Does a Christian employee, on his own personal time, have the freedom to write an article that is critical of homosexual marriage without facing the threat of being fired from his job? Apparently not if you work for the Allstate Insurance Company.
Thats the allegation of J. Matt Barber, who last December was working as a manager in Allstates Corporate Security Division at the companys headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. Writing for a conservative Internet site during off-hours, Barber wrote a column that argued against gay marriage from a Christian perspective.
According to WorldNetDaily, Barber claims he was summoned on January 31 for a meeting with company officials, one of whom "slapped down" a hard copy of his Internet column. When asked if he wrote the piece, Barber replied in the affirmative but stressed that it was written on his own personal time and at home on his own computer.
Told that the column was not representative of the companys viewpoint, Barber was suspended from his job and immediately escorted off the premises. Three days later, he was fired.
Barber has filed a federal lawsuit against Allstate, and according to his attorney, Matt Davis, the case has grave implications for religious freedom in corporate America.
"It would be one thing if you had a manager disseminating this kind of information to his employees and misusing the company systems or somehow on company time espousing views that they dont agree with. That would be one thing," Davis said. "But here were talking about a guy on his home computer who takes a position from the Bible that he believes, and the company reaching into his living room and saying, We dont agree with that youre outta here."
Allstate has been a strong supporter of gay and lesbian groups in the past. For example, the company gave $10,000 to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a homosexual organization which promotes homosexual marriage; $5,000 to the Indiana University Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services; and $15,000 to the Gay & Lesbian Center in Los Angeles.
In addition, Allstate was recently listed by Diversity Inc. in its "Top 10 Companies for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees." Joining Allstate on that list were such household names as Eastman Kodak, Ford Motor Company, Citigroup, PepsiCo, Merck and Company, and the Coca-Cola Company.
AFA Chairman Don Wildmon said Christians need to make their views known to the company and, if they are insured through the company, to their Allstate agent. "Most Allstate agents are well-respected members of their communities. Some of them probably had no knowledge of Allstates promotion of the homosexual agenda," he said. "When you tell your agent what their company is up to, ask that agent to contact Allstate and ask Allstate to stop supporting homosexual advocacy groups."