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Civil servant risks job over LGBT diversity training video

Civil servant risks job over LGBT diversity training video

Meet David Hall, 42, the newest member of the International Federation of Crybaby Christians.

Hall, a  social security administration employee in Champaign, Illinois, qualified for membership after he refused to watch a workplace diversity video about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

According to this report, his refusal put him at odds with his employers. He insisted that, because he is a devout Christian, God wouldn’t want him to comply with the directive.

He explained that, in late April this year, social security employees nationwide received an email from the agency, telling them to view the 17-minute training video at their work stations. Employees were required to certify that they had seen the video.

When refused he got a “watch-it-or-be-disciplined” warning from his supervisor, but still stood his ground:

Because the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.

In this video, he added:

If I have to choose between almighty God and social security and the federal government, believe you me Jesus Christ wins out.

As a result, an official reprimand was placed on his file — the first he has ever received, he says — and he was suspended without pay for two days in August.

Part of his problem, he said, is that viewing the video is mandatory, something he doesn’t remember the agency doing with other training videos in the past. So, he asked his supervisors for a religious accommodation to abstain from the training, which was denied.

After his suspension, Hall returned to work on August 17. He said his supervisor has explained he will receive further discipline, possibly a longer suspension without pay, if he does not watch the video. Hall said he eventually expects he will lose his job over his refusal to do so.

I think this is an issue they are prepared to go to the mat with, but I’m not going to give up my faith or compromise my beliefs just to go along and get along. I don’t believe God wants me to do that.

Doug Nguyen, Communications Director for the SSA’s Chicago region, wrote in an emailed statement that:

In support of an inclusive work environment, as well as exemplary customer service, the Social Security Administration recently announced a diversity and inclusion training on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community to our employees.

This mandatory video training reminds our employees of their responsibility, as representatives of the agency, to provide the highest levels of service to our customers. The training includes a brief session on tips for increasing cultural awareness in a diverse and inclusive environment. We are unable to comment on specific personnel matters.

But Hall said he cannot bring himself to comply. He said he believes the Constitution grants him certain rights and religious freedoms, just as it grants certain rights to others.

I’m not judging the LGBT community … But I believe tolerance is a two-way street … I know I’m not a martyr or a bigot. I’m not asking for anyone’s approval or forgiveness; I’m simply trying to live out my life, my faith and be obedient to the will of God.

Hall, who describes homosexuality as “an abomination”, said he has prayed about this issue and talked it over with friends and family, including his wife and three kids. With a family to support, a mortgage, car payment and health insurance through his job, Hall said he is taking a risk making this stand.

And he said he doesn’t anticipate his supervisors changing their course, and that he will eventually lose the job he’s done for 14 years.

This is something I want to fight and expose to give other Christians the courage of their convictions. I can’t tell you how many I’ve worked with that have told me, ‘Dave, we agree with you 100 percent. I wish I had the courage to do that’. But they’re scared … Their fears are being realised through me.

Hall said Jason Craddock, a private Chicago attorney, is advising him. Craddock also recently represented the owner of Ford County’s Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast, who objected to hosting same-sex weddings for religious reasons.

Earlier this year, the B&B near Paxton that turned down a same-sex couple’s request to hold a civil-union ceremony there in 2011 was ordered by an administrative law judge to pay $30,000 in damages to the couple and $50,000 to their attorneys and to stop violating the Illinois Human Rights Act by denying couples access to the facility based on their sexual orientation.

Craddock said he and Hall are still looking at options on how to proceed with the SSA. He said there are many previous cases involving Christians objecting to participating in activities they consider to be sinful, and they are persecuted in the workplace as a result.

Unfortunately, it’s happening more frequently as time goes on.

17 responses to “Civil servant risks job over LGBT diversity training video”

  1. Broga says:

    If he doesn’t have a closed mind he cannot continue as a Christian. All avenues which might lead to openness or fresh information must be avoided. He reeks of smug certainty based on superstitious fictions.

  2. Smokey says:

    Fortunately, it’s happening more frequently as time goes on.

