Thursday, August 18, 2005

MSM finally covers the Matt Barber story: Conservative writer fired by Allstate

This story has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a few months, a few online publications have written about it, as has at least one community paper (the Northbrook Star), but as is usually is the case, the mainstream media is behind the curve.

Matt Barber writes occasionally for various conservative journals such as The American Thinker. Last December, he wrote an essay critical of gay marriage. It was written at home on his own computer on his own time. But since Allstate supports "diversity," this, apparently, was too much for the insurance giant to handle. They fired him.

Allstate's side of the story, is of course different. But Matt's explanation passes the Occam's Razor test, or at least I think so.

This morning's Chicago Tribune has an article about the Matt Barber case. Here is an excerpt, free registration is required:

J. Matt Barber, a born-again Christian from Villa Park, hoped to get some reaction in December when he wrote a fiery online essay denouncing same-sex marriage and the "destructive nature ... of the homosexual lifestyle."

But the strongest response, Barber said, came from his employers at Allstate Corp. He said two supervisors slapped the article down in front of him, told him he was suspended without pay and had him escorted from the company grounds in Northbrook.

"I'm thinking, `What business is this of yours?'" said Barber, 36, who had worked for Allstate for five years, mostly in corporate security. "This is something I did on my own time. This was my own viewpoint. ... [One supervisor] said, `Well, you know, here at Allstate we have a very diverse community.'"

Allstate fired Barber three days later, setting off a dispute that shows signs of becoming the next legal cause celebre among religious conservatives. As the issue becomes a growing rallying point among conservatives, Christian groups have protested Barber's fate on Web sites and in newsletters, generating what they said are more than 240,000 e-mails and an unknown number of phone calls to Allstate.

No comments: