David Hall, an employee at the Social Security Administration office in Champaign, Illinois, is refusing to watch a workplace diversity video about LGBT inclusion (video below).
"If I have to choose between Almighty God and Social Security and the federal government, believe you me, Jesus Christ wins out," Hall told WCIA.
Hall, who is expecting to be fired, insisted that watching the video violates his religious freedom as a Christian.
"You can't be any more sorta Christian than you can be sorta pregnant," Hall added.
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Hall is refusing to sign a document that certifies he has watched the video about serving taxpayers, who are LGBT, with the government services that they are entitled to.
"They wanted me to certify that I had completed the training," Hall stated. "I'm not going to certify sin. I'm not going to certify an abomination."
Hall's job is in IT, not dealing directly with the public, but he refused to watch the video on June 2 and June 24. Hall was reprimanded, and suspended without pay on Aug. 15-16, notes the News-Gazette.
According to Hall, he asked for a religious accommodation regarding the training, but was denied.
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Hall said that his supervisor told him that he can expect more discipline, possibly a longer no-pay suspension.
While Hall called homosexuality a "sin" and an "abomination" during his interview with WCIA, he told The News-Gazette: "I'm not judging the LGBT community ... But I believe tolerance is a two-way street. Unfortunately, I believe they're wrong. But neither of us should lose our jobs or livelihood for our beliefs."
"My complaint is more with the fact that it was mandatory," Hall told WCIA. "We have never done that for another particular class of people. This is the only group of individuals that we've done it for. We haven't had mandatory training for veterans, the disabled, blacks, Hispanics, or anything else."
Stephanie Skora, president of the county's UP Center, an LGBT agency for social services, countered: "Well, my response to him would probably be quite a lengthy lecture on the historical implications of being queer and accessing social services."
"I would argue that it's not a training video," Hall stated. "It's promoting an agenda and a lifestyle that I simply don't agree with."
When the WCIA reporter asked Hall how he would know about the content on a video that he hasn't watched, Hall refused to answer and asked the reporter to prove a negative.
"And how do you know that it's not, that it's just prompting awareness?" Hall said. "I don't need to certify training to be culturally aware. What am I being aware of? It's a political agenda. It's not a training video. I treat a human being the same way I would want to be treated."
"If that's the case," Skora stated. "Then he shouldn't have any problem watching the video, knowing that, as much as he may ... disagree with its content, he will be treating everybody equitably at the end of the video just as he would at the start of the video."
Hall, who has hired a lawyer to fight the issue of the LGBT video, insisted that he has LGBT friends and family, and has "no animosity towards anyone."
The regional Social Security office issued a statement:
This mandatory video training reminds our employees of their responsibility, as representatives of the agency, to provide the highest levels of service to our customers ... The training includes a brief session on tips for increasing cultural awareness in a diverse and inclusive environment. We are unable to comment on specific personnel matters.