    FTFY

    Another martyrbating Christian, using religious freedoms for lubrication.

  3. Cali Ron says:

    “I’m not judging the LGBT community … But I believe tolerance is a two-way street … I know I’m not a martyr or a bigot.” He’s a fucking liar. He is judging, he’s not being tolerant (what does tolerance have to do with watching a video) and he is being a martyr. The bigotry part goes without saying (oops, I said it).

    How would watching a video in any way violate his religious beliefs? Where’s is the bible verse where god directs christians to not watch videos about being tolerate. It’s especially annoying since little jesus himself taught tolerance and supposedly said “judge not, lest ye be judged”. Apparently he believes just watching a video that mentions anything gay is a violation of his religious principles.

    There seems to be no end to the trivial and trite reasons christians find to play the persecution card. “Oh my god I have to watch a video about being tolerant to gays! My eyes are burning, ahhhh! God save me from this persecution! Wah, wah!” What a wanker!

  4. lucy1 says:

    It is extraordinary. He does not have to change his mind, think anything different, do anything different or in anyway compromise his “sincerely held beliefs”. All he has to do is look at and listen to another point of view. If he thinks seeing anything that is gay violates his religion, how does he walk down the street? Does he have someone checking the TV and the newspapers?

  5. Har Davids says:

    I sincerely hope his invisible pals will help him paying his mortgage, the loan on his car and other costs of living, as God will provide.

  6. sailor1031 says:

    He’d be well-advised to find a new job now and quit before they fire him.

  7. L.Long says:

    If he is so important to gawd’s plan then he should refuse to comply, quit the job, and let gawd supply his needs…bet he looses a lot of weight really fast with gawd helping him out!!!!

  8. CoastalMaineBird says:

    If you think homosexuality is a sin…

    don’t homosex !

    Otherwise, STFU.

    You’re a government employee, required to serve ALL the people.

    I’ll bet they don’t show any actual homosex in the training video.

    Even if they did, it won’t turn you into a homosexer, unless you’re EXTREMELY suggestible.

  9. CoastalMaineBird says:

    lucy1 says: “He does not have to change his mind, think anything different, do anything different”
    That’s the definition of religion: having someone else tell you the rules.

  10. Marcus says:

    Barry, you missed out on a more appropriate heading:
    “Diversity video makes Christian tub of lard blubber”

  11. barriejohn says:

    He’s making a great sacrifice for his faith. That proves that his faith is true.

  12. Vanity Unfair says:

    “Part of his problem, he said, is that viewing the video is mandatory, something he doesn’t remember the agency doing with other training videos in the past. ”

    I think he has a point. If learning how to do your job properly is not mandatory then learning how to to your job properly for a defined portion of your clients is discriminatory. Perhaps he should be allowed to continue to do his job badly for everybody then he can be dismissed for incompetence and nobody would ever know that he is an intolerant incompetent.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Have you heard of the Manhattan Declaration, signed by many American religious leaders, like James Dobson and Cardinal Dolan? It encourages civil disobedience over issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Declaration:_A_Call_of_Christian_Conscience

    Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required. There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself.

  14. John the Drunkard says:

    Why did this mook choose to accept employment in the government of a secular democracy in the first place?

    Of course, I’m guessing that the ‘training film’ will be some embarrassing tripe anyway. But don’t forget, these people WANT to feel persecuted, it confirms their ‘end times’ script. Hence the absurd lengths to which so many of them are willing to go to in order to claim martyrdom.

  15. Brian Jordan says:

    The man’s just a posturing idiot. Even by his own lights, surely “know thine enemy” applies, even if it doesn’t extend to “give him bread to eat”.

  16. Michael Glass says:

    How can this man determine that the training video is against his faith, sight unseen? Surely a better way would be to go to the training session. If he found anything that he deemed objectionable he could then comment from a position where at least he know what he was talking about.

  17. CoastalMaineBird says:

    How can this man determine that the training video is against his faith, sight unseen?

    Cuz Gawd done told him.