CHARLOTTE — North Carolina-based LGBT advocacy group Faith in America is criticizing Cisco Systems and Charlotte-based Bank of America for their decision to rehire an anti-gay activist known for his extremist views on LGBT people.
Earlier this year, Christian author and apologist Frank Turek received notice that his contract with the two companies would not be renewed after the companies received complaints from employees regarding Turek’s anti-gay views and activism. Turek had worked to coordinate the companies’ leadership and team-building programs.
Turek later teamed up with the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and their new Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance. In videos posted to NOM’s site and in action alerts emailed to supporters, Turek claimed he had been discriminated against solely because of his views on marriage.
The two companies finally gave way to Turek and the National Organization for Marriage last month.
“We want these two companies, who have been recognized as LGBT-friendly, to rethink their evaluation of Frank Turek,” Faith in America Executive Director Brent Childers said in a release on Wednesday. “Specifically, we want Bank of America and CISCO to publicly denounce the unique and very harmful stigma and hostility that Frank Turek endorses and promotes. This is not about Frank Turek’s opposition to gay rights. It is about his opposition to gay people.”
Childers said Turek’s actions are an “expression of religion-based bigotry” and are “uniquely harmful to LGBT youth.” The organization cites several of Turek’s more extreme statements. According to the group, Turek said at a 2009 meeting in Hickory that parents who accepted an HIV-positive man’s sexual orientation were partly responsible for the man’s later death from AIDS. The same year, Turek told The Layman magazine, “You should not be for homosexuality if you are a rational reasonable person” and that parents don’t love their gay children unless they reject them. Speaking of parents who accepted their gay son, Turek said, “I think that was unloving.”
Faith in America wants Bank of America and Cisco to denounce Turek’s brand of anti-LGBT bigotry.
“We sincerely hope Bank of America and CISCO will publicly conclude that his religion-based bigotry toward LGBT people is not in good standing with corporate philosophy or their sense of human decency,” Childers said.
The group said it is ironic that Bank of America continues to employ Turek despite its LGBT-friendly reputation. Additionally, according to the group, the bank was chosen to host the memorial account for 18-year-old Tennessean Jacob Rogers, who committed suicide last week after years of anti-gay bullying.
“We have been in schools and have talked to teachers and guidance counselors across the country and we’ve talked to innumerable LGBT youth who have told us that kids think it is OK to persecute their LGBT peers because of a social climate that gives a moral and religious nod to such stigma and hostility,” Childers concluded. “That is what Frank Turek promotes in his writing and at speaking engagements in the public square, including churches. We sincerely hope Bank of America and CISCO will acknowledge the harm this causes to LGBT youth and families and publicly denounce it.”