An important new scorecard
Erick Erickson | A mechanism for exposing corporate America’s progressivism
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More and more, corporations are wading into cultural battles on the side of progressive activists. First, Disney took a strong stand against Florida’s popular Parental Rights in Education Act, which liberals falsely labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Now, a whistleblower has revealed that State Farm has been involved in funding books on transgenderism for Florida’s 5-year-olds. The confluence of money and progressive politics have proven to be a tough obstacle for Christians and conservatives to overcome. In almost every cultural battle in recent years, we can recall where progressive corporations have threatened to leave a state—in turn, harming the state’s economic health—when its legislature enacts socially conservative legislation. Now the tables are turning.
In politics, scorecards have become a common tool by which voters can learn about candidates. Groups on both the left and right use them to show a candidate’s conservative or liberal bona fides. Perhaps the most famous is Club for Growth’s scorecard on fiscal conservatism, which has reliably indicated to voters for more than 20 years which members of Congress are committed to smaller government.
The non-profit legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom and the Christian investing and financial technology firm Inspire Investing have jointly decided to join the scorecard business with their Viewpoint Diversity Score. This action uses the tactics of progressive organizations like the Human Rights Campaign to counterbalance their influence on corporate America. Together, ADF and Inspire have rated 50 of the Fortune 1000 companies on their commitment to free speech and religious freedom. Publicly traded social media companies like Meta (Facebook) and Twitter are on the list. So too are financial groups like Bank of America that often process or might refuse to process transactions of groups based on their political views.
We should welcome the development of this scorecard. With corporations pushing woke agendas and crushing dissent internally and externally, a new plan is called for, and ADF and Inspire are exposing the truth.
“CEOs and business leaders have positions of considerable power,” notes Jeremy Tedesco, ADF senior counsel and senior vice president for corporate engagement. “They shouldn’t weaponize their influence or the companies they run to divide Americans or engage in speech censorship or anti-religious bigotry.” He believes business leaders and their companies should commit to respecting diverse religious and ideological viewpoints both inside and outside of their organizations.
“Ideologically charged business services are bad for everyone, no matter their religious or political views,” adds Inspire Investing CEO Robert Netzly, who serves as one of 10 members of the Viewpoint Diversity Score Advisory Council. “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.”
At the Viewpoint Diversity Score website, you can enter a business name in the search field, and if it is in the index, the site will show you its rating. For example, Bank of America has an overall 10 percent score. The overall score is based on three underlying numbers: a market score, a workplace score, and a public square score. Bank of America’s workplace score is 10 percent. The details on the site flag the bank’s policy relating to diverse beliefs at work but credits it for a workplace diversity policy prohibiting religious discrimination.
Social media giant Twitter gets an overall 6 percent score. Its public square score is zero, with the scorecard flagging its political spending undermining free speech and its support of laws that are harmful to speech and religion.
The two companies with the highest overall scores are Paychex, a diversified outsourcing services company, at 35 percent and Truist Bank, at 24 percent. Conversely, the worst-performing company is GoDaddy, an internet services and web-hosting company, with an astounding 2 percent score.
As progressives have captured so many marketing departments and executive suites of corporations, it will be increasingly necessary for Christians and conservatives to show how much clout they still have in the marketplace. And to be clear, purchasing power is an immensely influential way to register one’s view. Corporations know this but for too long have assumed that their support for progressive causes could be accomplished with impunity.
No more. Directing dollars to businesses that support religious freedom and free speech is a great step toward getting corporations out of politics. Helping to level the playing field, ADF and Inspire are providing a helpful way forward for Christians who find themselves on the wrong side of elite corporate power.
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