Man Fired By American Red Cross For Not Celebrating Homosexuality
By Lindsey Douthit
August 4, 2005
Forward courtesy of Chief David <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Red Cross even has Corporate Diversity committees that oversee the implementation of a "diversity code."
The American Red Cross fired an employee, Michael Hartman, for expressing his disagreement with homosexuality.
Hartman had been a volunteer and donor for the Red Cross for over 30 years when he became an employee at the San Diego, California, center. He had been there for about eight months when, in the latter part of May 2005, a mass e-mail was sent to employees reminding everyone that June was Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and employees were encouraged to "observe" the celebration.
The e-mail, distributed by Chief Diversity Officer David Wilkins, stated, "It is my pleasure to announce that June will be recognized as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month at national headquarters.It is only fitting that we reinforce our organization's commitment to inclusion.by recognizing this important group and celebrating the many accomplishments they have made to our organization.I'd like to take this opportunity during the month of June to encourage field units to extend their reach into gay and lesbian communities."
As a Christian, Hartman was concerned by the e-mail and expressed his sentiments to his female supervisor, "who did not care." He then e-mailed several head administrators, who immediately called him into the Red Cross regional center in Pomona, California. Hartman was reprimanded and told that his e-mail was "not appropriate." The "inappropriate" e-mail that Hartman sent contained the following statements:
"I would like to start by stating that I am a Christian not willing to compromise my beliefs to promote the agenda of the homosexual community. I would also like to say that I think it's disgraceful that while most of us [at the Red Cross] are trying to save lives, a select few are using this organization to promote their own lifestyles which in my opinion are unacceptable." (emphasis added).
Hartman went on to say that if anyone reading his e-mail "is personally involved in this lifestyle.I think it's important that you know I have nothing against you as a person but the life you've chosen to live." He added Bible verses including Galatians 6:7 and Joshua 24:15.
After being reprimanded, Hartman took a week off of work because his mother, a U.S. Marine, had passed away. When he returned to the office, he noticed that Gay and Lesbian Pride posters were placed all over the office. In a later e-mail to the Pacific Justice Institute, an organization that Hartman contacted after his termination, he wrote, "One of my primary jobs is recruiting and promoting the Red Cross. Under the present circumstances I cannot promote something that harbors and encourages this sexual cancer, that we all know is eroding our society."
Convicted that he had to take action, Hartman "prayed about it" and put together an e-mail to the Southern California region of the Red Cross. In the e-mail, he reiterated, "I respect and value your opinions" but added, "as you explained to me, celebrating homosexual pride month is consistent with our recognition of Black History Month, Women's History Month, Older Americans Month, and Asian Pacific Islanders Heritage Month.I'm still struggling to see a correlation between celebrating Great Americans and celebrating a sexual preference."
He also suggested that since the Red Cross is "such a diversified organization," perhaps it should hold a Christian celebration. He was put on "administrative leave" from work and called into another meeting with administrators. James Hartline, an ex-homosexual who is now a Christian conservative activist, went with Hartman to the meeting to serve as a form of representation. The administrators refused to see Hartman unless he was by himself, and when he insisted upon having counsel at the meeting, he was dismissed and told that they would "reschedule" a time to speak with him. Two days later, he received his termination notice.
Hartman has experienced an intensely difficult year - two years ago, he lost all of his belongings in the California wildfires, and he recently lost his mother. A Sunday School teacher and father of three daughters, he said, "I realize what I'm up against, but I'll go the distance.So many have a complacent attitude, and our kids are facing the consequences."
He plans to seek help from Christian legal groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund. Unfortunately, Hartman's legal options may be limited, as the Red Cross is a privately funded organization and may therefore exert its own prerogative in these matters.
The Red Cross even has its own body of Corporate Diversity committees that oversees the implementation of a "diversity code" for the organization. Employees must participate in "diversity training" seminars, and they are subject to the "diversity vision" of the Red Cross that includes "sexual orientation" on the list of "communities we serve."
"We are seeing an alarming double standard emerging in corporations and nonprofits," said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute. "If you are not in a specially protected group, you don't get the same consideration. More and more, Christians are being harshly disciplined or even fired for actions that would bring a slap on the wrist to a homosexual activist or feminist."
It is important that Christians are alerted to this unfortunate situation. Many Christians give money or support to the American Red Cross without ever realizing that the organization openly promotes homosexuality.
In the words of Michael Hartman, "If the public knew what was going on within the Red Cross I have no doubt their unselfish support would screech to a halt."
Lindsey Douthit is a Ronald Reagan Memorial Intern with Concerned Women for America. She interviewed Michael Hartman over the phone on July 29, 2005. A representative for the Red Cross could not be reached for comment.
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