TX Firms Score Low on Viewpoint Diversity Measure

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Texas businesses shine in many categories, but the share of companies encouraging free speech and religious freedoms is apparently rather dismal.

Of the 75 publicly traded companies that completed the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index in 2023, only five were located in Texas. The five companies were financial services firms Comerica and Charles Schwab, cloud computing company Rackspace Technology, telecommunications giant AT&T, and computer technology corporation Oracle.

As the premier benchmark for measuring corporate respect for free speech and religious freedom in the United States., the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index is instrumental in identifying the level of respect major U.S. corporations have for such liberties based on their policies, practices, and other relevant criteria.

According to Jeremy Tedesco, the Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) senior counsel and senior vice president of communications, and Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing, the U.S. corporations selected to participate in the survey are the companies with the greatest potential to affect free speech and religious freedom.

Netzly and Tedesco, whose firms created the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, noted in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal that results ranged between 2 and 35 out of 100, with 12 being the average overall score.

“The results of our inaugural Business Index reveal that there is much work to be done,” wrote Netzly and Tedesco, per WSJ. “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.”

Even though Texas is known for having a relatively pro-freedom population, employers in the state, like many others across the country, do not appear to share the same attitude.

On a scale of 1 to 100, Charles Schwab and Rackspace Technology each scored 13, Oracle scored 8, AT&T scored 10, and Comerica, with a 14, earned the highest rating of any company headquartered in Texas in 2023, barely above the overall average for the year nationwide.

According to Tedesco, all Americans benefit when powerful businesses respect free speech and religious freedom.

“Unfortunately, the rise of ESG and DEI in American corporations has resulted in internal cultures that are increasingly political, censorial, and intolerant of different views,” Tedesco told The Dallas Express. “Sadly, the five Texas companies scored on our Index –- AT&T, Charles Schwab, Comerica, Oracle, and Rackspace –- are no exception.”

Tedesco said corporations can take many steps to improve their overall score.

“We aim to help the largest corporations implement positive and lasting changes that help them achieve this goal,” he said. “Companies need to take seriously the way their policies and practices can chill the exercise of speech and religion and deter individuals from participating in the democratic process.”

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Andrew Walker said the Business Index could help “level the playing field” against DEI and “woke” companies.

“This is absolutely brilliant by ADF Legal. Woke corporations crush dissent, so why not begin scoring corporations on their commitment to free speech?” wrote Walker in a post on X.

As The Dallas Express has previously covered, Google and its parent company, Alphabet, are allegedly prime examples of “woke” companies known for stifling free speech in the workplace. The viewpoint diversity score results show that Google and Amazon (4) were tied for the second-lowest overall score in 2023, just behind Airbnb (2).

Of the 75 companies that participated in the 2023 survey, the majority with scores below 10 were either technology companies based in California or financial firms located in New York.

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