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Last month, Intel broke ground on a massive brick and mortar mega plant set to bring thousands of high-tech jobs to Ohio. For some, there is concern the Silicon Valley Giant's arrival may transform Ohio from a conservative red state to liberal blue.
While they welcome the new manufacturing jobs, over 100 clergy are sending a signal to the tech company they do not want the company's 'California values' embedded into their culture.
Last week, a group of diverse stakeholders representing a multi-cultural faith community sent the Intel CEO a letter expressing their concern over the corporation's 'reputation of alienation' towards faith-based family groups. Although the county of Pastor Robert Caw's church stands to profit economically, he believes the company is also bringing baggage.
"Intel's corporate values and philosophy closely align with California which directly conflict with our state's values," the Ohio clergyman said. "It's like mixing oil with water."
Intel is investing $20 billion dollars and creating 3,000 high-tech jobs, but the company has also committed $300 million to support its goal to accelerate diversity and inclusion of its supply chain and vendors. According to the clergy letter, the company has a history of promoting political LGBTQ causes across the nation. On the other hand, the clergy point out Intel is not very inclusive of family or faith-based organizations that have diverse religious and ideological viewpoints.
"Intel mandates diversity and inclusion requirements and continues to go too far by forcing third-party stakeholders to embrace a "one size fits all approach" to politicized social topics that may be incompatible with the diverse values, missions and philosophies," says Pastor Caw.
The clergy believe this may have a ripple effect on institutions across Ohio. When the City of New Albany was being considered as one of the finalists for the Intel project, the city gave its first-ever proclamation recognizing LGBTQ Pride month in June of 2021.
According to Pastor Walter Moss, one of the clergy co-signers of the letter, "If we do not address the values of this company now, we will be beholden to their values down the road. One week after the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned, our state [of] Ohio saw 10 abortion mills close. What is alarming is Intel donates more money to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry than any other company in the S&P 500. We cannot let this new corporate influence dictate our state's morals. When it comes to our identity, we must choose the moral high ground and not the silicon valley."
Arguably the most controversial position Intel has taken is its position towards China where the corporation has third-party suppliers located. The Ohio clergy call Intel's position "disgraceful."
"As Intel donated $1 million dollars during the violent protests of the Summer of 2020 to divisive BLM causes domestically, Intel turned a blind eye to genocide conducted in the region of Xinjiang, China where some of its global supply chain contractors are located," indicated Reverend El Akuchie, another co-signer.
According to federal reports which Intel monitors, crimes against humanity are occurring inside the Xinjiang Province, including imprisonment, torture, rape, forced sterilization and persecution of religious minorities. In spite of the human trafficking, modern-day slavery and organ harvesting, the clergy are aghast Intel still conducts business in the region and also sponsored the 2021 Winter Olympics in China.
The clergy believe Intel's reputation is on the line. They say the tech giant should resist lending support to any action that undermines protections for fundamental human rights. The clergy wrote, "In other words, we are asking Intel to drop the social engineering and focus on manufacturing microchips."
The clergy continued, "We are asking Intel to respect the dignity of all human beings and the diverse religious and ideological views of their employees, customers and shareholders. Practically, this means avoiding charitable giving and public advocacy that drive narrow political agendas corrosive to basic human rights and religious freedom. All business ties, including with global supply chain partners inside jurisdictions implementing genocide should be severed. GOD will not be mocked."
Reverend Akuchie has hope that the clergy letter will meet its goal. Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel was born in nearby Pennsylvania and professes to be a Christian.
"We believe Mr. Gelsinger may be just the right person to address our concerns. Perhaps he was brought to his position for such a time as this. As our state motto says, "With GOD, all things are possible."
For the original article, visit frontlinesohio.com.
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