Michael Gaynor
July 22, 2005
Boycott Allstate before it's too late!
By Michael Gaynor

Allstate claims: "You're in good hands with Allstate."

That depends upon why you are.

If you are a practicing homosexual who wants Christians and Jews who believe homosexual acts are sinful to be punished for saying so, Allstate is pandering to you.

If you are one of the many Christians and Jews who believe that practicing homosexuality is sinful and warning against sin is good, not bad, then DO NOT PATRONIZE ALLSTATE!

J. Matt Barber is a non-practicing attorney, an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer (Matt "Bam Bam" Barber), and a jazz drummer. He received a Law Degree and a Master of Arts in Public Policy. He is a contributor to www.starrjournal.com, Contributing Editor of www.TheConservativeVoice.com, and a Contributor to the Washington Times "Insight Magazine," as well as a number of other conservative publications.

For five years Barber WAS a manager with Allstate, the insurance giant and Fortune 500 company, at the company's headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois in the Corporate Security Division, its investigative arm.

Until Allstate, which financially supports homosexual advocacy groups, fired him after he wrote a column posted on several websites that was critical of same-sex marriage and espoused his Christian beliefs.

The column at issue was written and posted in December.

On January 31, 2005, Barber was called into a meeting with two human resources officials. Barber reports that one of them "slapped down" a printed copy of the column in front of him and asked if he had written it. Barber confirmed he had written it and noted that he had done so on his own time, at his home and on his own computer.

Barber further reports that he was told, "Here at Allstate we have a very diverse community"; that the human resources assistant vice president told him the column did not reflect Allstate's view and that he was suspended with pay; and that he was immediately ushered off company grounds "which was humiliating."

As Barber put it: "I explained to Allstate that the article was a reflection of my personal Christian beliefs, and that I had every right to both write it and to have it published. I further explained that I had written the article while at home on my own time, that I never mentioned Allstate's name and that I neither directly nor indirectly suggested that Allstate shared my Christian beliefs or my views on same-sex marriage."

BUT, three days later, Barber, who had worked for Allstate for five years, was fired "for writing the article."

With the help of the Christian Law Association and David Gibbs III, who represented Terri Schiavo's family in the final weeks of her life, Barber is challenging Allstate in federal court.

According to an investigation by the State of Illinois' Department of Employment Security related to Barber's claim for unemployment benefits, an organization likely a "gay"-rights group complained to Allstate about the column.

Apparently because one site that posted the column, MensNewsDaily.com, added to the bio line on the article the undisputed fact that Barber worked for Allstate.

According to Barber. he did not include that fact in the original column submission but the site "disclosed that without [his] knowledge or consent."

Barber emphasized to the unemployment office that he did not intend for the affiliation to be included in the bio.

Allstate argued that Barber should not be given unemployment.

Upon investigation, the unemployment office found for Barber and ruled that he was entitled to the money, stating: "The claimant was discharged from Allstate Insurance Company because an outside organization had complained about an article he had written while on his own time."

Allstate's misconduct defense was rejected: "The term misconduct means the deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy of the employer. ... In this case, the claimant's action which resulted in his discharge was not deliberate and willful."

Barber dared to oppose what is oxymoronically called "same-sex marriage" and to opine that homosexuality is "a violation of 'natural law."

Barber wrote: "Marriage between one man and one woman, and the nuclear family have forever been cornerstones of civilized society. Regrettably, there are at present, many within the militant homosexual lobby who wish to take a sledge hammer to those cornerstones many who hope to undermine both the historical and contemporary reality of marriage and family many who, through judicial fiat, aim to circumvent the Constitution, the legislative process, and the overwhelming will of the people in an effort to redefine marriage. Accordingly, the unsolicited, oxymoronic and spurious expression 'same-sex marriage' has been forced into popular lexicon."

Pope John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict XVI agree with him.

Fortunately, neither ever wanted to work for Allstate.

Allstate has a decidedly "pro-homosexual" philosophy, requiring employees to undergo "diversity training" and offering domestic partnership benefits. That training, Barber says, "is really indoctrination hostile toward thousands of employees' Christian beliefs."

