In this space, I have mentioned the concerns of several Christian readers that they will face pressure in their companies to declare themselves in favor of same-sex marriage, or stand exposed as “bigots” and marginalized. This is now happening in Australia. A reader there sends this story from The Australian. Excerpts:
Some of the country’s biggest businesses have upped the ante in the crusade for marriage equality by asking Australians to wear a specially designed “acceptance ring” until same-sex marriage is legalised.
Led by accommodation provider Airbnb and supported by Qantas, ANZ, Fairfax Media and Foxtel, the Until We Belong campaign has been billed as the “most public declaration for marriage equality” so far.
The initiative calls on Australians to signal their support for same-sex couples by committing to wearing the ring, created by designer Marc Newson.
Airbnb Australia country manager Sam McDonagh said the campaign would involve the distribution of “hundreds of thousands” of the distinctive black metal rings to its hosts and guests, business partners and “key influencers”.
Qantas staff and cabin crew would wear them, he said, while Google Australia has also provided rings for its 1300 staff to wear. “Our goal is to build momentum around the issue of marriage equality and spark those conversations about acceptance,” Mr McDonagh said.
Marriage Alliance spokeswoman Sophie York, who is opposed to same-sex marriage, questioned whether people who opted not to wear their acceptance ring would be called upon to explain their decision. She pointed to the recent harassment of a PricewaterhouseCoopers executive and a Macquarie University academic by gay activists over their links with a Christian institution as a sign of what could happen when individuals failed to comply with the “same-sex marriage agenda”.
“Almost every day, Marriage Alliance hears from an employee who has come under pressure at work to participate in an activity or donate funds to support the push to redefine marriage,” Ms York said.
“Now we see big corporates giving away free jewellery to those who take the pledge, while providing an easy way to identify those who disagree with the company agenda.
“We know activists will stop at nothing — even accessories — to target people for demise.”
Qantas and Google yesterday confirmed their support for the campaign, but both said staff would not be under any obligation to wear the rings.
“We usually let our people know when we’re involved with a campaign like this, but there’s certainly no expectation that they will be part of it themselves,” a Qantas spokesman said. “They are welcome to join in, but it’s certainly not a requirement.”
No, of course not. No pressure at all. If Christians, Muslims, or others who work at these companies don’t want to wear the ring, nobody will force those hate-filled bigots to do what they don’t want to do. If they choose to advertise their bigotry by not joining in the campaign, that’s on them. It’s like back in the 1950s, during the Cold War in the US: if you didn’t want to show your patriotism by wearing a flag pin, nobody was going to make filthy communists like you do it.
Read the whole thing. And take a look at this Airbnb ad promoting the campaign:
American companies would be perfectly within their legal rights to do such a thing in the US, though given Obergefell, they have less incentive to do so. Still, what’s to stop them from urging their employees to wear some similar outward indication of their support of LGBT rights? You don’t think this is going to happen here? Then you have not been paying attention. The neo-McCarthyist goal here is to crush dissent. It is not enough to win the legal battle; the losers must be ground into the dirt. Only then will America be a safe space.
The Aussie reader who tipped me off to this adds:
It really fills me with despair. I know what I should do, cling to Jesus and be faithful but my job, the ability to support my family, our the mortgage.
The words of St Peter are in my head, “Where else have we to go,” but I fear when it gets tough and the choice is before me.
Again: if you think this isn’t coming to the United States and Canada, you’re a fool. What are you going to do when your company does this? Are you prepared to lose your job before burning that pinch of incense? How do you justify taking a stand for faith when it might mean losing the roof of your family’s head?
This is a perfect example of why we Christians desperately need to be thinking and acting in a Benedict Option way. We in the churches have to make it easier for men and women to stand up for their faith, because they know that their churches have their back in real ways. From The Benedict Option:
[W]e are on the brink of entire areas of commercial and professional life being off-limits to believers whose consciences will not allow them to burn incense to the gods of our age.
The workplace is getting tougher for orthodox believers as America’s commitment to religious liberty weakens. Progressives sneer at claims of anti-Christian discrimination or persecution. Don’t you believe them. Most of the experts I talked to on this topic spoke openly only after I promised to withhold their identities. They’re frightened that their words today might cost them their careers tomorrow.
They’re not paranoid. While Christians may not be persecuted for their faith per se, they are already being targeted when they stand for what their faith entails, especially in matters of sexuality. As the LGBT agenda advances, broad interpretations of antidiscrimination laws are going to push traditional Christians increasingly out of the marketplace, and the corporate world will become hostile toward Christian bigots, considering them a danger to the working environment.
I have talked to a number of Christians, in fields as diverse as law, banking, and education, who face increasing pressure within their corporations and institutions to publicly declare themselves “allies” of LGBT colleagues. In some instances, employees are given the opportunity to wear special badges advertising their allyship. Naturally if one doesn’t wear the badge, she is likely to face questions from co-workers and even shunning.
These workers fear that this is soon going to serve as a de facto loyalty oath for Christian employees—and if they don’t sign it, so to speak, it will mean the end of their jobs and possibly even their careers. To sign the oath, they believe, would be the modern equivalent of burning a pinch of incense before a statue of Caesar.
When that price needs to be paid, Benedict Option Christians should be ready to support one another economically—through offering jobs, patronizing businesses, professional networking, and so forth. This will not be a cure-all; the conversion of the public square into a politicized zone will be too far-reaching for orthodox Christian networks to employ or otherwise financially support all their economic refugees. But we will be able to help some.
Get it through your head, Christian: this is not an abstract threat. By now you ought to have grasped the nature of this long culture-war campaign, and the Law of Merited Impossibility (= “It’s not going to happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.”) In The Benedict Option, I quote a prominent religious liberty lawyer as saying:
“There is no looming resolution to these conflicts; no plateau that we’re about to reach. Only intensification. It’s a train that won’t stop so long as there is momentum and track.”
Traditional religious believers will be permanently to the margins by making the price of resistance intolerable. You priests, pastors, imams and Orthodox rabbis, how are you preparing your congregations for this coming reality? You Christian parents, how are you preparing your children for this world? How are you preparing yourselves? Are you talking about it in your Christian communities? You had better be.
UPDATE: A reader comments:
Regular here, commenting anonymously out of fear.
I work in HR at a federal agency. At a training today, we were instructed that expressing bigoted “beliefs” on social media, even while off duty, is “grounds for termination.”
I’m not sure that’s actually the law (yet). But judging by how unremarkable the trainer seemed to think the point was, it’ll be the law soon, if it’s not already.
Key to me here was that expressing “beliefs” was the issue. The First Amendment is dying. The future is commissars.
UPDATE.2: Sam M., brilliant as ever:
Solution to this is simple. Have a Catholic group declare that the same exact ring supports unborn babies. If that doesn’t work get some skinheads to wear the ring to signify that they beat their wives.