Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby Earn Highest Scores On Inaugural 'Faith Equality Index'
A conservative Christian group has taken a page out of the Human Rights Campaign's playbook, releasing a ranking of corporations that are most hostile to LGBT and reproductive rights.
Not surprisingly, Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby received the highest scores on the inaugural Faith Equality Index, put out earlier this month by a group called Faith Driven Consumer, which is encouraging people to "buycott" companies that don't share their "biblical worldview."
"Just in time for the busy Christmas shopping season — we launched our ground-breaking new scoring system rating major brands on their relative faith-compatibility," Faith Driven Consumer said in a news release. "It's important for everyone to understand what we are asking Corporate America to do — acknowledge us on equal footing with the other groups they embrace and celebrate."
According to The Washington Times, the Faith Equality Index is a response to HRC's Corporate Equality Index and Buying For Workplace Equality guide, which for more than a decade have rated companies based on LGBT-inclusive policies and procedures. Using the hashtag #AddUsIn, Faith Driven Consumer is even attempting to co-opt the LGBT "rainbow of diversity."
"In a marketplace that celebrates diversity, the Faith Equality Index focuses major brands on the newest color in their rainbow, Faith Driven Consumers," Faith Driven Consumer founder Chris Stone said in a statement. "Like every community, Faith Driven Consumers expect to be welcomed by the companies they do business with and work for."
Faith Driven Consumer claims to represent 41 million Christian consumers who spend $2 trillion annually.
Earlier his year, Faith Driven Consumer led campaigns to return Phil Robertson to "Duck Dynasty," get SunTrust Bank to reverse a decision to fire the Benham brothers, and protest Houston officials' decision to subpoena pastors' sermons in defending the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.
The group also got involved in the controversy over "religious freedom" laws in Arkansas and Indiana that aimed to give businesses a "license to discriminate" against LGBT people.
“We are disappointed by the misleading and inflammatory nature of many people’s comments in reaction to recent events surrounding Indiana’s religious freedom law," Stone said in March. "Such language presents an obstacle to the important issue of achieving universal equality in our culture and in the marketplace."
The Faith Equality Index rates more than 300 companies based on 14 criteria, and lists the ratings alongside their scores on HRC's CEI, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility's Corporate Inclusion Index (CII), Black Enterprise's Best 40 list for African-American diversity and Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 ranking for diversity.
Criteria for the Faith Equality Index include:
- Use of the word “Christmas” in seasonal advertising
- Respect for, acknowledgment of, and compatibility with a comprehensive pro-life view on abortion, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia — either by supporting these positions publicly, financially or with in-kind resources equal, at minimum, to support given alternative positions, or remaining silent and neutral on these issues
- Proactive public support for legislative, regulatory, and/or judicial protections for religious liberty including freedom of speech, association and expression
- Respect for, acknowledgement of, and compatibility with biblical teaching on sexuality, gender, marriage and family — either by supporting these positions publicly, financially or with in-kind resources equal, at minimum, to support given alternative positions, or remaining silent and neutral on these issues
- Promote or support wholesome images in marketing and culture while refraining from the promotion or support of pornography, sexual immorality or the sexual exploitation of individuals, as viewed through a biblical lens
Here are the seven companies that received the highest scores on the Faith Equality Index:
- Chick-fil-A: 63
- Hobby Lobby: 62
- Interstate Batteries: 61
- Tyson Foods: 60
- Cracker Barrel: 53
- Walmart: 51
- Thrivent Financial: 50
And here are the 10 that received the lowest scores:
- Bank of America: 11
- Unilever: 11
- DirecTV: 14
- Expedia: 15
- Nationwide: 16
- Pfizer: 16
- Microsoft: 17
- AT&T: 17
- Apple: 19
- T-Mobile: 19
Chick-fil-A is, of course, is well-known for its outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage, although the Faith Equality Index doesn't appear to take into account a franchisee's recent decision to sponsor an LGBT Christian film festival. Hobby Lobby, meanwhile, was the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
Starbucks, currently under fire from right-wingers for its Christmas-less coffee cups, received a score of 27 on the Faith Equality Index, including five out of five points for the use of the word “Christmas” in seasonal advertising. (Again, no word on whether Faith Driven Consumer will be lowering the company's score.)
As for Interstate Batteries and Cracker Barrel, one columnist writes: "So, if you identify as a Christian it may be time to mentally prepare to find a car battery or hunk of cheese under your Christmas tree."
Needless to say, that would be better than the lump of coal people deserve if they allow prejudice against the LGBT community, women and religious minorities to motivate their shopping decisions.
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