SalesForce is a $4 billion cloud computing company based in San Francisco. And its CEO Marc Benioff opposes religious liberty protections. He’s so extreme about it that when Indiana passed a bill that protects religious liberty, he announced he was pulling business out of the state.
Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination. http://t.co/SvTwyCHxvE
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 26, 2015
Then he made a threat:
Attention Tech CEOs/Industry: pay attn to what is happening in IN & how it will impact your employees & customers. http://t.co/SvTwyCZ8nc
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 26, 2015
Benioff argues that protecting religious liberty makes travel to Indiana unsafe for customers or employees. This would be a foolish slander about any state that protects religious liberty. But have you been to Indiana? They’re almost too nice. This is a shockingly stupid claim for someone to make about liberty protections. Besides, this bill protects people from improper government restrictions on religious liberty, contrary to most media coverage of the bill.
Anyway, it’s worth looking at who Benioff happily does business with.
The company has a branch based out of Beijing in the People’s Republic of China, a Communist-controlled country that is a human rights nightmare.
Here’s a snippet from the latest U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom report on China:
The Chinese government continues to perpetrate particularly severe violations of religious freedom. For Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims, conditions are worse now than at any time in the past decade. Independent Catholics and Protestants face arrests, fines, and the shuttering of their places of worship. Practitioners of Falun Gong, as well as other Buddhist, folk religionist, and Protestant groups deemed “superstitious” or “evil cults,” face long jail terms, forced renunciations of faith, and torture in detention, and the government has not sufficiently answered accusations of psychiatric experimentation and organ harvesting. Based on these systematic, egregious, ongoing abuses, USCIRF again recommends that China be designated as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, in 2014. The State Department has designated China as a CPC since 1999.
I guess we can at least say Benioff is showing consistency in his dislike of religious liberty.
China isn’t just a place that tortures people for their religious beliefs. There’s the running over peaceful protesters with tanks, forced abortions under China’s one child policy, and the fact they send people to labor camps for tweeting jokes about the government.
But he’s actually not consistent about only doing business in places that fail to protect religious liberty. The United States has since 1993 had a federal version of the bill signed by Gov. Mike Pence yesterday. And Indiana joins 18 states with versions of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.
If SalesForce CEO Benioff is going to be consistent, he’s not only going to have to lay off everyone who works out of his Chicago, Indianapolis, Tampa and Northern Virginia offices, but he can’t even do business in Alabama, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Benioff might just have to move the entire company’s operations to China or another place that hates religious liberty because there are even more states that have RFRA-like protections that will limit his work:
— Born Again Jew (@mountainofyah) March 27, 2015
Also, Benioff may want to review his many contributions to candidates. He’s given a ton of money to candidates who voted for state or federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, President Barack Obama, and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Whoopsie!
Listen, there’s been a scandalous misinformation campaign about religious liberty in recent years. Maybe Benioff didn’t do enough research to know that he’d been lied to about why religious liberty is a foundational part of freedom. Or maybe he’s more into the China model of forced renunciations of faith.