Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Faith at Intel

3 Nov, 2020

Faith Based Groups Within US Corporations

Watch this lively interview with Craig Carter of Intel, describing how faith is being welcomed in corporate America, and it’s building bridges of trust between people of different faiths and beliefs.

Original: TerminalValuePodcast youtu.be/vL6FP1zGuro

To many people, faith and religion are the same thing. This is certainly true some of the time, but not in every situation.

Doug and Craig discuss the perspective of faith as deep belief and the way that belief can truly bring people together even if the nature of their beliefs are different. When we take this broader view of faith-based organizations, it becomes apparent that nearly everybody is engaged in some form of faith-based endeavor.

Doug’s business specializes in partnering with companies and non-profits to capture overhead cost savings without layoffs to fund growth and strengthen financial results.

Schedule time with Doug to talk about your business at MeetDoug.Biz

Role of religious freedom in combatting violence against women in India

3 Nov, 2020

By Sharon Angel

Rape cases in India have been prevalent and have been getting a lot of attention over the past five years. Some of the most prevalent rape cases are slowly starting to bring justice to the victims of sexual abuse.

2012
Jyothi Singh from Delhi was gang-raped by seven men on a moving bus and thrown on the side of a road, left to die (Nirbhaya case). Jyothi Singh is with us no more.

2013
A 22-year-old photojournalist was gang-raped by five men near Shakthi Mills, Mumbai, and threatened with death if she reported the incident.

2015
74-year-old nun raped at a convent in Ranaghat, Kolkata, along with money stolen from her before the rape. Six attackers were accused in her case.

2016
17-year old Dalit (lower caste) girl left dead on college water tank after being raped by her physical trainer. Indian National Congress (INC) fails to prove her murder and provide justice to her father who fought the case.

2017
Unnao’s (Uttar Pradesh) 18-year-old girl raped by BJP (Political party) leader. Case results in the BJP leader’s lifetime imprisonment for the girl’s father’s death.

2018
8-year-old Asifa was abducted, gang-raped, and murdered in a village near Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. The case received particular attention as the Muslim girl was raped by Hindu men.

2019
Pastor Samuel from Central India refused to stop preaching the gospel. To teach him a lesson, his 4-year-old daughter was raped by Hindu extremists in a rural village.


All the rape victims mentioned are women from various backgrounds. Whether educated, lower caste, a child, an old woman, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, a woman is in danger of losing her life. India practices multiple faiths, yet will come together to defend humanity. However, lately, it appears that religious institutions are not doing enough to educate, protect and stand on the front lines to ensure justice for the tarnished souls of this often vulnerable community.

News agencies, streaming networks, and the average man in India are doing their best to bring to light these gruesome acts so that women can feel more secure. But digital voices such as “India’s daughter” were banned due to hate speech against the government. When free speech is under attack, all anyone can do is look to religion and its leaders to find hope.

When these digital voices are shut down, who else will fight for her justice?

When Pastor Samuel experienced grief along with his family, he said that he would continue to preach and requested prayers for their family. After that, we hear no news of whether the girl was avenged, her abuser convicted, and if any measures were taken to prevent potential sexual abuse of other girls in the community.

When a leader or a follower is attacked in the name of religion, it becomes personal to the community. In this case, the Christian community was appalled and voiced concerns of religious persecution. It is true that many minority religious groups are targeted in India but right now, we can only depend on the faith communities to ensure that those who have lived through shame, guilt, suicidal intentions, emotional battles and physical bruises, find justice, restoration and hope. Religious freedom protects the freedom of an individual’s conscience. If religious leaders want that freedom for themselves, then they must have compassion and fight for the justice of victims in their own faith, then others.

What are religious communities doing to rebuild the victim’s lost identity?

When a girl is raped and her case becomes public, her whole family is humiliated. Social appearance is everything in India, but in the process of navigating through such public humiliation, the victimized daughter must become the priority and not how the family is perceived in the eyes of others. Medical care must be provided for the daughter’s physical and mental pain, no matter how old she is. On the other hand, as she feels a sense of despair and loss, it is important that society at large is taught not to lose respect for the people of other religions or religion itself.

Religion is rooted in value systems of good vs evil and justice finds base in the execution of these moral systems. So when a daughter is raped, faith communities must spearhead legal battles to ensure justice in the speedy conviction of the rapist. Different faith communities have not come together to override fear mongers or unite to hold the evildoers accountable for their wrong-doing. Our generation needs to change that.

Social standing is so important in India and that’s why many young women are pressured into becoming engineers, doctors or nurses so that they can marry well. But when a girl is stained by an unwelcome abuser, she loses her image of being pure and is shunned by society, and sadly loses her ability to marry well. On the other hand, because of her stain, she is unable to find a job, establish a career, and stand on her own two legs. Her community must join hands to restore her back to life or else she will remain in her label as an “outcast” allowing her abuser to have the final say in her future.

While we are on the topic of restoring life, religion exists to give second chances to sinners. That means rapists must also be restored back into society after they have served their sentence and undergone rehabilitation. They must be counseled and kept accountable for their actions so that these atrocities do not repeat themselves.

These might be incredibly difficult tasks to take on. They might be uncomfortable to address and it might not be the calling of religious leaders to handle these social evils. But there is one thing that anyone, regardless of their religious background, can do: Instead of locking up young girls in the name of safety, let society start a conversation about the value of the physical body. Just because we are fearful of something or someone, doesn’t mean we must close our eyes and hope evil is somehow banished from society. We find hope only when we push through fear. To push through fear we must unite, have difficult conversations and work on providing justice for the broken under the banner of religion.

Her second chance to life

Women who come out of a broken situation, usually struggle to find their identity. Sadly, one of the first aspects to shatter is their faith. Specifically, faith in humanity which trickles down to losing faith in life itself. The one institution that can restore faith while allowing her to rebuild her identity, is religion. By religion, I mean the people who point her to the God of her belief system. Today, religion does not provide a safe place for her to explore her faith. It casts her away as bruised, broken and unworthy.

Equipping such women with tools in business and job skills can change that. When she goes through an intensively gruesome situation such as rape and survives it, her will empowers her to become stronger. She is ready to work, believe and re-shape her life.

Faith communities need to allow her to rebuild her crumbled identity in relationships, career, sexuality, and desperation for justice. This restoration can take years and it is necessary that she is given the space to be emotional while healing from the trauma of her experience. Business can also play an important role in that healing process. She will not only help herself, but also help others in defining religion, bringing justice, rehabilitating health, and earning a living.

To help in the fight against rape and other crimes against women in India, religious leaders must come together, overcome fear, go beyond praying, and create safe spaces, allowing for honest and vulnerable conversations, along with counseling. Such religious institutions can play a vital role in bringing lasting change and healing to the victims of abuse and help society confront the evils done against women.

After all, victims of abuse are attempting to rebuild their identity. Invest in their rehabilitation. Don’t let rape win!

For more thoughts on identity, check out Sharon Angel’s book “The Courage to Identify Who You Are” on Amazon.


Place of Religious Freedom in ASEAN’s Development Agenda

3 Nov, 2020


Bangkok, Thailand: Welcome to the third and fourth webinars in a series organized this fall by the Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief Network (SEAFoRB). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SEAFoRB is unable to hold our normal annual gathering, and so instead we have arranged a series of online events addressing freedom of religion or belief issues in Southeast Asia.

SEAFoRB aims to bring together religious and belief communities, human rights organizations, academics, and decision-makers alike to discuss current trends and, together, promote the right to FoRB for all.

November 9, 2020
8:30-10:00 PM Washington DC
November 10, 2020
01.30-3.00 AM Universal Coordinated Time
8.30-10:00 AM Bangkok
9.30-11.00 AM Kuala Lumpur

FREE: REGISTRATION LINK


This webinar will explore practical ways that freedom of religion or belief helps cultivate a social and regulatory environment that allows individuals and communities to facilitate the achievement of a variety of social goods. This includes contributions to advancing sustainable development goals in fields of hunger reduction, improved public health, alleviation of poverty, and the like to make more effective contributions and to finding positive synergies for interacting with public sector institutions. Experts will also focus on how FoRB contributes to building resilient communities that can help weather the storm of uncertainties in life ahead.


Moderator:
W. Cole Durham, Jr. | Founding Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies
Speakers:
Katherine Marshall | Berkley Center, Georgetown University, and Head of World Faiths Development Dialogue, USA
Brian Grim | President, President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, USA
Alissa Wahid | National Director of Gusdurian Network, Indonesia

More information, including speaker bios and other sessions. Also see 2019 SEAFoRB program.

Rethinking Diversity & Faith in Global Corporations

3 Nov, 2020

Brian Grim, Winnipeg ELO Forum Online Speaker, On Rethinking Diversity & Faith

Brian Grim, PH.D., President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, Washington, DC, will be speaking at this year’s Winnipeg ELO Forum OnlineNovember 9th, 2020. Brian is a leading scholar on international religious demography and the socio-economic impact of religious freedom. He has extensive international experience and is a TEDx speaker and a speaker at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

He will be sharing his considerable insights on “Rethinking Diversity & Faith” in the corporate world. Attached below, with Brian’s permission, are some key extracts from a recent article titled, “Diversity is top of the corporate agenda. Why doesn’t that include faith?” January 16, 2020, which was part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. In his article, he highlights three main points:

1. The majority of Fortune 100 companies fail to mention faith or religion as part of diversity efforts.
2. Technology companies are among the most faith-friendly.
3. There’s a business case for workplaces to focus on religious inclusion.

EXTRACT:

Since the late 1960s, businesses large and small have worked to ensure that employees of all backgrounds are welcomed in the workplace. These diversity and inclusion efforts, which initially focused on race and gender diversity, have rightly expanded to include sexual orientation, veterans, disabilities, age and more. A new study reveals that, of these, religious inclusion has overwhelmingly been left out of corporate diversity initiatives. This is despite research showing the world is becoming more religiously diverse and faith continuing to be a core identity for the vast majority of workers worldwide.

An international data project developed by the Pew Research Center estimates our planet will have 2.3 billion more religiously affiliated people by 2050, compared with just 0.1 billion more religiously unaffiliated people. Religion is not in decline, despite the common narrative. By 2050, the top economies will shift from being majority Christian to include economies dominated by Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and the unaffiliated. That means the world and its main marketplaces are becoming not only more religious but also more religiously diverse.

Degrees of Diversity

Despite this, the just-released study by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) shows that a majority of Fortune 100 companies fail to include even a single mention of faith or belief on their main diversity landing pages. Racial diversity, for example, is mentioned multiple times on 95% of landing pages for a total of more than 1,000 mentions. Religion is mentioned 92 times, across only 43% of the pages, putting it at the very bottom of the diversity and inclusion scale

Religion is also at the bottom when it comes to one of the most potent programmes corporations utilize for encouraging workplace inclusion – Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Fortune 100 company webpages list 775 ERGs related to various affinities, but only 38 (5%) of these relate to faith or belief. That marks a stark contrast with the 298 ERGs for race, and 185 ERGs for gender or sexual orientation.

Reasons for this disconnect range from fear within companies of negatively impacting other inclusion programs, to concern over initiatives that become too focused on one faith, or the perceived potential to introduce a source of conflict in the work environment.

While the figures seem to indicate corporate America is tone-deaf to religion and belief, they also point to some promising trends. Indeed, RFBF’s study shows America is at a tipping point toward more faith-friendly corporate environments.

The Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, released this month, ranks for the first time Fortune 100 companies based on a variety of criteria related to their public commitment to providing faith-friendly workplaces. Perhaps surprising to some, technology companies are among the most faith-friendly. The company with the best score in the 2020 REDI Index was Alphabet/Google, with Facebook, Apple, Dell and Intel also making the top 10. Tyson Foods, Target, American Airlines, Goldman Sachs and American Express round out the top spots in the scoring.

Their efforts to create respectful environments for the faith and beliefs of their employees are diverse and can serve as models for other companies. Google’s Inter Belief Network (IBN) has multiple member chapters, including ERGs for Buddhists, Christians, Jewglers [Google’s term] and Muslims. Tyson Foods, which tied for the No 2 spot on the REDI Index, employs chaplains in their plants across 28 US states to provide “compassionate pastoral care” to employees and their families, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation. Intel, which also tied for second, has a variety of faith and belief ERGs including Agnostics and Atheists at Intel (AAI), Intel Bible-Based Christian Network (IBCN), Intel Jewish Community (IJC), and Intel Muslim Employee Group (IMEG).

This tipping point is manifesting itself in a variety of ways. Accenture, a financial industry leader in the US, recently hosted a nationwide webinar for its employees to promote bringing your “whole self, faith and all” to work. Salesforce’s Faithforce, launched two years ago, is the fastest growing ERG in the company’s history. PayPal launched its first faith-oriented ERG in 2019 as well. Earlier this year, Texas Instruments hosted a forum on religious diversity and inclusion at TI’s global headquarters in Dallas, attracting participants from more than 30 different companies.

Perhaps the biggest indicator of a change in focus and attention is that, for the first time, Walmart (the largest of the Fortune-ranked companies) recently launched a faith-oriented ERG.

The Business Case for Faith

These are promising signs that, while still on the fringes of most corporate inclusion programmes, faith-friendly workplaces are poised to make significant gains in 2020. RFBF’s research also shows companies that include religion in their initiatives on equity and inclusion are stronger on all other inclusion categories mentioned above. Faith inclusion is, therefore, an important indicator of an overall more welcoming workplace environment.

The drivers behind a greater corporate focus on faith are increasingly clear and make good business sense for companies in a global marketplace. They should not be ignored. When implemented equitably, faith-friendly corporations are more appealing from a recruitment and retention standpoint. They increase morale, reduce religious bias, and foster greater collaboration, creativity, productivity, commitment and innovation.

Faith is already an important part of people’s lives and the marketplace, so to be religiously-tone deaf is a strategic liability. Faith-friendly workplaces enable employees to help companies successfully navigate a more religious and religiously diverse planet.

Research on religion provides a foundation for not only assessment but driving positive change to ensure that the global business community is at the vanguard of the effort to provide work experiences where employees reach their true potential. That means stronger, more resilient businesses and a better quality of life for people of all faiths and beliefs around the world.

Religious Freedom: Pillar to Global Innovation, Economic Growth

2 Nov, 2020

Topic: Religious Freedom: Pillar to Global Innovation, Economic Growth
When: Thursday, Nov. 19, 10:00am
Who: A discussion with Brian Grim, President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, moderated by John H. Dickson, President, World Trade & Development Group
Where: Zoom Meetings (registration required)
Host: U.S. India SME Council (SME Council)


About: The U.S. India SME Council is the premier business advocacy initiative that gives a New voice to the business interests of SM Es and Indian Americans. The U.S. India SME Council’s mission is to grow and empower the SM Es and Indian American business community through Access, Education, and opportunity. SME Council represents the interest of all SMEs and Indian Americans owned businesses in the United States and in India. Through its programs and services it provides SMEs and Indian American businesses with the resources and tools necessary for success and connect them to opportunities to grow their business.

