Jay Hobbs, director of strategic campaigns and initiatives for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), says the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index was created as a way to encourage corporations to create and act in accordance with policies that respect the free speech or religious freedom liberties of all Americans, whether they agree with corporate leadership or not.
"What we're seeing across corporate America over the last several years is really a consolidation of power and influence that's being used to push social agendas that many Americans disagree with," Hobbs observes. "They're punishing Americans that have mainstream views on whether it's abortion or sexual orientation, gender identity issues or COVID, or even foreign policy -- all sorts of things that people are being cracked down on and punished by their banks."
That, says Hobbs, is a huge threat to freedom that every American faces, no matter which way they lean politically.
"We just launched the second version of our index," notes Hobbs. "We've scored 75 companies, and what we found is that only two of those 75 companies scored 25% or more out of 100% possible in their respect for free speech and religion."
Fidelity National Information Services (50%) and M&T Bank (25%) were the two.
Among the other 73 is JPMorgan Chase, where ADF discovered "a very disturbing trend of what seems to be politically-motivated cancellations and punishments of Chase customers" in recent years.
Hobbs explains that was exposed last year when Chase cancelled the religious, non-profit bank account associated with Ambassador Sam Brownback (R), a former senator and governor of Kansas, without notice and without a sufficient explanation.
"They worked for weeks to get an initial answer from Chase on why and what they could do to reinstitute their account, and Chase has given them contradictory and evasive answers all the way throughout the year," Hobbs relays.
Earlier this week, ADF brought that issue before Chase shareholders and made them aware of what Hobbs calls a "hurricane of cancellations and debanking."
"What we really want to do is engage these companies in dialogue," the ADF spokesman says about the Index. The goal is to work constructively with the companies and fix the problem permanently.