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Audio: Basically to FOF, a Christian can never be rightfully terminated

by Jeremy Hooper

After Hewlett-Packard put up posters meant to encourage acceptance of gay people, Richard Peterson, a worker in the company's Boise, ID, office, decided to "retaliate" by posting scriptures that he considers to be gay condemnatory, on his work cubicle, in plain view of everyone. After some employees complained, Peterson admitted to his managers that the passages were "intended to be hurtful. And the reason [they were] intended to be hurtful is you cannot have correction unless people are faced with truth." He went on to flat-out admit that he hoped LGBT employees "would read the passages, repent, and be saved."

Despite this obviously out-of-line behavior, Richard's managers didn't even fire him. Instead, they gave him some paid time off to think about his options. But what did Peterson do upon his return? Well, he went right back and re-posted the anti-gay passages, indicating that he would only remove them if H-P removed the pro-acceptance poster. So at this point H-P, completely out of all other reasonable options, had no choice but to fire Mr. Peterson for insubordination.

Peterson tried to make legal hay out of the matter. However, he of course lost in court. That's because the court, like any reasonable person, saw the clear difference between a poster about accepting your co-workers and passages that are intended to hurt the same. Call them anal if you must, but most CEOs prefer a workforce that is able to complete their 9 to 5 days without being told they are spending 10 to eternity in fiery damnation! And in this case, the courts fully saw that H-P higher ups fired Peterson not because of his religious beliefs, but rather because he violated the company's non-harassment policy.

You can read every detailed step right here.

Yet this reality doesn't stop Focus on the Family from using this very case as their first example of why employment nondiscrimination for LGBT people is supposedly bad. It's just the latest in their string of overlooking what is inconvenient in order to make life more inconvenient for LGBT people:

Focus on the Family is Signing a Letter to Congress Regarding ENDA [FNIF]

And even the AT&T example, while slightly more truthful on its face, is itself flawed reasoning. Because in that instance, the courts did determine that AT&T was wrong to fire Albert A. Buonanno, with the difference being that Mr. Buonanno didn't harass anyone in his decision to not sign the company pledge. The judge ruled that his was a personal decision, and that the company could have engaged in better communication with Mr. Buonanno in order to come to some sort of agreement. In this instance, Focus on the Family should be happy that their side pushed back and gained a "win." Instead they are working overtime to clumsily parlay this company matter into political opportunism.

And it's crucial to note that this AT&T matter (like the Hewlett-Packard one) happened without ENDA -- and situations like this could and will continue to happen whether or not ENDA is on the books! Because ENDA deals with the hiring and firing of LGBT employees. It deals with the right to work. Ancillary matters like this (which has more to do with company procedure than sexual orientation or "religious discrimination") could always potentially arise, simply because LGBT people exist (no matter how much some wish to deny that). And these and similar workday situations can also arise even though religious employment discrimination currently is protected (something FOF conveniently overlooks), because no one group is above the law. In a perfect world, none of us would be seeking the right to be!

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Your thoughts

I don't understand....freedom of religion doesn't justify or allow discrimination...would these people fel the same way if I put up passages about being pro-slavery from the Bible around my office space? If the African Americans in my office were pissed off about it, would I have the right to sue?

Like, come on. STUPIDITY. Utter, STUPIDITY.

Posted by: Stef | Sep 3, 2009 9:37:15 AM

He hoped LGBT employees would "read the passages, repent and be saved".
Yeah, right. What a load of crap. Like there are LGBT adults living in the U.S. who are unfamiliar with conservative Christian attitudes towards homosexuality. Like all it would take to change their minds was some asshole repeating, "You're going to hell if you don't do what I-oops, I mean GOD wants you to do."
I find it hard to believe that people who pull this stuff truly believe they can win instant conversions. Outside of a Jack Chick tract, when does this actually happen? No, the real goal is to make a show of "righteousness". If anyone reacts negatively to their obnoxious behavior, it's because THEY'RE not righteous themselves.
It's self-aggrandizement disguised as an attempt to "help" others.
They just don't like it when somebody calls them on it.

Posted by: Bill S | Sep 3, 2009 9:58:51 AM

Typical bigot bullshit. Anyone wanna bet on the amount of money Focus on the Family would spend defending a muslim putting up anti-christian quaran quotes all over his office? Yeah, I think its 0 to.

Posted by: penguinsaur | Sep 3, 2009 10:47:57 AM

So, they cite a case where a religiot abused his ENDA rights (unsuccessfully) against HP, as a reason not to extend ENDA rights to LGBTs.. because WE might abuse the law in the same way.. Do they not see how circuitous and nonsensical that line of reasoning is?? Or, they do, but it's such a clever twisting of the facts, that the synaptically challenged (warped) zombie-automatons would never be able to make the connection.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Sep 3, 2009 11:23:47 AM

Maybe it would help if we adopted a more pc title like "the genderly challenged". It could confuse the "un" holy opposition for years.

Posted by: ednigma459 | Sep 3, 2009 1:35:09 PM

Er, I think you made a mistake.

"Despite this obviously out-of-line behavior, Stephen's managers didn't even fire him. Instead, they gave him some paid time off to think about his options."

Who's Stephen? You said the man's name was Richard Peterson.

Posted by: Yuki | Sep 3, 2009 3:55:12 PM

Oh yea. Good catch, Yuki. I'll fix.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 3, 2009 3:58:43 PM

Wait, so they're using antidiscrimination laws to protect discrimination?

Posted by: Brian | Sep 3, 2009 5:55:53 PM

What the FOF ad/interview did not say... is that being fired because of religious beliefs is also going to get protected too. And that it requires proof that that is the reason of the firing, be it a firing because of religious beliefs or sexual orientation. And for example, in my great state of Oklahoma, we have a law that specifically says that you can fire someone if they are gay, tell them that is the reason you are firing them. The middle ground is one of equal respect within the work place, we don't have that at this time.

All my love, hugs and kisses,


Posted by: QueerAsFaith | Sep 3, 2009 6:28:50 PM

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