In certain corporate executive circles, it has become popular for C-suite activists to leverage their company’s brand influence to push for their pet, progressive, political agendas. Though most companies have not jumped on the woke wagon of corporate group-think, many high-profile companies have taken political action too far, and Christian investors are saying “enough is enough”.
Recent examples of woke executives gone wild include CEOs signing onto the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act”, which would grant elite social protections to LGBT persons while demolishing religious freedoms for all Americans; several dozen companies opposing the pro-life Texas Heartbeat Bill through the “Don’t Ban Equality In Texas” petition; and most recently, companies advocating for vaccine mandates with no religious exemptions, no exemptions for COVID survivors with durable immunity, nor exemptions for persons with health conditions who may be at risk for life-threatening vaccine-related complications.
My team at Inspire Investing and I have had personal conversations with many of these companies in recent weeks, expressing our serious concern that these actions not only fail to represent the interests of their Christian shareholders, but are blatant attempts to undermine our religious beliefs and viewpoints. We are reminding these companies that they have an obligation to run their business for the benefit of their shareholders, including faith-based shareholders, and that taking sides in divisive social issues does not reflect good-faith toward their faith-based constituents.
Most companies are willing to hear us out, some authentically care about our viewpoints, and sometimes we have been blessed with sparking policy change as a result of our corporate engagement, such as with Costco, Chevron, Exxon, Amazon and others in the past. And yet, there are several companies which express open hostility toward our faith-based convictions or simply refuse to return our call.
For too long, faith-based investors have been absent from shareholder engagement discussions, while progressive liberals have been building a presence with investor relations departments for decades, pushing their extreme policies with little to no counter-point to balance the outcome. The free market works because of the open exchange of ideas, and as opposing ideas compete in the marketplace, the best ones rise to prominence. However, when it comes to big corporations today, what we see instead of a robust dialogue between diverse viewpoints is a monolithic echo-chamber where only one viewpoint has been heard for decades. Is it any wonder woke is running wild in the business world?
If we are honest, the fault does not lie with woke corporations, the burden of guilt weighs squarely on the shoulders of conservative, faith-based investors who never showed up to the debate and forfeited the game of corporate influence. Silence is an action and neglect is a crime.
But this negligent ambivalence of faith-based investors is over. The biblically responsible investing movement is spreading like wildfire through the Christian community and people of faith are waking up to the powerful opportunity and great responsibility to make their voices heard in corporate boardrooms, requiring the companies they own to take their faith-based viewpoints and convictions seriously.
Here is our message to corporate boards and executives actively hijacking their companies to advocate for intolerant, religiously-bigoted political agendas: We see you, we have the power and numbers to replace you, and we demand an end to your prejudiced, political ploys.
Christian investors are pouring billions of dollars into faith-based investment funds like those we manage at Inspire every year, pooling our collective influence to inspire transformation in the business world for God’s glory. We have even made our faith-based investment screening technology, www.inspireinsight.com, free to the public so Christian investors can instantly screen their stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs to see whether their investments are working for or against their deeply held values.
Will you join us and lend your voice to the growing shout of the biblically responsible investing movement? Together we can make a difference. It’s time to show up and get in the game.
Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.