Allstate's foundation has donated money to homosexual-advocacy organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund. An Allstate foundation notice states that funds are given to "nonprofit organizations that are related to tolerance, diversity and inclusion."

Barber says he hopes consumers who hold traditional values will stop patronizing Allstate.

SO DO I!

Addressing those who hold traditional values, Barber said: "You are helping to support an organization that brazenly and illegally discriminates against religious employees who do not blindly and silently toe the extremist, liberal line on official company policy policy that is not just overtly pro-homosexual, but is demonstrably anti-family."

David Gibbs, Barber's attorney, focused on the broader problem: "To have Fortune 100 companies like Allstate firing people for expressing their sincerely held religious beliefs and even their personal viewpoints on their own time demonstrates just how out of kilter things have gotten."

As well as Allstate in particular. "Allstate aggressively pushes and promotes the homosexual agenda in the name of tolerance, but the minute someone speaks up with what would be considered the traditional moral-values viewpoint, the tolerance disappears and it results in a termination."

Gibbs doubts that Allstate would take the same action against someone who put forth a pro-homosexual viewpoint and declares that such discriminatory action violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: "The law was intended to make sure people of faith didn't have to leave their religion or viewpoints at the workplace stairs."

Gibbs compared the situation to that of racial discrimination: "Just like Allstate can't go in and say, 'We've discovered your ethnicity and we're going to fire you,' I don't believe Allstate should be able to go in and say, 'We've discovered your anti-homosexuality viewpoint and we're going to fire you.'"

Barber's complaint claims Barber was "terminated from his employment and discriminated against by Defendants, with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because he expressed during non-work hours his sincerely held religious beliefs."

Allstate may have had a second reason for terminating Barber, but it hardly would suffice as justification.

On a 2003 business trip to Lisbon, Portugal, that Barber took to attend the annual Chairman's Conference with hundreds of other Allstate employees, Barber reportedly witnessed his boss' boss, Ben Tarver, assistant vice president for corporate security, "engaging in various public displays of affection with a young female physician who had been hired by Allstate to serve as the on-call physician for the conference team." Following Barber's report of the assistant vice president's alleged behavior to his immediate supervisor, Barber reports that Tarver began harassing him and treating him in an "abusive manner." Barber eventually filed a sexual harassment/retaliation complaint against Tarver with the human resources Department at Allstate. Barber explained: "It made me very uncomfortable, especially because we investigate sexual harassment."

Barber believes that his whistleblower action was a motive in his being fired and that Allstate officials were looking for a reason to terminate him. He doubts that it was sheer coincidence that the very people to whom he had reported Tarver's alleged misconduct confronted him about his online article.

Allstate's sensitivity to homosexual prejudice and pressure was not matched by any consideration for the needs of a pro-life family.

The eloquent Barber explained it this way:

"To add insult to injury, about two weeks before I was fired, my wife, Sarah, and I delivered our third child in four years following a highly stressful at-risk pregnancy. Allstate was fully aware of our new arrival and that Sarah was still recovering from her C-section surgery when they callously snatched away both our medical insurance and our means of providing for our young family."

Barber, a boxer, seems to have been fouled, but not knocked out: "All of this notwithstanding, my personal faith and optimism remain intact. I always knew that people were persecuted in the workplace for their religious beliefs, but I never imagined it would happen to my family and me. We're losing our home, and we may be forced into bankruptcy; but I know that somehow, God will provide. I believe it's crucial to take a stand for truth, even if that stand results in suffering in the short term."

Thousands of e-mails are pouring into Allstate after the American Family Association yesterday informed its supporters of Barber's lawsuit.

Make Allstate repent! Or pay dearly for its sins!

One proposed e-mail to Allstate: "Dear Allstate and Chairman Liddy, Just a note to let you know I will not be purchasing any insurance from Allstate. You are free to push the homosexual agenda and punish Christians, but I am free to not buy insurance from you. When you reinstate Matt Barber with an apology and back pay, I might reconsider purchasing insurance from Allstate."

I like it!

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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