Danhof, who serves as director of the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) of the National Center for Public Policy Research, attended Prudential’s annual meeting and posed some very pointed questions to Prudential Financial CEO John Strangfeld about the company’s donations to the radical Human Rights Campaign that submitted the amicus brief Prudential also signed.
“Prudential is one of the top donors to the Human Rights Campaign. HRC is perhaps the nation's leading opponent of religious liberty,” Danhof told Strangfeld. “HRC threatens and organizes boycotts when states seek to enact laws protecting peoples' right to act according to their faith or use a bathroom in privacy that matches their DNA. What's Prudential's interest in those activities?” he asked.
“HRC also works to dictate corporate philanthropy away from conservative and Christian organizations. I highly doubt that when shareholders invest their hard-earned money with Prudential that they anticipate those funds will be used to try and root out Christianity and oppose religious liberty.”
Danhof wasn’t finished yet. He also demanded to know why the company signed onto the HRC’s brief which is an effort to undermine religious liberty and restrict the freedom of speech of a Colorado baker named Jack Phillips of the Masterpiece Cake Shop. The issues in that case center on whether a state can compel a private artisan's speech and further compel them to serve ceremonies that otherwise violate their religious convictions.
“The company's position in that brief would give unelected government bureaucrats the power to compel speech of private citizens under the threat of massive fines and potential imprisonment. Did anyone at Prudential even read this brief that all but rewrites parts of the First Amendment?” Danhof asked.
“Can you explain to us investors why Prudential is funding anti-religious bigotry and opposing freedom of speech? And can you explain how this helps the company's bottom line?”
According to Danhof, Strangfeld claimed the company's philanthropy is principled and consistent with the company's values.
"But what values are those?” Danhof asks. “Prudential Financial is, in fact, one of America's most liberal corporations. It has one of the lowest possible ratings from the conservative corporate rating group 2nd Vote. Investors and potential clients should be aware of what exactly Prudential considers a principled position. They might just be surprised."
For example, according to 2nd Vote, Prudential matches gifts given to Planned Parenthood and contributes to the pro-abortion Girls, Inc. It is also a supporter of the Center for American Progress, a far-left liberal think tank, and signed onto an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges case in 2015.
In its latest venture into the culture wars, Prudential signed on to the HRC’s amicus brief which supports forcing Christians to participate in activities that violate their conscience. The list of signatories includes corporations such as Amazon, American Airlines, Estee Lauder, Cisco, Intel, Uber, and Yelp.
Enough is enough.
"Prudential investors and clients deserve answers as to why the company supports such an extreme anti-religious agenda,” Danhof said.
“Left-leaning groups, led by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), have coopted much of corporate America into their opposition to religious freedom laws, decency laws and general freedom of association. We are here to say enough is enough. Religious liberty is one of America's founding traditions. Why would corporate America stand in the way of that freedom?"
This isn’t the first time Danhof spoke truth to power. His actions at a recent Walt Disney shareholder meeting resulted in Joy Behar’s public apology for suggesting that Christianity is a mental illness during recent episode of The View.
"At the Free Enterprise Project, our message is simple: engaging in contentious policy and legal issues that aren't germane to a company's business is an unnecessary reputational risk," said Danhof.
"That said, conservatives and religious Americans need to do a much better job of holding corporate America accountable. Corporate leaders regularly virtue signal to the liberal media because conservatives too often remain silent. That's no longer an option."
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