A new database shows that some of Americans’ favorite companies—such as Airbnb, Amazon, and Disney—disregard religious freedom and free speech.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization devoted to protecting religious freedom and other First Amendment rights, joined with Inspire Insight, an investment tool that provides data on the religious values of companies, to produce the second annual Business Index ranking companies by Viewpoint Diversity Score.
The viewpoint diversity index is a “comprehensive benchmark designed to measure corporate respect for free speech and religious freedom,” Alliance Defending Freedom says in a press release.
Through a Viewpoint Diversity Score survey and public documents such as corporate “terms of service,” Alliance Defending Freedom ranked the 75 companies on their level of support for religious freedom and free speech in three categories: market, workplace, and public sphere.
“Across all three categories, our methodology evaluated whether companies treat customers, vendors, employees, and nonprofits equally regardless of their political or religious views,” ADF writes of the 2023 scores released May 16. “We also look at whether companies are using their business resources or their brands to support public figures or causes hostile to fundamental freedoms.”
The findings show that “only 7% of scored companies allow employees to form faith-based Employee Resource Groups even though 90% of Fortune 500 companies allow [such groups] for other affinities like race and sexual orientation,” the legal organization says.
Furthermore, ADF says, 78% of ranked companies prohibit employees from donating to certain charities “because of their religious status, practices, or related advocacy.”
And 57% of ranked companies refuse to give grants to faith-based organizations due to their beliefs.
Many not only discriminated based on religious beliefs, but supported groups that failed to promote free speech and created an environment on their platforms that limits free speech.
Over half of the ranked companies spent about 45% of political donations on legislation or court cases considered “harmful to speech or religion,” according to ADF.
Fully 63% used their “brands and dollars to support harmful legislation aimed at rolling back free speech and religious freedom protections.”
Here’s a breakdown of ADF’s tightly grouped top offenders, and why they received their rankings:
- Airbnb. Despite receiving the lowest overall rating, 2%, Airbnb has a policy prohibiting religious discrimination—but so do all the other Top 10 offenders. The online lodging service’s worst-place finish resulted from its failures to promote and respect different religious beliefs at work, to respect employees’ “charitable choice,” and to support free speech across politics, nonprofits, and other organizations.
- Alphabet. Second-place Alphabet, with an overall rating of 4%, forbade “claims that contradict authoritative, scientific consensus on climate change.” Alphabet, parent company of Google, also doesn’t have a policy “respecting employee charitable choice” and doesn’t support free speech across politics, nonprofits, and other organizations.
- Amazon. Tied for second place with a 4% rating, Amazon doesn’t “recognize” any religious employee resource group despite supporting organizations such as Black Employee Network and Glamazon, an LGBTQ+ group. Amazon also backs various entities that don’t support free speech or religious freedom.
- eBay. Following the trend, eBay, with a rating of 5%, claims not to discriminate based on religious beliefs, but acknowledges only employee resource groups that aren’t faith-based, such as United in Pride and Women at eBay.
- Microsoft. Despite acknowledging employee resource groups for LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and blacks, Microsoft didn’t acknowledge faith-based groups for employees. Microsoft, with a score of 5%, also supports entities that don’t back free speech or religious freedom.
- PayPal. Also rated at 5%, PayPal says it allows religious employee resource groups, saying the company created “a forum to celebrate all faiths and worldviews.” However, the index determined that the online payments company doesn’t protect free speech and discriminates against any charity not “in good standing with individual states such as California.”
- Pinterest. In addition to saying it doesn’t discriminate based on religious beliefs, Pinterest appears to support resource groups for religious employees—or at least such groups for Muslims. Despite being considered unlikely to endorse “litigation harmful to speech or religion,” the social media company scored 5% for not specifically defending religious freedom and free speech.
- Twitter. Also receiving a score of 5%, Twitter was faulted for not supporting entities that defend religious freedom and free speech, as well as for actively supporting court cases and laws that would harm both. It isn’t clear whether Twitter supports or discourages resource groups for religious employees.
- Disney. The entertainment giant, which also scored 5%, didn’t specify whether it supports resource groups for religious employees. But Disney doesn’t support religious charities, according to the index. Under “ineligible organizations” on its PDF for matching gifts, Disney includes as ineligible “faith-based organizations or religious programs whose primary purpose is promulgating a particular religious faith, creed or doctrine (e.g., ministries, missions, church planting projects, religious orders, schools whose primary purpose is to prepare students for ministry, etc.).” Yet Disney also has a policy of not discriminating against religious beliefs when hiring employees.
- Adobe. With a rating of 6%, the software company Adobe diverges from the other nine companies in being found by Alliance Defending Freedom not to support court cases that actively seek to curb free speech and religious freedom, as well as for including “viewpoint diversity” on a webpage.
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