Ask the White Guy: Homophobes Shouldn't Hide Behind Religion

The White Guy responds to a reader's comment and clarifies some points made in his previous post, "Are Traditional Christian Values Part of Diversity?"

Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


The White Guy responds to a reader's comment and clarifies some points made in his previous post, "Are Traditional Christian Values Part of Diversity?"

Question:

I am a Christian in the workplace and I have some concern in reading through your article. Your assumption is that in a "Christian" view, my moral belief that homosexuality is wrong implies that I would "oppress" gays in the workplace. In my Christian view, homosexuality is a sin, yet we hate the sin, not the sinner. I would no more oppress a homosexual than I would a person who takes God's name in vain, drinks in excess, is hateful toward others, or a list of many other things that we all can be guilty of at times. You are right that if someone denies job opportunity based on this reason, it is wrong. My problem with the article is the assumption is gay is wrong in the Christian eye, so Christians do not like the person, therefore Christians will oppress the person and therefore the Christian is not entitled to be considered a diverse group in terms of diversity. I take my walk with God serious [sic] and no part of it involves judging others. That is God's role. I think you need to offer your readers a more "diverse" viewpoint with less assumptions when writing a "diversity" article about not making assumptions.

Answer:

I do not assume that Christianity is connected to homophobia, nor is that sentiment in my column. Further, you are incorrect to say that my column infers that "gay is wrong in the Christian eye." I don't make that inference and that assumption is not expressed in my column. In fact, the only place "Christian" is in that column is in the first sentence, where I wrote, "It depends on your definition of 'traditional, conservative' and 'Christian' views."

The point is that any individual may describe things or hold opinions in the way they wish. There is, however, no magic modifier ("Christian" or "American" or "traditional") that eliminates the repercussion of expressing values that are contrary to your employer or customer. For example, you can define yourself as a "traditional" accountant who believes it's acceptable to embezzle during the weekends. Most employers would fire you on the spot.

As far as Christianity and homophobia, the facts are clear: There is no connection between the majority of American Christians and homophobia. According to Pew Research, roughly 77 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian, and more than half of all Americans support civil unions for same-sex couples. Although the data is from two Pew studies, I think it's safe to conclude that most heterosexual Christians are either tolerant or completely accepting of gays and lesbians.

However, it is also a fact that most prominent gay-bashers are self-described Christians. Mass media and web celebrities such as James Dobson, Rod Parsley and Peter LaBarbera make a living off of whipping up hate and oppression. I will point out that other religions also use gay hate as a way to motivate their followers; however, most of the bile-filled invective against LGBT people that comes to this publication is from people who describe themselves as "Christian."

Hate drives absolutes. The person who sent me the original comment wrote, "I disagree with your viewpoint on almost every topic covered in your publication." In my opinion, inclusion and tolerance--as well as opposition to racism, classism, sexism, ageism, etc.--are consistent with "traditional" Christian views. They are also consistent with the majority of our coverage. Therefore, it's not a huge leap for me to believe the reader is almost certainly a homophobe and hiding behind Christianity to express his hate as if that were appropriate or effective.

I don't have to offer my readers a counterpoint to total acceptance of LGBT people exactly the way they are. There is no "except for" when it comes to diversity in the opinion of this publication.

REUTERS

Twenty-one white people (including seven male board members and CEO Steve Simon) of a total of 22 people in the World Tennis Association's (WTA) management made the call to boot Serena Williams from seeding for the French Open for having a baby.

Read More Show Less

Vickers "Vic" Cunningham, a former Dallas judge who's running in the Republican primary runoff election for Dallas county commissioner on Tuesday, decided to provide his children a monetary incentive to condone homophobia and racism. Cunningham set up a living trust with a clause rewarding his children if they marry a white, straight Christian.

Read More Show Less

Two Different Cups of Joe: How The Coffee Bean and Starbucks Handled Racism

In an age of increasing racial confrontations, a business must have zero tolerance for discrimination.

In the Trump era, there has been a proliferation of Islamophobic and racist incidents across the country. When discrimination occurs at a place of business, it's apparent if the company's leadership and workforce support diversity and inclusion. A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf café barista refused to serve a racist customer; meanwhile, a white manager at a Starbucks called the police on two Black men for no reason.

Read More Show Less

Maxine Waters Attacked in Congress as she Sought to Protect People from Predators in the Auto Loan Industry

Racist smears and whitesplaining from "men." What's behind the vitriol? If racism is ignored by victims, does it go away?

On Friday, Reps. Mike Kelly and Maxine Waters debated over the House voting to roll back a Consumer Financial Protections Bureau rule meant to limit discrimination in distributing auto loans. Studies have shown Blacks and Latinos have systemically been charged a higher markup on auto loans than white borrowers, and class action lawsuits were brought against auto lenders as a result. Waters advocated for another look at how this vote would impact auto loan practices with people of color. But those on the right insist talk of discrimination is steering away from the country being unified.

Read More Show Less

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Executives from Nielsen, New York Life, TIAA and Toyota Motor North America talk about communicating their commitment to D&I management and backing it up with actions that get results.

At the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 event, more than 400 people were in attendance during the day to hear best practices on effectively managing diversity and inclusion.

Moderator: Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

Panelists:

  • Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen
  • Kathleen Navarro, VP & Chief Diversity Officer, New York Life
  • Steve Larson, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, TIAA
  • Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America