Companies encouraged to respect diversity

Companies encouraged to respect diversity

Companies encouraged to respect diversity

A conservative law firm is fighting back against the financial institutions that are refusing service to customers who hold beliefs that the "de facto gatekeepers of essential services" deem offensive.

Sam Brownback, a former U.S. ambassador for religious freedom, founded and leads the National Committee on Religious Freedom (NCRF), an organization that advocates for people of all faiths to be treated fairly. But one prominent bank, JPMorgan Chase, has a problem with that.

"On May 19, 2022, I tried to deposit a donation at a local Chase Bank in Kansas, and that's when the NCRF discovered that its account had been closed," he relays.

Not only was the NCRF account closed, Brownback told Fox News last fall, but he alleged he was told the decision to "debank" his group was made at the corporate level, and he would not be told why.

Brownback also said a Chase employee eventually contacted him with an offer: Provide the list of donors to NCRF and Chase would consider reopening the account. Brownback refused. 

Michael Ross of Alliance Defending freedom (ADF) tells AFN he is seeing that kind of discrimination more and more often.

"We're seeing these banks that use and abuse these reputational risk policies and social risk policies that are very vague and ambiguous just to cancel people who have unpopular political views or ones that they don't like," Ross says.

Ross, Michael (ADF) Ross

Mercola Market, a retail store that exclusively features all of Dr. Mercola's holistic-based health products, was likewise kicked out of Chase because of its leaders' stance against the COVID shots. In the U.K., Nigel Farage's bank did not like his conservative politics and kicked him to the curb.

In May, in response to Brownback's encounter with Chase, wealthy investor David Bahnsen introduced a resolution at a Chase shareholders meeting to push back on the wealthy bank's debanking of conservatives and Christians.

Bahnsen, who is a Christian, introduced Agenda Item No. 10 that requests the JPMorgan Chase Board of Directors conduct an investigation of its alleged discriminatory practices.

Bahnsen was only allowed to introduce his resolution after JPMorgan Chase tried unsuccessfully to pull it from the shareholders meeting agenda but was overruled by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Meanwhile, ADF is rating banks and other businesses on how well they respect free speech and religious freedom.

"We have a Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index that identifies a lot of these problematic policies that are being used," the attorney notes. "No American should have to worry that they're going to lose their bank account or have their payment processing declined because of their religious and political beliefs."

The Viewpoint Diversity Score aims to encourage businesses to respect customers and external stakeholders who hold diverse viewpoints, promote freedom of thought in their workforces, and support a public culture of trust and tolerance in their giving and political activities.