Either Diversity Applies to All, Or Stop Calling It Diversity


May 24, 2016 11:05 AM

Leading liberal columnist calls out liberal intolerance of Christians and conservatives

An unusual thing happened last week. Leading liberal columnist Nicholas Kristof said what we here at Faith Driven Consumer have been saying to Corporate America for a long time—tolerance and diversity must be truly inclusive or it diminishes us all.  

In a widely read New York Times piece, Kristof criticized his fellow progressives on their intolerance of—and discrimination toward—conservative and Christian viewpoints, saying, “We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table—er, so long as they aren’t conservatives.” He goes on to say, “Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.”

While Kristof's focus is on academia, the same observations can be made about Corporate America’s vigorous embrace of the Diversity and Inclusion agenda—where lip service is paid to “religion” as an enumerated class in the rainbow of diversity, yet certain “favored nation” groups enjoy more-than-equal treatment in the workplace.

We see it all the time. Most Fortune 500 companies have Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for just about every identity imaginable, but Christian ERGs are few and far between. And even a quick look at the Diversity and Inclusion sections of leading Fortune 500 corporate websites reveals a celebratory focus on women, race, sexual orientation and gender identity—with scant mention of similar accommodation for religion and faith-driven convictions. 

If, as Corporate America claims, it’s good to bring “all of who you are” to the job, then why does this not also apply to religious belief—one of the most defining aspects of the human experience?

Here, Kristof holds progressives’ feet to the fire: 

“The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.” 

Amen. And the same applies to Corporate America—it’s good for business when businesses welcome and embrace the 41 million Faith Driven Consumers who spend $2 trillion annually.

As with Kristof’s call to academia, it’s time for Corporate America to be true to its values and walk the talk—or be intellectually honest and stop calling it diversity.