Ford drives off Christian employee for gay beliefs

by Karen L. Willoughby, | SHOT

DEARBORN, Michigan (Christian Examiner) – Promoting homosexuality disrupts the workplace, benefits no one, and is an assault on Christians and morality, a Ford employee wrote in response to an online newsletter his employer produced last July.

Two weeks later he was terminated.

Thomas Banks, a contract employee, saw the newsletter celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ford Globe, an employee resource group at Ford Motor Company created for its "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered individuals and allies."

The organization is open to hourly, salaried, retiree and agency employees and subsidiaries and affiliates, according to the group's website. It uses Ford Motor Company's distinctive logo, but instead of the company's solid blue color, the Ford globe is painted in the colors of the rainbow.

The newsletter invited comments, so Banks, a design-and-release engineer hired as a contractor, responded bluntly.

Ford "should be thoroughly ashamed," Banks wrote, according to the complaint he filed Jan. 28 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission through his legal counsel, Liberty Institute.

They charged Ford Motor Company and Rapid Global Business Solutions Inc., a staffing firm that contracted with Ford for Banks' services the last three years, with "unlawful religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which expressly prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of their religion," according to a press release from Liberty Institute.

"Endorsing and promoting sodomy is of benefit to no one," Banks continued in his comment to the newsletter, which was posted online and which provided his full name and address. "This topic is disruptive to the workplace and is an assault on Christians and morality, as well as antithetical to our design and our survival.

"Immoral sexual conduct should not be a topic for an automotive manufacturer to endorse or promote," Banks continued in his comment. "And yes – this is historic – but not in a good way. Never in the history of mankind has a culture survived that promotes sodomy. Heterosexual behavior creates life – homosexual behavior leads to death."

A couple of weeks after he commented, Banks received an email from a Ford Human Resources representative, asking to meet with him to "discuss something that was brought to my attention," according to Liberty Institute.

When they met, the Ford HR representative told Banks he may have violated Ford's Anti-harassment Directive B110, which lists "sexual orientation" among attributes protected from employee harassment.

"All she asked me was, 'did I write this comment' that they didn't like and I said I did," Banks told The Blaze.

Banks said he received a voicemail later that night informing him that he had been terminated.

Banks was stunned. He also received an email from the contracting agency that said he had violated its policies as well.

Regardless of the unexpected fallout from his comment, "I felt like I had to do it," Banks said. "I couldn't be a coward."

Banks told The Blaze he is fighting the firing to help protect peoples' religious freedom.

"They talk about tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness, but apparently that doesn't include people of faith," Banks said of Ford.

Hiram Sasser, director of Litigation at Liberty Institute, said people of faith should take note.

"We are shocked that Ford Motor Company would terminate one of their employees simply because he expressed his faith," Sasser said. "If Ford is allowed to get away with firing Mr. Banks over this comment, we fear that every person of faith will be punished for talking about his or her faith in the workplace."

In related news, the former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran says he was fired for writing a book expressing his Christian faith. He filed an EEOC complaint Jan. 19 alleging he had been discriminated against because of his religion.

Cochran's attorney Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom threatened the former fire chief's reputation would be destroyed should be file a lawsuit.

"American's are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of losing their jobs because of their beliefs and thoughts," Tedesco said.