Mozilla CEO pressured to resign for supporting traditional marriage

Mozilla announced that its brand new CEO Brendan Eich has just resigned. All of this comes in the wake of pressure from gay rights activists who said that Eich’s support of traditional marriage rendered him unworthy of leading the company. Here’s a snippet from the statement explaining Eich’s resignation:

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.

There is a culture war being waged in this situation, but not by Eich. Eich’s views on marriage have had no impact on his performance except that opponents view his opinions as bigoted and outside the bounds of rationality. In other words, supporting traditional marriage renders one unfit to lead a major corporation.

Notice too that acceptance of gay marriage is the necessary condition of free speech at Mozilla. Yes, one can have free speech at this company as long as it does not conflict with the new orthodoxy on marriage.

Unfortunately, I expect we’ll be seeing more and more stories like this one. Activist have succeeded in equating the conjugal view of marriage with bigotry and hatred. As that point of view spreads in our culture, employers will be less and less willing to risk their company’s brand on employees who might tarnish that brand with their personal views. The effect? Those who support traditional marriage will have to conceal their views or face the consequences.

This does not portend good things, but it is an indication of things to come.

42 Responses to Mozilla CEO pressured to resign for supporting traditional marriage

  1. Scott McCauley April 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    “Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public.” So you can SHARE your beliefs and opinions in public, you just can’t continue to work here if they’re not the RIGHT beliefs and opinions.

    • Ian Shaw April 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Which is akin to “you can express your beliefs all you want inside church walls and pews, but keep them there when you leave.”

    • Jennifer Fernando April 4, 2014 at 1:27 am #

      Its a real pity.. Will the word end like what happend to sodom and gomorrah..?

  2. Ian Shaw April 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    This puts everyone on notice, including us cubicle dwellers. You must also hold your employers core values/beliefs (which is a faith called secular humanism), when you are not working or away from the office. I give money to my children’s private Christian school that teaches traditional marriage. Could I be fired for that because it is in contrast to my employer’s diversity policy?

    This is absurd. His financial contributions have no reflection on how he performs his tasks/responsibilities at his job.

    Those of us in corporate America know what “Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.” really means. He was given an ultimatum: step down or be fired. This wasn’t a 100% voluntary move for the good of the comapny on Eich’s behalf.

    Some will eventually say that supporting traditional marriage wrenders one unfit to live in public society or breathe.

    • Matt Martin April 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      About as absurd as refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding.

      • Ian Shaw April 4, 2014 at 8:07 am #

        You’re free to take your business elsewhere and put them out of business that way. Just like you are free to use a gar liberal left organization like Google for your web browser if yoiu wish.

        Stop forcing people to your secular humansim beliefs outside the workplace.

    • James Bradshaw April 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

      Ian, I work next to one of those World Net Daily readers. He’s so far to the right that he thinks Prison Planet is an accurate source of news. He makes politically incorrect statements quite frequently in a relatively liberal city. No one cares or complains. He’s funny, treats everyone with respect and is decent at his job. I think he has some ridiculous beliefs, but so what? A person is more than the sum of their beliefs.

      This is the attitude most of us have. Most of us are uninterested in running people out of their jobs because we disagree, even if they’re on some important issues. We just shake our heads and shrug it off.

      By and large, this is probably the attitude in most companies and in most industries. High profile individuals (such as CEOs) are a bit different, however. They serve as a sort of “mascot” and representative of the entire company. Unfortunately, it’s easy for them to alienate a large part of their customer base by taking a stance on highly-charged political or religious issues (even if done with their own money and on their own time). I’m not a big fan of boycotts. I don’t frankly have enough energy to keep up with which products I should be buying and which ones I should not.

      • Ian Shaw April 4, 2014 at 8:16 am #

        James, so you’re basically saying that you wouldn’t see a problem with Eich being able to keep his job and not effect his day to day responsibilities?

        I’ve worked with and for gay people before. I find it sinful, just like my own sin (granted mine’s repentant). I don’t work differently for someone because they hold different values.I don’t treat them with disrespect.

