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Bartleby The Bigots

From the Telegraph:

For nearly 40 years, the vibrant rainbow flag of the gay pride movement has come to represent diversity and tolerance. However, a decision by the National Trust to demand 350 of its volunteers at a Jacobean mansion wear the banner or be banished to backroom chores has triggering an angry backlash.

Bosses at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk wrote to their army of volunteers asking them to all wear a lanyard or badge displaying the rainbow flag to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer visitors. The email, seen by The Telegraph, reveals that those who refused would not be allowed to meet and greet guests to the 17th Century hall.


“There’s a group of about 10 of us who have volunteered for more than 10 years, and we’ve now been told that if we don’t toe the line, we can’t do our jobs.

“People are getting ill over this, they’re losing sleep because they’re missing out on a big part of their daily lives and doing something they love so much.”

Another volunteer, who did not want to be named, said she had not signed up for any shifts during the summer Prejudice and Pride campaign when volunteers and the 48 staff are required to wear the rainbow flag colours.

An email written by Ella Akinlade, the general manager at the hall, said the use of the lanyard and badge was an attempt to “send a very clear and visible sign to visitors” that they support the LGBTQ community who “shaped” many of the Trust’s properties.


In a statement, Annabel Smith, the Trusts’ head of volunteering, said staff and volunteers sign up to the organisation’s “core ambition”, adding that the Trust was committed to “promoting equality of opportunity and inclusion”.

She said “As part of our ‘Prejudice and Pride’ programme our staff and volunteers are wearing rainbow badges and lanyards, as an international symbol of welcome.

“We do recognise that some volunteers may have conflicting, personal opinions.  However whilst volunteering for the National Trust we do request and expect individuals to uphold the values of the organisation. We encourage people with any concerns to chat to our teams.”

What sanctimonious nonsense. The “values” of an organization like the National Trust ought to have nothing to do with cultural politics, and everything to do with preserving Britain’s historic sites, and making them accessible to visitors. These workers did not refuse to participate in the special LGBT program (though some of them were offended that the National Trust outed the manor’s deceased last owner, who was highly private about his sexuality). This is nothing more than the kind of obnoxious virtue signaling we have become accustomed to by gay activists and their allies. That volunteers at a state-run historic preservation organization are compelled to do something like this as a condition of service is appalling.

But it’s also a sign of what’s coming. From The Benedict Option:

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.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a powerful LGBT pressure group, publishes an annual Corporate Equality Index. In its 2016 report, over half of the top twenty U.S. companies in have a perfect score. To fail to score high is considered a serious problem within leading corporations.

Among the criteria the foundation used in its 2016 evaluations was that “senior management/executive performance measures include LGBT diversity metrics.” A company that wants to win the foundation’s seal of approval will have to show concrete proof that it is advancing the LGBT agenda in the workplace. The “ally” phenomenon—straight people publicly declaring themselves to be supporters of the LGBT agenda—is one way companies can both demonstrate progress to gay rights campaigners, as well as identify dissenters who may stand in the way of progress.

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.

So, now the National Trust knows which of its volunteer staff at Felbrigg Hall object in some way to gay pride. It may be because these staffers are Christians or Muslims. It may be because they simply think it’s wrong to politicize the workplace. The point is, this exercise was a way of compelling “bigots” in the ranks of that workplace to out themselves.

Now, I don’t know how things work in the UK, but if this were an American organization, the next thing would be for a gay, lesbian, or transgender volunteer in this particular workplace to go to her manager and complain that she feels “unsafe” around co-workers who would not “affirm” her sexual or gender status by wearing the Pride badge. The manager — and the human resources department — has a problem, especially if the complaining worker accuses the organization of creating a “hostile work environment” by tolerating the Bartleby-the-Bigots who prefer not to wear the badge.

Increasingly, you will not be allowed to remain silent. You must affirm, or suffer the consequences. (And even the dead — Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, the last owner of Felbrigg Hall — has been forcibly recruited for the cause.) The liberal Evangelical David Gushee, who has become an “affirm” militant, laid it out clearly:

It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed. This is true both for individuals and for institutions.

Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.

He thinks this is a good thing, just so you know. Tolerance is no longer enough for heretic-hunting cultural commissars like Gushee.

I know a man who is a senior manager at a major corporation. He is also a Christian. Every year during Pride Month, for the past few years, the human resources department at the firm has been after employees to declare themselves “allies” of the LGBT cause. This man has never done so, because he would consider it a violation of his conscience. He is scrupulously fair in his dealings with his employees, both gay and straight, and would also consider it a violation of his conscience to discriminate in the workplace against his gay employees. He is afraid that the day will come when his refusal to declare himself on the LGBT issue will be viewed negatively within the corporation, and it will damage or end his career there.

This is not paranoia. McCarthyism did not end with McCarthy.

As a related aside, it’s fascinating to see how quickly corporate America is taking up gender ideology and institutionalizing it. A reader sent me this screenshot from a survey he took:

Rockports! Is there are more staid, tranquil brand?

A different reader this morning sends this screen shot from his investment bank’s web page:

These are examples of Big Business’s power to drive cultural transformation. Cultural and religious conservatives who think that Business is a neutral force in these matters need to wake up. Capitalism is not always your friend.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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