New report ranks businesses on support for freedom; finds major corporations are hostile to the rights of employees, vendors, and customers.
By Eileen Griffin
A recent survey conducted by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) documents the status of freedom in business environments.
The Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index is a tool designed to provide investors with information about the company’s support for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other foundational beliefs. On May 16, ADF announced the results of its 2023 survey.
“Of the 75 major corporations evaluated in this year’s Business Index, only two scored over 25 percent out of 100 percent possible in their respect for speech and religion,” the announcement reads. “That means millions of everyday Americans are at risk of cancelation or punishment for their views.”
The Viewpoint Diversity Score includes companies from a variety of sectors and industries. Many companies well-known to Americans were rated lower than 10 percent, including Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet. These three technology companies employ tens of thousands of people and touch the lives of countless Americans who use their products.
Several financial institutions also turned up with very low scores. Blackrock, Bank of America, and US Bank were all under 10 percent, making de-banking of conservative or faithful Americans a strong potential outcome.
David Bahnsen, founder and managing partner for the Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management group and long-standing shareholder of JPMorgan, recently wrote an opinion on the left’s influence on corporations for the WSJ.
“Left-wing activists have been harassing corporate America with demands for more diversity and inclusion in the boardroom and among their employees,” Bahnsen writes. “That’s a fine goal, but the left’s demands are becoming more militant. The activism is distracting companies from their core mission to make profits and serve investors and customers with quality products.”
U.S. businesses from a variety of sectors have been lining up on either side of divisive issues such as climate change and environmental issues, gun laws, and abortion rights, WSJ reports.
Some companies have prioritized diversity and inclusion over profits and market share. Conservatives say corporations are prioritizing gay rights and abortion access over protecting freedoms such as freedom of religion and the rights to oppose certain initiatives for faith-based reasons.
Republicans are particularly concerned about the leftist influence in finance and the trend of de-banking those holding traditional values and conservative views.
ESG (environmental, social governance) funds have become a focus for many financial institutions, as Heartland Daily News has previously reported. This method of investing uses progressive-left causes as a guideline, rather than business profitability or success.
The chief executive officer of the State Financial Officers Foundation, Derek Kreifels, told The Daily Signal that the Biden administration is “weaponizing” ESG investing to advance leftist causes.
“And so, our simple premise and argument has been, if most Americans knew how their pension fund dollars were being invested, they would probably be appalled and shocked,” Kreifels told the outlet.
Alternative to ESG
The Viewpoint Diversity Score offers an alternative viewpoint to the many organizations peddling ESG ratings as the way to invest in American companies.
“The (Viewpoint Diversity Score) index is designed as a mirror image of other such surveys—conducted by ratings firms or research universities,” writes Jathon Sapsford for the WSJ—“which typically show how extensively an institution is committed to environmental, social and governance-based investing, or ESG, which has become shorthand for a broad array of causes, whether climate or social issues, that are often championed by progressives.”
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is also being called out for discrimination within his organization based on religious or political views.
Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, an advisor to the Trump Administration, runs an organization called the National Committee for Religious Freedom.
Brownback was surprised when JPMorgan closed the account he set up for the organization with no notice. The reason, stated the suspensio,n was due to “a failure to receive information it needed for regulatory reasons.” Brownback says that isn’t true, and the religious nature of the organization ran afoul of JPMorgan’s culture.
Nineteen Republican state attorneys general wrote a letter to Dimon, pointing out the discriminatory practices evident in his business, the The Wall Street Journal reports.
The letter claims persistent discrimination and actions taken against organizations by closing their accounts based on their religious or political affiliation.
“The bank’s brazen attempt to condition critical services on a customer passing some unarticulated religious or political litmus test flies in the face of Chase’s anti-discrimination policies,” the letter reads. “Worse, it flies in the face of basic American values of fairness and equality.”