 

How to Welcome Faith-Oriented Diversity in a Workplace: A Better Way

27 Oct, 2020

Nov. 10th Faith & Belief ERGs Zoom Call

Topic: How to Welcome Faith-Oriented Diversity in a Workplace
Featuring: Kent Johnson, Former Senior Counsel – Texas Instruments; Senior Corporate Advisor – RFBF
Moderator: Paul Lambert, Senior Corporate Trainer – RFBF
When: Nov 10, 2020 – 12:00 noon Eastern Time (11am Central/9am Pacific)

Nov 10 2020 Powerpoint – How to Welcome Faith-oriented Workplace Diversity

A Better Way

Companies are increasingly intrigued or concerned about the growing emphasis on religious diversity at work. Increasingly, company leaders are realizing that, for many employees, it is their faith, more than any other single factor, that defines their core identity. When corporate culture constrains them from referring to their faith at work, they feel devalued, and forced “under cover.” They feel they can’t “be themselves.” They can become alienated from their work.

Yet, many business leaders have no idea how to approach the topic of faith and belief in the workplace. They wonder: What are the best practices in this area? What are pitfalls to avoid? What can/should be done?

We at the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation have been working for years with companies that are trailblazers in religious diversity. We can report that there is a better way. Join us Dec. 10th to learn more!


The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation host a monthly call with Fortune 500 companies in which they share how they’re becoming more faith-and-belief friendly. They are doing this in ways that not only allow each employee to be authentic to his/her own faith, but builds a workplace community where people’s various faiths and beliefs are welcome and viewed as a source of strength.

Previous calls featured insights from IntelAmerican ExpressAmerican AirlinesSalesforceDELL, PayPal and Texas Instruments. You can down load the Oct. 6th TI presentation here.

Authenticity, Transparency and Trust in Business – Kent Johnson from Religious Freedom & Business Foundation on Vimeo.

How to start a faith-oriented employee resource group (ERG) in your workplace

20 Oct, 2020

Nov. 10th Faith & Belief ERGs Zoom Call

Topic: How to get an ERG going in your company
Featuring: Kent Johnson, Former Senior Counsel – Texas Instruments; Senior Corporate Advisor – RFBF
Moderator: Paul Lambert, Senior Corporate Trainer – RFBF
When: Nov 10, 2020 – 12:00 noon Eastern Time (11am Central/9am Pacific)

Faith and Business

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation host a monthly call with Fortune 500 companies in which they share how they’re becoming more faith-and-belief friendly. They are doing this in ways that not only allow each employee to be authentic to his/her own faith, but builds a workplace community where people’s various faiths and beliefs are welcome and viewed as a source of strength.

Previous calls featured insights from IntelAmerican ExpressAmerican AirlinesSalesforceDELL and PayPal.


You can down load the Oct. 6th TI presentation here.

Faith & Belief ERG LinkedIn Group: Join Now

Religious Freedom Brings Peace, and Not Just World Peace

16 Oct, 2020

by Steve Hitz

Steve Hitz is a co-founder of Launching Leaders Worldwide. Launching Leaders, a partner of Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, has engaged participants in 36 countries on six continents through a faith-based personal leadership curriculum which empowers participants everywhere.

The word “religion” in itself, brings with it a set of paradigms strangely positioned in our world. In its name, entire countries were established, wars fought, and persecutions beset to those who have tried to live into their own faith— regardless of the consequences.

Many of today’s youth declare, they are “spiritual but not religious,” or “spiritual but not affiliated.” Why do they say that? It is a popular phrase to self-identify a life stance regarding spirituality that takes issue with organized religion as the most effective way to further spiritual growth. And yet, while seeking their own spiritual path that may be different from the path of their parents, the ability to achieve this quest still requires religious liberty.

Of all freedoms desired and sought after, the right to guide one’s own spiritual beliefs without oppression from others in the same society is paramount. And yet, this freedom is infringed upon in todays “cancel culture” where those who disagree decide to eliminate each other from their lives. Righteous movements to put attention to social injustices are smothered by hatred and vitriol toward anyone who has a differing mind-set.

Contrast this with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jewish) with her colleague Antonin Scalia (Catholic) and their relationship. Even though they differed on many points of judicial considerations and even faith, nevertheless they became dear and trusted friends; they built a sweet and lasting relationship that respected each other’s views without diminishing their friendship. That is a lesson for all of us. The religious liberty they both practiced made each other more complete. Indeed, it brought peace on so many fronts.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Eulogy at Justice Scalia Memorial Service (C-SPAN)

Whether your spirituality is derived from a mountain top, a band, or steeped in tradition, religious liberty provides the freedom to live in your own path of fulfillment. I believe our society can take a few tips on how to live out religious liberty. It involves personal action and also a unified world view on the matter.

Religious liberty is the freedom to believe and exercise or act upon religious conscience without unnecessary interference by government. It is the freedom to practice one’s faith, or to practice no faith at all. While government needs to step in to resolve conflict between religious liberty and law, it must look out for any who would be detrimentally affected by their decisions. This can be tricky and is where the voice of the people largely guides the consequences of religious freedom.

In the United States, the first amendment to the constitution provides guidance on how this liberty is protected and assured. Note, the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the first amendment, but is considered shorthand to say when church and state are separated, neither tries to interfere with the essential mission and work of the other. Someone’s religious liberty is denied, and everyone’s religious liberty is threatened, when government favors one faith over another. The fight for religious liberty is an effort to prevent government from doing what even God will not do; coerce faith.

So why is this so very important? Because without religious liberty and freedom, peace and choice are replaced by coercion and control. In all ages, this leads to war and destruction of the human family. Religious freedom is the seedbed for human rights and protects what makes us human. Religious liberty is not just an American value; it is much more than that. Some scholars argue that religious freedom is not a distinct right and conflate this right with other issues of the day. This conflation undermines the innate idea that religious freedom and liberty is a distinct right of every human being, which idea was codified as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This document has been referenced by thousands seeking to advance this cause and right. Even so, we should remember that religious freedom was a human right eons before it was codified into any document.

In an effort to protect and preserve religious liberty, please consider the following ideas:

Practice Civil Discourse

Though we may have cultural differences, we ought not to have cultural wars. Everyone may have their own way of expressing, for example, the Golden Rule (treat others as you wish to be treated). Every faith has their own version that essentially inculcates peace, harmony, and human dignity. Islam states, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself” (The prophet Muhammad, Hadith), while Taoism states “Regard your own gain as your neighbors gain, and your neighbors loss as your own loss”( Tai Shank Kan Ying Phen). I can cite similar definitions from over two dozen different faith traditions. The point is, while there are many faith traditions and beliefs, the end result of respecting one another’s right to believe or not brings us all to a better understanding of how we achieve the same desired results though on different paths.

Respect Human Dignity

The beauty of religious freedom is that it provides a proper window to view others through. Instead of judging another’s beliefs, it promotes the idea that all are created equal and should be afforded without distinction or discrimination, all that their spiritual and religious hopes desire. The current world leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said recently, “discrimination because of race is morally wrong and contrary to God’s plan of happiness for His children,” (Russell M. Nelson). Again, the human right of religious freedom affords everyone the right, without prejudice, to believe or not believe. Either way, it leads us to respect human dignity.

Use your voice with loving clarity, not anarchy and hatred

Reverend Theresa A. Dear of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) stated, “The remnants and vestiges of the current America will be taught in history classes, preserved in shadow box frames and ensconced in museums. Future generations will likely mourn our current America of 2017, 2018 and 2019, which has been fraught with polarization, whistle blowing, name calling, tweets, brutality and hatred. We are tired of the vitriol, caustic leadership and unapologetic indecencies and offenses. Our souls cannot relive any version of this again. We crave a better America. We have the collective capacity to build a better America. Each of us must commit that the better America of tomorrow begins with our individual actions — today.” She also said “racism thrives on hatred, oppression, collusion, passivity, indifference and silence.”

