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ADF rates 50 companies on Fortune 1000 list on commitment to free speech, religious freedom

Benchmarked companies scored just 12% overall on respect for religious, ideological diversity in the market, workplace, public square

Thursday, May 26, 2022

WASHINGTON – Addressing the problem of major American corporations that are actively undermining free speech and religious freedom, Alliance Defending Freedom on Thursday launched the ViewpointDiversityScore.org website and annual Business Index.

The initiative is a joint venture of ADF and Inspire Investing, a Christian investing and financial technology firm informing investment decisions on billions of dollars around the globe. Examining 50 companies on the Fortune 1000 list, the Business Index is the first comprehensive benchmark designed to measure corporate respect for religious and ideological diversity in the market, workplace, and public square.

As leaders from ADF and Inspire Investing explain in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the Business Index focuses on industries that have the greatest potential to impact free speech and religious freedom. These include industries that provide essential banking, payment processing, and cloud services, or that serve as platforms for third-party expression in the digital space. Many of the companies are household names, like Meta (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), Twitter, and Bank of America. Along with scoring companies, Viewpoint Diversity Score will provide companies with workable solutions through model polices, research, toolkits, polling, and constructive dialogue.

“CEOs and business leaders have positions of considerable power. They shouldn’t weaponize their influence or the companies they run to divide Americans or engage in speech censorship or anti-religious bigotry,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco. “Instead of using the cultural power of their brands to drive polarization, business leaders should commit to respecting everyone, regardless of their religion or ideology. Businesses should respect viewpoint diversity at every level of their organizations, from the shop floor to the board room, and externally as well.”

Benchmarked companies scored an average of 12% overall on respecting religious and ideological diversity in the market, workplace, and public square. While no industry performed well, a handful scored particularly poorly. The two industries with the lowest overall scores were computer software at 6%, and internet services and retailing at 7%. The financial and data services industry (8%) also scored poorly. The lackluster results paint a grim picture of corporate America’s respect for religious and ideological diversity.

“Ideologically charged business services are bad for everyone, no matter their religious or political views,” said Inspire Investing CEO Robert Netzly, 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.”

Along with Netzly, the advisory council includes Professor Robert P. George, Jerry Bowyer, Andrew Abela, David Bahnsen, Andrew Olivastro, Bob Doll, Matt Monson, John Silverling, and Mike Sharrow.

Find out more about Viewpoint Diversity Score and the 2022 Business Index, including the results and methodology, at www.ViewpointDiversityScore.org.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Jeremy Tedesco

Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of corporate engagement for Alliance Defending Freedom. In this role, Tedesco leads ADF’s efforts to combat corporate cancel culture and build a business ethic that respects free speech, religious freedom, and human dignity. Immediately preceding his current role, Tedesco served as senior vice president for communications, during which time he was a lead convener of the Philadelphia Statement, a movement dedicated to restoring free speech and civil discourse. Previously, Tedesco litigated First Amendment cases at the highest levels. He was part of the legal team that represented cake artist Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued Phillips’ case at the Colorado Court of Appeals. He was also the lead brief writer in two other U.S. Supreme Court wins, Reed v. Town of Gilbert and Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. Tedesco has also argued six times before five different federal appellate courts and founded and directed the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives, where he led efforts to protect individuals from government-coerced speech. Tedesco earned his Juris Doctor in 2004 from the Regent University School of Law.