Pastoral Ponderings – June 2024

This past week I read an interesting article about religion and the Fortune 500. If you are not familiar with the Fortune 500, it is a list of the 500 more profitable corporations in the United States. Traditionally, the Fortune 500 has never spoken of religion and operated as if religion and individual affiliation was totally foreign to their connect to customers/clients, employees and suppliers. According to 2024 Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index and Monitor, over 85% of Fortune 500 companies have included religion in their commitment to diversity statements.

Fortune 500 companies are also expanding their openness to religious diversity by offering employees “faith employee resource groups”. Depending on the specific corporation, resource groups assist employees needing religious accommodations, spiritual/care and chaplaincy services and filing discrimination claims.

The Religious Freedom and Business Foundation ranked American Airlines and Accenture as the most faith-friendly corporation. They were followed closely by Equinix, Dell Technologies, Intel Corporation, Salesforce, and Tyson Foods.

I found the statement by American Airlines Vice-President of Global People Operations interesting and progressive, having personally witnessed corporations prior avoidance of religion and even people’s life journey: “At American Airlines, our purpose is to care for people on life’s journey, including our customers and our 130,000 team members … Our team members, across all faiths and beliefs, help us better understand and serve our customers around the world.”

As I ponder this information, it makes me wonder what we, as churches, could learn from Fortune 500 companies after years of viewing them as entities on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of ethics and values. I wonder what many of our work lives would have been like if the companies we work or worked for had taken this approach.

(Post. Kathryn. (2024) New report finds ‘surge’ in corporate attention to religious diversity. Religion News Service.

Blessings as we enter our summer months. Stay safe!
Rev. Gloria