Dallin H. Oaks, former Supreme Court Justice of the State of Utah, said “While we do have the right to peaceful protests in the United States, by law, protesters have no right to destroy, deface, or steal property or to undermine the government’s legitimate police powers. The constitution and laws contain no invitation to revolution or anarchy. All of us—police, protesters, supporters, and spectators—should understand the limits of our rights and the importance of our duties to stay within the boundaries of existing law. Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.” Redress of grievances by mobs is redress by illegal means.”

Our distinct right of religious liberty and freedom is better assured through civil discourse under the laws of the land; it is destroyed through anarchy, hatred and the “cancel culture.” Therefore, let your disputes be in the spirit of the framework of human dignity and civil discourse. Let your voice be that of loving clarity.

Pray for healing and understanding

Religious liberty affords us the opportunity to hope for brighter days in turbulent times; to go beyond conflict toward a time of calm and peace. Implementing these few suggestions will build a framework to promote, defend, and celebrate religious freedom. We are all individuals on a planet, trying to live out a peaceful life of meaning. Religious freedom can allow this life of peace of purpose to exist, advance, and prosper. It is worth praying for healing of hearts and for understanding as we strive to advance the wonderful causes such of our day, such as social justice.

Within the framework of civil discourse, respecting human dignity, and using our voice with loving clarity, we can achieve peace. Religious liberty is the seedbed for achieving the peace of which I speak.

Religious Freedom & Business Work Grows During Disruptive Coronavirus

13 Oct, 2020

Brian J. Grim

The coronavirus has not only claimed more than one million lives worldwide, it has disrupted what had come to be seen as the inevitable march forward of a globalized world. It has contributed fuel to nationalism that was already on the rise, making the path forward less predictable.

Times of disruption are almost always an opportunity for growth, according to the late Harvard business scholar Clayton Christensen. So, what has been the experience of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation during this time? It has been indeed a time of growth because instead of just maintaining the projects we engaged with, we expanded initiatives aimed at promoting our core mission:

to educate the global business community, policymakers, non-government organizations and consumers about the positive power faith — and religious freedom for all — has on business and the economy.   

Four ways we have innovated during the coronavirus disruption are:

1. New Research and Writing

During the height of the shutdown period, we (Kent Johnson, Paul Lambert and I) compiled the first-ever book of voices from business leaders across Fortune 500 companies describing why bringing one’s whole self to work — faith and all — is a business imperative. The movement of toward faith-friendly workplaces is already underway, and we believe that the than 45 business leaders who share their own personal “why” will make this a paradigm shifting book. Stay tuned for more as the book moves towards publication in 2021.

2. Impacting New Audiences

Over the past two weeks we have described to new audiences the powerful ally business is in advancing religious freedom by allowing people to be their authentic selves in the workplace. This includes describing the faith and business movement to the following audiences:

— Dallas, TX: Interfaith Encounters on Religious Freedom, hosted by Dr. Robert Hunt of Southern Methodist University.
— Washington DC: J. Reuben Clark Law Society Religious Liberty Interns.
— Denver, CO: Launching Leaders Worldwide annual stakeholders meeting.
— Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum’s Sustainability Summit.

Happening today:
— New York, NY: Principled Entrepreneurship Conference sponsored by the Napa Institute and the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America.

And forthcoming, Nov. 9:
— Winnipeg, Canada: Entrepreneurial Leadership Network’s ELO Forum Online, Rethinking Diversity & Faith at Work

3. New alliances

Next month we’ll be announcing a new alliance to provide a brand new tool for corporate America to assess their level of religious diversity and inclusion.

4. New Technologies

Rather than wait for the world to go back to “normal,” we are embracing the new normal where major meetings and conferences will be online or a combination of virtual and in-person. Ww have invested in a software system that makes this possible starting in December – stay tuned!


Finally, as the the late Harvard business scholar Clayton Christensen points out, disruption is an opportunity, but for those unwilling to adapt, it is a threat. Join us as we seize the opportunities ahead!

Is Disruption an Opportunity or a Threat? Clay Christensen Explains from Religious Freedom & Business Fnd on Vimeo.