The old sports adage has it right: “The best defense is a good offense.”
For far too long, Americans have sat on the sidelines—skipping out on offense and playing minimal defense when it comes to engaging major corporations on issues that affect core liberties like freedom of speech and religion.
Writing at WORLD magazine, Jerry Bowyer emphasizes the current strategic need for shareholders with mainstream views to show up to annual meetings and play defense by voting down radical proposals that weaponize businesses as agents of cultural change—often at the expense of shareholders themselves.
Bowyer, whose many roles include serving as chief economist at Vident Financial and advisory council member for Viewpoint Diversity Score, emphasizes that while activists have by-and-large gained control of Corporate America absent meaningful pushback from shareholders with mainstream American views, the tide may be starting to change.
Shareholders already rejected extreme pro-abortion proposals at Coca-Cola, Cigna, Pfizer, and PepsiCo, forcing the largest proxy advisory service, ISS, to change its previous position and oppose the pro-abortion resolutions. Bowyer also estimates that the number of overall proposals from the far-left, which typically out-numbers those from the right 20-1, looks to be cut in half, to 10-1, on this year’s proxies.
“Christians who own shares in these companies should keeping voting no on these and similar proposals,” Bowyer writes. “Until we get our act together enough to set the agenda, we must at least be vigilant to vote against their bad ideas.”
Part of the uptick in shareholder resolutions are those championing viewpoint diversity at JPMorgan Chase , PayPal, Capital One, Mastercard, and Charles Schwab. As Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Michael Ross points out in a recent piece for The Daily Signal, the resolutions call attention to findings from the 2022 Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index that demonstrate how each company’s policies allow them to discriminate against customers for their religious or political views.
The resolutions also call upon companies to investigate documented instances of viewpoint-based discrimination and make appropriate changes in line with Viewpoint Diversity Score recommendations.
“If we want to solve the threat of politicized debanking and deplatforming, we have to identify and uproot policies like these across corporate America,” Ross writes. “And that’s exactly what this season’s slew of shareholder resolutions hope to accomplish. Each calls upon company leadership to investigate their problematic actions and policies as highlighted by the Business Index, and each identifies model policies from the Business Index that respect the free speech and religious liberty of all the company’s stakeholders.”
Although Capital One, Mastercard, and Charles Schwab chose to allow viewpoint diversity resolutions to appear on their proxies, JPMorgan Chase and PayPal asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to exclude the proposals—requests that the SEC rejected ahead of the annual meetings.
Writing at Spectator.com.au, Michael Wu highlights JPMorgan Chase’s troubling track record of politicized debanking while pointing out the larger issue, which includes incidents like GoFundMe shutting down the Canadian truckers’ “Freedom Convoy” in 2022 and financial institutions like Fidelity Charitable buckling to activist pressure to punish would-be donors to conservative groups including ADF.
Wu congratulates Viewpoint Diversity Score advisory council member David Bahnsen (whose resolution JPMorgan Chase unsuccessfully appealed for exclusion to the SEC) and ADF (who worked with attorneys at D.C. firm Boyden Grey to defend the proposal at the SEC) for getting on the field in what to this point has largely been a one-sided contest.
“Corporations have long been capitulating to left-wing activists’ demands to implement so-called ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ framework across their businesses,” Wu writes. “Far from promoting diversity, DEI policies have led to increasing intolerance and censorship of views contrary to the ideological left in the workplace and marketplace. But rather than retreating from the corporate world, people like David Bahnsen and the lawyers at ADF show how shareholder activism can be done constructively to advocate for essential civic freedoms, and thereby advance true diversity and inclusion in corporate America.”