        If Mozilla held to values of diversity, that should also include evangelical Christianity. Diversity isn’t saying, “we’re open to everyone, except…..”

    • buddyglass April 4, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      “I give money to my children’s private Christian school that teaches traditional marriage. Could I be fired for that because it is in contrast to my employer’s diversity policy?”

      Yes. I’m pretty sure it’s always been that way. Religion is a protected class, but political views are not. If you were employed by the government it might be a different matter.

      “He was given an ultimatum: step down or be fired. This wasn’t a 100% voluntary move for the good of the comapny on Eich’s behalf.”

      I’m not convinced. I think Eich is personally invested in Mozilla in a way most CEOs aren’t in the companies they lead. So, if he realized that his staying in the role of CEO would have a material negative effect on Mozilla I can see him voluntarily stepping down for the good of the company. I have no idea whether that’s what actually happened, but it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me.

      Also recall that he’s a technologist at heart. The move from CTO to CEO may have been a reluctant one to begin with.

      • Ian Shaw April 4, 2014 at 10:28 am #

        He most likely gave to Prop 8 because of his religious views (noit sure 100%). So you’re saying that a monetary donation to something other than a church or a church owned organization cannot be a personal donation but a political donation?

        Say he didn’t make the donation, but was pictured at a Prop 8 rally or at a Pro-Life rally. Would he still have been fired?

        Bad press is bad press. This wasn’t like he posted something horribly offensive on his FB page. He did this in his private life. Interviews with other people in the industry said that his personal views had no impact on his ability to work and lead his company.

        If you say that what people do in their personal lives (in this case a private monetary donation), can get them fired for being contrary to the religious beliefs of a company (in this case secular humanism), then it’s open season on any employee anywhere.

        • buddyglass April 4, 2014 at 10:57 am #

          “He most likely gave to Prop 8 because of his religious views (noit sure 100%). So you’re saying that a monetary donation to something other than a church or a church owned organization cannot be a personal donation but a political donation?”

          Donating to Prop. 8 isn’t part and parcel with Christianity. That is to say, being a Christian doesn’t compel one to donate in support of Prop. 8. So firing someone for donating in support of Prop. 8 isn’t tantamount to firing them for being a Christian.

          I agree its somewhat murky, and I’m not an attorney so I can’t say with any certainty how the law would handle the case of someone who was fired for “faith-informed” political speech. I suspect that if the speech were found to be primarily political and not inherent to the faith in question that the firing would be considered to not violate discrimination laws.

          “Say he didn’t make the donation, but was pictured at a Prop 8 rally or at a Pro-Life rally. Would he still have been fired?”

          Probably.

          “If you say that what people do in their personal lives (in this case a private monetary donation), can get them fired for being contrary to the religious beliefs of a company (in this case secular humanism), then it’s open season on any employee anywhere.”

          Pretty much. An employer can’t say, “We’re firing you because you’re a Christian.” They can say, “We’re firing you because your political actions are generating bad press and affecting our bottom line.”

          • Ian Shaw April 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

            Your last line screams in the face of, “….they’ll not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. That has to apply to all people, period.

            • buddyglass April 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

              And it does. Eich was judged on the content of his character. Those doing the judging just regarded his donation in support of Prop. 8 to indicate a lack of character. You just don’t like the criteria though which “character” is likely to be judged these days.

              • Rick Wilson April 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

                I feel like part of the disconnect here is you are making libertarian political points about what is right in a secular society. I’m not disagreeing with you or even saying that free people don’t have a right to fire someone for righteousness. But our point is just to point out that this situation is wrong and bad and not helpful for the wellbeing of our culture and the advancement of the Gospel. Let’s stop talking past each other.

  3. Michael Hansen April 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Thanks for continuing to bring these types of stories to light on your blog!

    Don’t always agree with your conclusions but I am always engaged with the content.

    Keep it up!

