clinched a 50% score because of commitments to uphold fundamental liberties in its workforce and the public square, for which the company earned 67% and 65% scores, respectively. M&T Bank similarly earned an overall score of 25%.
ADF executives released the second edition of its scoring system immediately after the JPMorgan Chase annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday. David Bahnsen, the founder and chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group, had filed a resolution calling for the financial services behemoth to publish an evaluation of how executives oversee risks related to discrimination against clients for their religious and political views.
Chase Bank, the firm’s consumer and commercial subsidiary, drew criticism in recent months for abruptly ending its relationship with the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a nonpartisan, faith-based nonprofit. The bank account belonging to the entity was nixed three weeks after starting a relationship with Chase, which asked the nonprofit to provide a list of their major donors and their criteria for deciding which candidates they would support.
JPMorgan Chase accordingly saw its score on the Viewpoint Diversity Score decrease from 15% in the first edition to 9% in the second edition. The company, which lost points due to low respect for customer beliefs, also has workforce diversity training modules that teach divisive concepts such as “unconscious bias.”
Many conservatives contend that the environmental, social, and corporate governance movement, also known as ESG, has needlessly prompted companies to advance social causes unrelated to core business functions as the philosophy grows in popularity among executives. Common objectives of firms that endorse the ESG movement include racial diversity quotas within company workforces and senior management, and fossil fuel divestment targets.
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