When Mozilla Firefox’s CEO was forced recently to leave the company because of the uproar created by gay and lesbian lobby groups because of his Christian belief in the institution of marriage, a whole new type of persecution against Christians in the West was opened up.
The Rise and Fall of Mozilla’s CEO
In 2008 Mr. Brendan Eich (“Mr Eich”) donated $1000 of his own money and in his personal capacity, to a Christian lobby group who were fighting to keep marriage as a God ordained institution between a man and a woman.
Recently Mr. Eich was promoted to CEO of Mozilla, one of the largest international software development companies. Soon after his promotion, gay and lesbian lobby groups began to create uproar on the internet to make an example of Mr. Eich and called for an international boycott of those using Mozilla as a search engine. Shockingly, this was because he had acted on his Christian beliefs six years prior to being appointed CEO of Mozilla! The boycott obviously radically affected the share prices of Mozilla, and some websites even refused access to their homepage for users logging in with Mozilla. (See the news article on this here).
The goal was always to make an example of Mr. Eich and finally under increased pressure, he has now resigned from the company and is without work.
What this Means for Christians in the Marketplace
While to many Christians this may seem sad, detached and seemingly unable to affect them, we need to take cognisance of what this will do to all Christians in the marketplace, anywhere in the Western world. Make no mistake, Mr. Eich’s resignation will affect every one of us as Christians – it will cost Christians jobs and promotions, and will seriously open the door for marginalisation and discrimination in the marketplace.
In response to the situation, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson has warned that in future the onus will need to be “on the corporation and its board to assess whether anything that the candidate [applying for a job or promotion] has done or said in the past will adversely affect the company’s reputation.”
What this effectively means, is that even what Christians do in their private capacity outside of working hours, must now also be taken into consideration by employers. This means that being a part of a church that holds to a belief that is no longer popular in mainstream secular thinking, or giving money to an organisation to fight for Christian rights, or being outspoken about your Christian beliefs (which are now seen to be bigoted, narrow-minded or anti-equality) will potentially cause Christians not to be considered for jobs or promotions, as companies become increasingly concerned about coming under public scrutiny because of the people they associate with or hire.
In South Africa recently, a Christian wedding planner who decided not to make her services available to a lesbian couple because of conscience, has found her business suffering as gay and lesbian lobby groups have applied pressure on her suppliers and warned them to publicly break ties with her because of her Christian beliefs. Because of her Christian beliefs, advertising agencies have withdrawn their advertising and she has been removed from a number of advertising platforms. Likewise, in the USA, numerous Christians have been forced to close their businesses as suppliers and customers have disapproved of their Christian beliefs and called for boycotts of their businesses.
The many such examples that are happening now at an alarming rate, are of great concern. When Christians apply for jobs in future, their Christianity may well be held against them. Job applicants should not be surprised when in job interviews they are asked whether they hold to the doctrines of Christ. If they respond that Jesus is Lord of their lives, these same people may find themselves marginalised, without work, unemployable and unable to do business because of their personal and private beliefs that they hold to outside of working hours.
If ever there was a time for Christians to wake up and begin to fight for our freedoms, it is now. Christian persecution and a real threat to our religious freedom is upon us. If we do not rally together, stand up against it and speak out with one powerful voice, we will soon find ourselves without our freedom to believe, teach and live out the Word of God in its entirety and according to our interpretation of the Bible, to the glory of God.
Together and with God for us, we can make a difference.
CEO & Founder of FOR SA