New Index Tracks How Friendly Companies are to Certain Views
Scoring system will help faith-based and conservative institutions fight discrimination in loaning and business practices.
For years, JPMorgan Chase has had its thumb on the scale of the culture wars through an unfair practice called “de-banking.” By rejecting payment processes and closing accounts of politically conservative and religious organizations and individuals, Chase has attempted to silence those voices and views from public debate.
Assessing Diversity of Thought
In response to institutions like Chase, the Alliance Defending Freedom has developed the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index. The index assesses 75 corporations on diversity of thought in the workplace. ADF has also led an effort to bring a resolution to the Chase shareholder meeting today — a resolution that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had to rule to be included in the vote. If passed by shareholders, the resolution would “ensur(e) equal treatment of the financial giant’s customers regardless of their religious and political beliefs.”
Despite the claim by Chase and others to value diversity, inclusion, and difference of opinion, the reality is different. Just last year, the transaction giant PayPal announced it would fine customers $2,500 for what it deemed as “misinformation,” a policy that has since been revoked.
Corporate Interests Play Ideological Favorites
Though it didn’t make as many headlines, Chase Bank went even further. The biggest U.S. bank, which serves over 66 million households, denied payment processing to the Republican-associated Defense of Liberty for hosting an event with former President Donald Trump. Chase also closed the accounts of the Arkansas Family Council, the family of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a nonpartisan, faith-based nonprofit that boasts members who are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jewish.
According to former Kansas governor Sam Brownback, the chairman of the NCRF, no clear reason was provided by Chase for closing these accounts. However, the bank eventually informed them that they “would be willing to reconsider doing business with the NCRF if we would provide our donor list, a list of political candidates we intended to support, and a full explanation of the criteria by which we would endorse and support those candidates.“
Other organizations, including the Colson Center, have been canceled or rejected by service providers, tech companies, and insurance providers, typically with much-more vaguely stated justifications.
Public Accountability for Viewpoint Discrimination
Regardless of politics, no one should be comfortable with corporate interests playing ideological favorites in this way. Thankfully, 14 state financial officers and 19 state attorneys general have called on Chase to stop this discrimination. Their words and actions will have more teeth because of the carefully crafted methodology of the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index and the team of research analysts and corporate engagement specialists behind it. Not only will Chase, Meta, Microsoft, and other major corporations be held publicly accountable for viewpoint discrimination, but they will be given guidance in the form of policies and practices to better honor a diversity of viewpoints for employees, clients, vendors, and suppliers.
By the way, Chase received a score of just 15% on the index, and only two companies did better than 25%. Much of the low scoring had to do with the lack of transparency concerning policies toward diversity of thought. Though transparency is often touted by companies supporting progressive causes, no one has kept these companies accountable for their discrimination until now. The index scores companies in three broad areas of “market,” “workplace,” and “public square” using 42 performance indicators. “Workplace” was the lowest scoring area for Chase, mainly because their diversity, equity, and inclusion reporting does not incorporate viewpoint diversity. Among the companies indexed are Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, Goldman Sachs, Snap Inc., Twitter, Visa, and Oracle.
Anyone who holds shares in these corporations, for example in employer-sponsored retirement plans, can speak out about their policies. Each corporation’s assessment page includes the company address, shareholder phone number, and email address. To learn more about the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, its methodology, and the 75 corporations assessed so far, visit viewpointdiversityscore.org.
Preserving and promoting freedom to have diverse viewpoints in the marketplace profits everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike.
John Stonestreet serves as President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He’s a sought-after author and speaker on areas of faith and culture, theology, worldview, education and apologetics.
Heather Walker Peterson, Ph.D., is the Senior Editor at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. A former associate professor of English, she’s written for publications such as Mere Orthodoxy, InterVarsity’s The Well, and the Mudroom.
Originally published on Breakpoint.org: BreakPoint Commentaries. Republished with permission of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.