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An unexpected message from Silicon Valley

Jerry Bowyer | Intel CEO says diversity must include Christianity


Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger (left) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron. Stephane de Sakutin/Pool Photo via AP

An unexpected message from Silicon Valley
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Having sat through hours of corporate annual meetings, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” has become the mantra of corporate America. But contrary to their slogans, the professional-managerial class has little or no interest in the one identity that most distinguishes individuals from each other: faith. But some in corporate America do get the distinction between skin-deep diversity and real diversity. One such man is Pat Gelsinger, CEO of the tech giant Intel, who recently sat down for an interview with Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard.

Gelsinger is one of the very few publicly identified Christian CEOs in Silicon Valley. In the interview, he discussed the relevance of his Christian principles within the highly secular context of big tech companies. Gelsinger was quick to voice his support for the principles of workplace diversity but emphasized that this should include respecting someone like himself, an open Christian who described his work as ultimately in service of “honoring God.”

Speaking about his faith in the context of corporate diversity, Gelsinger said he “want[s] everyone to be able to bring their whole selves to the workplace.” This is not an uncommon sentiment; in fact, “bring your whole self to work” is the standard response by corporate leaders to questions about diversity. But then he said something that was less by-the-book: “I’m a Christian. If I can’t express my Christian faith in the workplace, [it’s] not a diverse workplace.”

Gelsinger’s candid statement reveals exactly what is missing from our workplaces. Diversity of religion, let alone viewpoint and ideology, is simply not a consideration for most major American corporations. It’s not even on their radar. Instead, as DE&I programs become an ever-growing presence in public life, the focus of their attention has become ever more granular and esoteric—see Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent tweet using the initialism “2SLGBTQQIA+.” (For those who cannot keep up with ever-expanding initialisms, that stands for 2 Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual.)

It is the doctrine of the LGBTQ-TBA (To Be Announced) lobby that all institutions are obligated to make a specific effort to include members of every invented identity, as long as those identities fit within the categories of race, gender identity, or sexuality. Because, so it’s said, employees should “bring their whole selves to work.” Do they really mean it?

For most people, religion is essential to their “whole selves.” Yet, the vast majority of corporate America is either indifferent or outright hostile to full diversity.

Big tech companies, such as Apple and Netflix, have shot down modest shareholder resolutions that merely aimed to begin the process of alleviating the lack of viewpoint diversity. Nearly 500 U.S. companies have endorsed the Equality Act, which would gut religious liberty protections by overruling the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. More than 150 U.S. companies have publicly come out against laws passed in various state legislatures that restrict the performance of gender reassignment surgeries on minors.

One such company is the hotel giant Hilton. Hilton’s 2019 “Diversity and Inclusion report” included a convenient diversity infographic, which appears to be the preferred graphic of our manipulative ruling class. Their uncompromising aesthetic is as flat as their concept of diversity: simplistic flow charts and infographics, often populated with minimalistic cartoons and caricatures. Just to make sure everyone’s on the same page about the social and moral reordering of society.

Hilton’s infographic introduced a sort of hierarchy of diversity, divided into three tiers: the “Core” tier consists of things like race, gender identity, and sexual orientation; religion is relegated to second class. The clear implication is that your race, sexual orientation, and gender identity are more essential to you than your faith. Occasionally, a corporation’s diversity statement will reference “religion” or “faith.” Very rarely, they will reference “political affiliation.” Almost all of the focus is on the boilerplate list of victim groups. Even when corporations mention religious diversity, they marginalize it, as Hilton did.

Those are just a few examples. There are many others.

Intel is an exception, and Christians should pay attention to it. They are the world’s largest chip manufacturer, and the top-ranking Fortune 100 company in the REDI Index, which measures religious diversity specifically. An openly identified Christian heads it. The CEO is committed to full diversity, not just the truncated version pushed by most corporations.

It’s an encouraging development that a corporation of this size and importance is breaking the mold. If the American technology sector truly wants to fulfill its promise, then Gelsinger and Intel’s approach must become the rule rather than the exception.


Jerry Bowyer

Jerry Bowyer is the chief economist of Vident Financial, editor of Townhall Finance, editor of the business channel of The Christian Post, host of Meeting of Minds with Jerry Bowyer podcast, president of Bowyer Research, and author of The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics. He is also resident economist with Kingdom Advisors, serves on the Editorial Board of Salem Communications, and is senior fellow in financial economics at the Center for Cultural Leadership. Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of his seven children.

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Bruce

As a previous Intel employee through the 90s, 00s, and up into 2014, I found Intel to be very appropriate in supporting Christians with an employee support group. As part of the team founding that group, it was frustrating to be constrained from being able to offer some kind of belief statement, like the Nicene Creed, to provide clarity about the basis of group leadership principles and qualifications. But we worked through the process, and there was a community of Christians in Intel who were active in Bible studies, prayer groups, and practicing their faith as a basis for their work ethic and relationships. It was very straightforward to take the formal values Intel espouses and see much of their underpinning in Christian work ethics and Scriptural application.

Regarding, Mr. Gellsinger, he was instrumental in helping our group be vetted and ratified via HR's process. And many of us were aware of his faith in Christ as he lived it out in his work. I was encouraged to see him return to Intel as CEO, and this witnessing for the sake of Christ and the value of faith in Him in his work is wonderful. I applaud his stand to express resolutely how religious faith, such as his faith in Christ, must be allowed as part of celebrating diversity in the workplace as much as many of the other facets of diversity. He is bold and is taking a big step to promote what some folks will denounce as a source of oppression or ignorance. I'll pray that the Lord blesses Mr. Gellsinger through it, not necessarily in his business endeavors, but in building his faith and hope in the Lord, his fellowship in the body of Christ, and the his fruitfulness in encouraging fellow Christians and in being salt and light in this crazy, broken world.

benjaminstocksdale

I agree with Messrs. Bowyer and Gelsinger. Though I do feel it should be noted that Intel, as a company, has signed the Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation.

As Christian it is important to be vocal about the truth and step out in leadership. I applaud Mr. Gelsinger for being willing to do so and in a manner that is kind and respectful.