From The Benedict Option:
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.
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. To sign the oath, they believe, would be the modern equivalent of burning a pinch of incense before a statue of Caesar.
It will be impossible in most places to get licenses to work without affirming sexual diversity dogma. For example, in 2016 the American Bar Association voted to add an “anti-harassment” rule to its Model Code of Conduct, one that if adopted by state bars would make it simply discussing issues having to do with homosexuality (among other things) impossible without risking professional sanction—unless one takes the progressive side of the argument.
Along those lines, it will be very difficult to have open dialogue in many workplaces without putting oneself in danger. One Christian professor on a secular university’s science faculty declined to answer a question I had about the biology of homosexuality, out of fear that anything he said, no matter how innocuous and fact-based, could get him brought up on charges within his university, as well as attacked by social media mobs. Everyone working for a major corporation will be frog-marched through “diversity and inclusion” training and will face pressure not simply to tolerate LGBT co-workers but to affirm their sexuality and gender identity.
Plus, companies that don’t abide by state and federal antidiscrimination statutes covering LGBTs will be not be able to receive government contracts. In fact, according to one religious liberty litigator who has had to defend clients against an exasperating array of antidiscrimination lawsuits, the only thing standing between an employer or employee and a court action is the imagination of LGBT plaintiffs and their lawyers.
“We are all vulnerable to such targeting,” he said.
Says a religious liberty lawyer, “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.”
David Gushee, a well-known Evangelical ethicist who holds an aggressively progressive stance on gay issues, published a column in 2016 noting that the middle ground is fast disappearing on the question of whether discrimination against gays and lesbians for religious reasons should be tolerated.
“Neutrality is not an option,” he wrote. “Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.”
Public school teachers, college professors, doctors, and lawyers will all face tremendous pressure to capitulate to this ideology as a condition of employment. So will psychologists, social workers, and all in the helping professions; and of course, florists, photographers, backers, and all businesses that are subject to public accommodation laws.
Christian students and their parents must take this into careful consideration when deciding on a field of study in college and professional school. A nationally prominent physician who is also a devout Christian tells me he discourages his children from following in his footsteps. Doctors now and in the near future will be dealing with issues related to sex, sexuality, and gender identity but also to abortion and euthanasia. “Patient autonomy” and nondiscrimination are the principles that trump all conscience considerations, and physicians are expected to fall in line.
“If they make compliance a matter of licensure, there will be nowhere to hide,” said this physician. “And then what do you do if you’re three hundred thousand dollars in debt from medical school, and have a family with three kids and a sick parent? Tough call, because there aren’t too many parishes or church communities who would jump in and help.”
Last night I received an e-mail from a Catholic physician. He wrote to share a pledge that physicians in his institution were invited (“invited”) to sign. It is based on the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Provider Pledge. The physician writes:
This was presented as a voluntary endeavor, and solely for the purpose of identifying providers on the physician directory for patients. Signing this pledge, as well as completing several modules on our employee intranet, would entitle the physician to be designated as LGBT-competent/affirming for all patients to see online.
This, again, was presented as voluntary. Thankfully, I attended this meeting via web conference and did not have my reaction noted. Some of it is benign, like vowing to care for all patients regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. There are, however, specific issues with the pledge from a Catholic (Christian, etc.) perspective, despite more the moderate language used in our specific pledge.
I removed the specific language to protect the identity of the physician. One line, though, required physicians to affirm that they do not regard homosexuality as “sinful” — which would require rejecting Catholic teaching, and the teaching upheld by all small-o orthodox Christian churches, since the beginning. This is a total ideological bullying move. After all, no one asks doctors to affirm that they believe prostitution is morally sound, as a condition of offering medical care to prostitutes, or that drinking alcohol is morally neutral, as a condition of treating those who drink. No doctor or nurse withholds or modifies treatment of a sick person based on his moral judgment of that person. This is basic medical professionalism.
What these activists want is to make it impossible for any physician — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or otherwise — who have any moral qualms whatsoever about anything to do with LGBT, to be driven out of the profession. Notice how the physician who wrote to me describes how the person within his institution characterized signing the pledge, framing anyone who might object as an antisocial malcontent:
Regardless, our presenter summarized the pledge as one’s promise to “not be a jerk.”The presenter later repeated this peculiar summation when they asserted that if one wasn’t a “jerk” they would have no issues with this general program. Who knows how long jerks like me will be able to use the voluntary nature of this pledge drive to remain hidden.
I bring this to your attention as a general indicator of the current climate and confirmation of some predictions you’ve made in TBO and your blog.
It’s coming. Today it’s “voluntary,” but tomorrow they will be asking why you won’t sign the oath if you are truly willing to treat all patients equally. If you are not preparing for it, I’m sorry, but you’re a fool. Prepare to accept it, prepare to fight it, whatever — but know that Gushee is right: there is no place to hide. They drove out Dr. Allan Josephson, who for all we know is not even be religious, simply because he had some critical questions as a medical professional over the protocol for treating transgenders.