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Rubio blasts Wells Fargo for ending voucher funding because of Christian schools; Fifth Third makes right choice

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Sooner or later, you have to think that American corporations will learn not to allow themselves to be bullied by the progressive left over their social justice crusade which requires acceptance of an aggrieved status.

With Fifth Third Bank reversing course on a hasty decision to discontinue donations to Florida’s private school voucher program in the face of alleged anti-LGBTQ policies, a second bank, Wells Fargo, finds itself the target of Sen. Marco Rubio for stopping its contributions.

In an interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins last week, Sen. Rubio denounced Wells Fargo for withdrawing donations because some schools in the program oppose homosexuality and transgender ideology, as characterized by The Christian Post.

“We have reviewed this matter carefully and have decided to no longer support Step Up for Students,” Wells Fargo said in a statement, according to The Hill. “All of us at Wells Fargo highly value diversity and inclusion, and we oppose discrimination of any kind.”

The Republican senator from Florida said Wells Fargo was only hurting less fortunate students with the decision — voucher schools allow parents to take their children out of failing public schools and place them in a better educational environment.

As Rubio noted, parents have the option to send their kids to the school of their choice and have many options.

“What really set me off is that doing what they did is not going to hurt those schools,” he told Perkins. “Those schools are not going to abandon the Bible over a government program. They existed before this program.”

“Who they are hurting are low-income kids, because they are not going to be able to go to school and probably not go to a school that doesn’t have those policies, by the way,” Rubio added.

This is what prompted Fifth Third Bank to reverse course, saying in a statement that after a “comprehensive review” it was “assured that students and their families make the decision as to which schools best fit the individual student’s educational needs. The choice is entirely up to them,” the Miami Herald reported.

“As a result of this thorough review and evaluation of the program, we believe that we can continue to support it, while adhering to our core values,” the statement said.

Rubio praised that action, saying Fifth Third “made the right decision.”

The controversy arose after an Orlando Sentinel investigation showed that taxpayers were funding 156 private Christian schools that hold “anti-gay views.”

“Florida’s scholarship programs, often referred to as school vouchers, sent more than $129 million to these religious institutions,” the paper reported. “That means at least 14 percent of Florida’s nearly 147,000 scholarship students last year attended private schools where homosexuality was condemned or, at a minimum, unwelcome.”

Given Wells Fargo’s own history, Rubio is not impressed with their efforts at morality.

“Now, here comes Wells Fargo, this great beacon of morality, who has been caught just a few years ago fraudulently opening up accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts on behalf of their clients so they can charge them fees and all that,” Rubio said. “And here they come now basically saying, ‘We’re no longer going to donate to the program because we don’t like the fact that there’s some religious schools that have policies that align with the doctrine of the church.'”

“Of course, they call these ‘anti-LGBT policies,'” he added, “when in reality, they’re just affirmations of biblical teaching on sex and marriage.”

Yet, as Chick-fil-A learned, in post-Obama America this can quickly get you labeled as “anti-LGBT.”

“So it’s just a reminder that what you often see now in corporate America is that they believe they can buy themselves into the good graces of broader society or cover [up for their scandals] by [caving] to some pressure and bullying from radicals on the left,” Rubio said.

Fifth Third’s initial decision to withdraw from the program came in response to being called out online by state Rep. Carlos Smith, D-Orlando.

Smith, a former activist for the gay advocacy group Equality Florida, is an openly gay hard-left lawmaker who places a heavy emphasis on advancing the LGBTQ agenda.

The senator called out Politico on Twitter for its reporting on the story, noting the exclusion of “children of color” in a quote criticizing the decision to withhold charter school donations.

Charter schools have long been a target of liberals, who are advocating for powerful teachers unions that donate millions of dollars to the Democratic Party. Adding fuel to the fire for the left is the inclusion of Christian schools in the program, as Christians who fail to acquiesce to the LGBTQ agenda regularly come under attack.

Tom Tillison

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