Corporate America does not like the First Amendment, according to a new business index released on Thursday.
The Viewpoint Diversity Score — a joint venture between legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom and Christian financial firm Inspire Investing — examines 50 companies on the Fortune 1000 list to determine “corporate respect for religious and ideological diversity,” according to a press release.
How did those 50 companies score? Not particularly well, according to the project’s business index. The firms averaged 12% on “respecting religious and ideological diversity in the market, workplace, and public square.”
“A project like this would not have been necessary 30 months ago, let alone 20 years ago,” David Bahnsen, a Manhattan-based wealth management executive and member of the Viewpoint Diversity Score’s advisory council, told The Daily Wire. “American companies have never been willing to sacrifice the profit motive, let alone the First Amendment, for social activism, let alone ill-defined cultural extremism.”
Two industries in particular — software and internet services — scored particularly poorly at 6% and 7%, respectively. For instance, Facebook parent company Meta earned a 9% overall rating — a 13% for promoting diversity in the public square, a 12% for doing so in the workplace, and a dismal 3% for doing so in the market.
“CEOs and business leaders have positions of considerable power. They shouldn’t weaponize their influence or the companies they run to divide Americans or engage in speech censorship or anti-religious bigotry,” ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in the release. “Instead of using the cultural power of their brands to drive polarization, business leaders should commit to respecting everyone, regardless of their religion or ideology. Businesses should respect viewpoint diversity at every level of their organizations, from the shop floor to the board room, and externally as well.”
To help businesses understand the importance of guarding viewpoint diversity among their customers and employees, the Viewpoint Diversity Score is offering a variety of research and resources, as well as polling on Americans’ thoughts about building “a culture of respect for people who hold diverse religious and social viewpoints.”
“Ideologically charged business services are bad for everyone, no matter their religious or political views,” Inspire Investing CEO Robert Netzly added in the release. “By adopting the model policies and strategies we recommend, companies can cement their reputations as tolerant businesses that respect free speech and religious freedom as a standard part of doing business.”
Indeed, a recent poll of American investors conducted by Echelon Insights on behalf of The Daily Wire revealed that respondents want companies to stop preaching and pursue profits. While 29% of respondents agreed it is a “good thing” for companies to leverage their financial power for political or social means supported by executives, 58% — twice as many — said it is a “bad thing.”
When asked to discern the motives of companies that take stances on political or social issues, 56% of investors said the firms are merely “trying to appease their critics” and 34% said the firms genuinely “believe it’s the right thing.” When companies do take stances on issues, 36% of investors said the stances are “too liberal,” while 17% said they are “too conservative.”
“The data are clear: everyday investors want companies to focus on creating shareholder value by delivering excellent products and services to their customers, not on advancing social or political agendas,” entrepreneur and former pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy told The Daily Wire.