  4. Paul Reed April 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    This is really bad news. And it’s something he did over 5 years ago. How is that relevant to his job? I really supported Brendan Eich and Mozilla, and even switched to Firefox recently because I felt God convicting me to support someone who supports marriage. I even started using Thunderbird even though I get Outlook for free, because the loss of a few software features is a small price to pay and I always ask myself what would Jesus do. I weep for what the culture will be like for our sons and daughters.

    • Ian Shaw April 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      This seems relevent- “Expect this, Jesus said to. We will be ostracized and persecuted. Take joy in sharing it because it means we are probably doing something right. “

  5. Rick Wilson April 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Does the “being called names isn’t persecution” crowd want to weigh in now?

  6. Rick Wilson April 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    We are moving quickly to a time where you will not be able to hold a high-profile position at a major company if you are a Christian. That is not overstated, and I do not think the average church-goer is prepared for this. They simply aren’t. Many are far to concerned with going to the right schools and getting the good job and looking respectable in society.

    There are many well-meaning people across the country who sincerely consider themselves Christians, but who will be unwilling to pay these kinds of prices. I am hearing many now make glib pronouncements about how this will be good for showing who the real Christians are and identifying the true Church (and I agree with those conclusions).

    However, it is very important that in these next few years we dedicate ourselves to strengthening and encouraging the sheep entrusted to us so that they will be willing to pay the prices our culture will demand for following Jesus, and so that they will not fall away. The time is urgent, and I fear most will not react fast enough.

    • Chris Ryan April 4, 2014 at 12:38 am #

      If they’re sincere Christians then they must be willing to pay this price–even as Chris asked the young rich man to give away all his wealth; that wasn’t just a suggestion…That being said, this is quite wrong. I don’t support bigotry against gays, but neither do I support bigotry against Christians.

  7. James Stanton April 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    It’s unfortunate that Eich’s personal opinions have led to his ouster as CEO. I was aware of him as an influential personality at Mozilla from years back, as an early user of the Firefox browser, but did not know anything about his religious beliefs.

    A couple of points, however. If the CEO of a major corporation were to come out strongly for gay marriage how many here would object to the board removing said executive. That’s well within their rights, no? If a Professor at a SBC affiliated school came out in vocal support for gays would the administration not be justified in removing him?

    These are imperfect examples, I know. A better one might be reaction to the recent World Vision controversy.

    Look at the culture of a company like Mozilla. It’s located in the heart of socially liberal California right outside of San Francisco.. The majority of its employees and senior management are likely strong gay marriage supporters that opposed Prop 8. The public disclosure of his financial support for Prop 8 is not immaterial to the culture of Eich’s company and the community in which it is located. That’s something concrete that goes beyond a personal opinion to a public statement and leaves one exposed to backlash.

    Eich is paying a price for society’s shift on gay marriage but it has a lot to do with the location of his company as well.

    • Rick Wilson April 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

      If you lose your job because of sin, that’s the common grace of a generally just society (not “Christian”, not perfect). If you lose your job because of righteousness, that is the indication of the removal of common grace and the consequences of living in an increasingly evil society. And I think that’s all anyone is saying, but that’s a big deal.

    • Rick Wilson April 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      And before you put words in my mouth, I am not singling out the sin of homosexuality. If you lose your job because you continually are dishonest or slothful, this is an act of common grace to bring you to repentance for these issues.

      • James Stanton April 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

        I wouldn’t put words in your mouth, Rick. I think you’re right. These are the realities of the world in which we live today.

  8. Suzanne McCarthy April 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Just a minute. I am terribly confused. Women who resign from conservative schools where they can no longer teach male students aren’t “persecuted” but this guy is.

    Here is the difference, women can’t choose not to be female, so they are restricted in many ways, living within boundaries and rules their entire life because of the condition into which they were born.

    And this is quite all right, but a man – who has a choice of what to believe, where to work, what to say to whom, and how loud to say it – he is persecuted? I doubt this is even causing him financial difficulties.

