How Good is Big Business at Respecting Free Speech, Freedom of Religion? ‘Abysmal’, Says New Report

A new report is out, designed to measure corporate respect for religious and ideological diversity in the market, workplace, and public square. The Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index (Business Index) is the product of a joint effort by Alliance Defending Freedom and Inspire Insight, a Christian financial technology firm. They found that the businesses most capable of influencing and protecting free speech and the freedom of religion are doing an “abysmal” job.

The Business Index focused on 50 companies in the Fortune 1000 that are in industries having the greatest potential to impact free speech and religious freedom, such as those that provide essential banking, payment processing, and cloud services, or that serve as platforms for third-party expression in the digital space.

You are probably familiar with many of these companies, such as Meta (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), Twitter, and Bank of America. And you’ve undoubtedly heard of examples of the corporate censorship of conservative viewpoints by those companies.

Even The Daily Citizen has not been immune to having its stories blocked on social media for reporting factual events that don’t follow the tenets of today’s woke culture.

Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the average score for the 50 businesses examined was a depressing 12% out of 100.

“The results of our inaugural Business Index reveal that there is much work to be done,” ADF’s Jeremy Tedesco and Inspire Insight’s Robert Netzly write in an op ed at the Wall Street Journal. “Company scores ranged between 2% and 35%, with the average overall score an abysmal 12%. The poor showing confirms that there is an alarming trend among major corporations to favor virtue-signaling even at the expense of fundamental American freedoms.”

Why are the results of this study of the corporate world so concerning? These companies have the power to censor speech and punish those with the “wrong” viewpoint, say Tedesco and Netzly.

“The results are especially concerning given that these are some of the largest businesses in the U.S., who serve millions of people and organizations every day,” the pair said. “The threat that private companies pose to free speech and religious freedom is real. People and organizations shouldn’t have to fear that they will be censored online, lose access to their bank accounts, or denied other services because of their religious or political views.”

The Business Index is the first in an ongoing annual effort to document the corporate world’s commitment to viewpoint diversity. It will be permanently housed on its own website, viewpointdiversityscore.org, along with news items and other resources pertaining to the endeavor.

The Executive Summary contained in the Business Index explains why this examination of the corporate world is unlike other reports on business “diversity.”

“Many businesses emphasize diversity based on race, gender, ethnicity, and other characteristics, but largely fail to prioritize viewpoint diversity,” the report states. “This is a significant blind spot in Corporate America. To effectively navigate an increasingly complex and polarized social environment, companies need to consider how actions that politicize their services, workplaces, and public advocacy jeopardize their fiduciary interests and harm society.

“Taking steps to address the most egregious risks highlighted in this report is a good first step to reduce potential harms to business, public trust, and the democratic norms of free speech and religious freedom. But companies should also go further by using the Business Index as a guide to proactively safeguard these fundamental freedoms throughout every aspect of their operations and activities. This isn’t just good business sense; it’s the right thing for every company to do.”

The Business Index includes recommendations for companies that desire to improve their scores and become more welcoming of free speech and religious freedom.

The report couldn’t come at a more critical time in our culture. We hope the business world will take notice of the deficiencies this report highlights and take immediate steps to rectify them.

Photo from Shutterstock.

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