The Faith Equality Index is here just in time for shopping season, and it’s fabulous

A few weeks ago, the American Family Association announced that they would be putting together a Corporate Religious Liberty Index (CRLI) so that committed Christians could make informed shopping choices in light of the ongoing gayification of the American private sector. As we all noted at the time, the LGBT community would likely find the CRLI even more useful than Christian consumers themselves, as it’d be a great indicator of where not to shop.

But the American Family Association got beaten to the punch in releasing their CRLI by another group, Faith Driven Consumer, which just released their updated scoring system for their Faith Equality Index (FEI). Unlike the American Family Association, which did not publish its criteria for how they would be scoring corporations with respect to anti-LGBT bigotry, the FEI is transparent in its methodology. Using a consistent scoring system across a number of categories, businesses receive anywhere from zero to one hundred points, depending on the extent to which their “corporate actions are compatible with biblical faith.”

Here are some highlights from their scoring rubric.

From the “Public Commitment to Faith Driven Consumers” section:

  • Use of the word “Christmas” in seasonal advertising – 5 points
  • Philanthropic support of biblically orthodox faith-driven organization(s) or event(s) (e.g. financial, in-kind or pro bono support) – 5 points

Despite Starbucks’ atheist-communist “holiday” cups this year, they actually got five points for including “Christmas” in their seasonal advertising. The coffee conglomerate has produced a Christmas blend of coffee for quite some time and have a special Christmas menu, which makes one wonder how seriously Christian consumers are taking this index. In any case, their Christ-friendly language didn’t save them from an overall rating of just 27 points.

“Faith-Compatible Corporate Actions”

Happy Holidays, via Flickr

Happy Holidays, via Flickr

  • 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 – 10 points
  • 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 –10 points

Doritos, you did a promotion for It Gets Better with rainbow-colored chips — an affirmation that bullying is bad of the evil homosexual lifestyle. Well how the hell about a promotion for Vacation Bible School, hm??? And as for all you companies that are going along with Obamacare’s contraception mandate and offering IUDs in your health insurance plans, why can’t you be more like the heroes over at Wheaton College? You know, the culture warriors so committed to Christ that they stopped providing their students with health insurance altogether rather than let the government set up their IUD coverage free of charge.

“Equal Application of Equal Protections”

  • NDP – A workplace Non-Discrimination Policy that includes explicit, enumerated protections for Faith Driven Consumers/employees – 5 points
  • ERG – Offers an employer-sponsored Employee Resource Group for faith-driven employees – 5 points
  • EAEP – An Equal Application of Equal Protection statement specifying that all enumerated groups are protected equally in practice with every other enumerated group – 5 points

Yeah, a non-discrimination policy is all well and good, but what about another policy ensuring that your non-discrimination policy isn’t itself discriminatory? Checkmate, Human Rights Campaign!

“Corporate Competency in the Faith Driven Consumer Market Segment”

  • Faith/religious identity and expression as a recognized category in the corporate diversity position—stating that Faith Driven Consumers as well as faith-driven employees, suppliers and partners are welcomed and celebrated as a respected community into the company’s rainbow of diversity – 5 points
  • Targeted recruiting efforts for both faith-driven employees and suppliers – points
  • Faith-inclusive employee training, resources and accountability measures that include (10 points total):
    • New hire training that clearly articulates a nondiscrimination policy including faith/religious identity and expression, and provides definitions or scenarios illustrating the policy for each – 2 points
    • Training for supervisors that includes faith/religious identity and expression, and provides definitions or scenarios illustrating the policy for each – 2 points
    • Professional development covering topics of diversity includes faith/religious identity and expression (e.g. skills-based or other leadership training including elements of faith-based diversity and/or cultural competency) – 2 points
    • Senior management/executive performance measures of their respective diversity and inclusion efforts also include faith/religious identity and expression – 2 points
    • Optional questions on faith/religious identity on employee data or survey forms that include other demographic questions such as race, gender or sexual orientation – 2 points

Lest you be confused, and wonder why “targeted recruiting efforts” are necessary for a demographic that comprises over 70 percent of the American population, Faith Drive Consumer will have you know that real people of faith are actually few and far between — only 17 percent of the American buying public! This being the case, the same sort of efforts companies undertake to promote diversity and include traditionally marginalized demographics should be also be applied to people of faith. They’re just one band on the rainbow, you see?

But for all of their co-opting of previous civil rights movements’ inclusive language, Faith Driven Consumer is just as gung-ho about anti-LGBT discrimination as their counterparts at the American Family Association. From The New Civil Rights Movement:

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.

This being the case, it should come as no surprise that two of the companies that topped this year’s list were Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. Here are the top seven:

  • Chick-fil-A: 63
  • Hobby Lobby: 62
  • Interstate Batteries: 61
  • Tyson Foods: 60
  • Cracker Barrel: 53
  • Walmart: 51
  • Thrivent Financial: 50

I guess it’s worth noting that no company came anywhere near a perfect score, which says a lot about how comprehensive the scoring rubric is and just how religious Faith Driven Consumer’s ideal company has to be.

Finally, for your shopping pleasure, here are the top ten companies that Faith Drive Consumer says you should “buycott” for having received their lowest ratings (links for more detail as to how they scored so low):

Happy freaking holidays.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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