    I find myself from current life circumstances, socializing with the Jewish community in NYC. I can’t even explain the culture I come from and what is considered persecution within this culture. How is it possible to have a witness as a Christian with views like those espoused here?

  9. James Bradshaw April 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Let me make sure I understand this:

    Christians feel free to withhold money from an organization that feeds starving children (World Vision) because that organization is willing to employ married gay couples, and this is a “righteous expression of moral indignation”.

    Gay activists say they’re going to vote with their feet by simply using another browser, and this is an expression of “homo fascism”.

    Got it.

    • James Stanton April 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      James, it’s tribalism and this is the internet equivalent of talk radio. Many of the controversies addressed on blogs like these are driven by people who are outraged by something affecting their tribe. I’m sure there are plenty of websites run by gay rights activists who peddle in the latest outrage committed by social conservatives.

    • Jason Kates April 3, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      I suppose you’re free to cherry pick whichever things “[ALL] Christians” feel free to do, but it does not a compelling argument make.

    • Chris Ryan April 4, 2014 at 12:43 am #

      +1,000 for pointing out our “beam in the eye”…the politics of personal destruction destroy everyone…even innocent bystanders, as this guy may have been.

    • buddyglass April 4, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      For what it’s worth, I strongly suspect that believers who withdrew support from World Vision after their announcement re-directed that support elsewhere in ways that still benefit hungry children. World Vision isn’t the only organization with that mission. So it’s not really fair to characterize those who withdrew support as being willing to sacrifice starving children on the altar of their political/theological views.

      • Rick Wilson April 4, 2014 at 9:29 am #

        Wow, I actually agreed with a Buddy post.

    • David Powell April 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      Apple, meet orange once again. World Vision is supposed to be a Christian organization. Yes, Christians will hold “Christian” organizations accountable for the message they extend. If Mozila had been a Gay Rights-funded nonprofit organization, then you would be speaking on analogical terms. As it is, this is an awful comparison. Awful.

  10. Chris Blackstone April 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    The startling part about all this is all Eich has done publicly is make a donation. I haven’t seen any actual public statements from him concerning his thoughts on marriage, “so-called-gay” or otherwise. This should make people think twice about donating money in a way that could get traced back to them.

    • Rick Wilson April 4, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Should people think twice about giving to their church that preaches Scripture clearly?

      • buddyglass April 4, 2014 at 9:22 am #

        Key words: “in a way that could get traced back to them”.

        So, no, people shouldn’t think twice about giving to their church that preaches Scripture clearly. They might should think twice about claiming that giving as a charitable deduction on their taxes if they think they’re ever going to be in a position where they’ll be required to make public their un-redacted tax returns.

        • Rick Wilson April 4, 2014 at 9:29 am #

          Ok, couldn’t attending the church get them in the same kind of trouble? I’m just saying this line of reasoning – think twice before doing good – is insane. We shouldn’t think twice, we should object to being mistreated for doing good, and loudly. We’re going to go down, that much is clear, but we ought not go down quietly. I think the very worst thing that could happen is that believers start thinking twice in the coming few years about expressing their beliefs, but that is exactly what probably will happen.

          • buddyglass April 4, 2014 at 10:59 am #

            You’re missing his point. It wasn’t that Christians should think twice before doing good, but that they should be shrewd in their doing good and, if possible, do it in ways that are untraceable.

            • Rick Wilson April 4, 2014 at 11:03 am #

              I don’t think letting our light shine before men lines up with doing good that is untraceable. My point is the fact that you guys are already talking about “going underground” should be a huge warning sign for us all. This is not good, not at all.

            • David Powell April 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

              My only hope in this, is that people who have been blindly arguing that Freedom of Religion is still protected in this nation will kindly stop speaking. Things become clearer by the day.

  11. senecagriggs April 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    If God be for us; who can stand against us? The secular world simply cannot win. God will have His way though we may surely suffer for our beliefs in the inerrant Word of God.
    Satan would destroy us but God will have His way in all matters. I find great comfort in that fact.

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