Help Wanted: Where is a Christian Supposed to Work?
The work environment for Christians seems to be increasingly hostile. The accounts of people being refused a job for being Christian, of even fired for adhering to their religious convictions is becoming more frequent.
If this trend continues where will Christians be able to work where they can provide for their families while living according to their faith?
This problem involves more than just high-profile Christians such as Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. When liberals and homosexual activists tried to get him fired from the hit A&E show for stating his biblical convictions regarding marriage and homosexuality, they failed. The fact that they tried is the disconcerting part.
But the “gay mafia,” as they have been called recently, succeeded in getting Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich removed from his position as a result of his contribution to the Prop 8 campaign six years ago. While it’s true that he was not fired, per se, those calling for his resignation did so on the basis of his belief in traditional marriage. The pressure was created as a result of his personal view on marriage and had nothing to do with how he treated people, did his job, or anything related to Mozilla.
But look at some other cases of Christians being fired for their religious convictions.
ESPN analyst Craig James was hired, then fired, by ESPN after James’ comments on marriage and same-sex “marriage” were revealed to the sports network. James made the comments while running for office in Texas. After not being elected he sought to get back into sports and was hired by ESPN. After the network was made aware of his comments they promptly fired him. James is suing ESPN and is now working for the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.
A Christian nursery worker in the U.K., Sarah Mbuyi, was fired after sharing her Christian convictions regarding homosexuality with a colleague. The colleague initiated the conversation with Mbuyi, and inquired about homosexuality and the Christian faith. When Mbuyi answered the questions and shared her biblical beliefs she was fired.
A middle school teacher in Ohio was fired for questioning evolution and refusing to remove religious books from his classroom. John Freshwater was accused of insubordination and ultimately fired, a decision upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court, for his actions.
And how could we forget the Benham brothers? These brothers were scheduled to host a show for HGTV about house flipping. The show was already being taped when a liberal organization made HGTV aware of the Benham brothers’ religious convictions. HGTV then decided to cancel the show, effectively firing the brothers. The Benham brothers responded in an appropriately Christian way by making clear that they don’t hate anyone but that they are first and foremost Christians that seek to live according to their beliefs.
My question is this: where is a Christian supposed to work?
Many Christians, like me, see their work as an extension of their faith. They don’t merely work to work; they work in order to share the Gospel with others. We do not, cannot separate our faith from any aspect of our lives. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, “Well, its Tuesday so today I am just Bob the plumber, not Bob the Christian.”
Instead, we seek to live out our faith in every phase of our life, including our job. For many Christians, work is not a job, it’s an extension of our Christian identity; the mission field God has placed us in to share Jesus with others.
And like the nursery worker in the U.K., we pray for opportunities to share biblical truth with the people we encounter. So when a colleague comes asking questions about the Bible and homosexuality we see that as an opportunity to share biblical truth. And, as I understand the Constitution, my biblical beliefs and speech are protected, even when I am at work. (Of course the Constitution doesn’t apply to the U.K. but the scenario is still applicable.)
It appears to me that those seeking to redefine marriage, and those that oppose faith, are creating a hostile work environment for Christians. The choice is clear: choose between your job and your faith.
There seems to be an effort to force Christians into silent support for what the Bible calls sin. If society cannot pressure us into willingly supporting homosexuality and other immoralities, it will threaten us with the loss of our livelihood. You will either conform and support or you will lose your job. The choice might be better stated as: choose between silent condoning of sin and your faith.
For many Christians this will be a defining moment. For those that believe they are called to a particular vocation and see it is as a mission field, this will be a tough climate. On the one hand you feel compelled to share your faith and insert truth into a lost world; on the other hand you need a job. Whereas making such a choice was once inconceivable, it is now a very real decision for many.
Will Christians silently condone sin while keeping their jobs or speak truth into our culture and risk losing it all? That is the choice that previous attempts to stay silent have created for Christians. So, will we continue our silent campaign?