DiversityInc Mag Publisher Visconti Compares LaBarbera to Slavery Advocate

luke_visconti.jpg DiversityInc magazine co-founder Luke Visconti (lvisconti@diversityinc.com) showed his own (modern) bigotry and disrespect for people of faith by comparing Americans For Truth president Peter LaBarbera to a 19th Century Christian slavery advocate because LaBarbera opposes homosexuality and pro-homosexual corporate policies. The strongly pro-”gay” DiversityInc disinvited the AFTAH founder to a “Religion in the Workplace” panel discussion after pro-homosexual panelists threatened to boycott the discussion if LaBarbera was allowed to participate.

By Peter LaBarbera

Dear Christian or morality advocate who opposes homosexuality:

Did you know that in the eyes of some liberal, pro-homosexual advocates, you are the moral equivalent of the KKK? Actually, this is nothing new: radical “gay” activists have been making this absurd and hateful analogy for years. This is why I tell religious people all the time: disabuse yourself of the idea that homosexual activists and their liberal fellow travelers “respect” your faith or your right to live it out in the public square. They don’t; they despise your Bible-centered morality, and are quite willing to demonize you for it.

Increasingly, the liberals’ contempt for Christians and religious traditionalists is “out of the closet,” even as they continue with their hollow pleas for ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity.’

I sent the following note to DiversityInc Executive Editor Barbara Frankel, in response to a column by Luke Visconti, co-founder of DiversityInc, explaining why they were justified in disinviting me to their “Religion in the Workplace” panel discussion. Essentially Visconti’s argument is this: “There is no need to balance human rights,” especially since I [and by extension, other pro-family leaders opposed to homosexuality] am the moral equivalent of slavery advocates.

Frankel and DiversityInc did allow me a full-page column to express my disappointment with their decision to drop Americans For Truth from their panel (see below), to which Visconti was responding.

Visconti’s column cites a 19th Century pastor who used the Bible to justify slavery, and claimed that I am his modern-day equivalent. He also cites the Ku Klux, fascism and other evil or misguided causes which were defended by Christian leaders. (We apologize but the DiversityInc site is having problems so we are not able to provide excerpts of his column at this time.)

In response to my incredulous question to Ms. Frankel — “As an opponent of homosexuality, I am the moral equivalent of a slavery advocate?” — Visconti wrote me:

To answer your question: Yes.

There’s one point on which I agree with you: The discussion should have been in person. I appreciate you taking the offer of writing the column.

Here is my note to Frankel:

Barbara, so that’s it?… As an opponent of homosexuality, I am the moral equivalent of a slavery advocate? I shudder at the arrogance — and insulting bigotry — of your “white guy” founder, Luke Visconti [Visconti has a column in his magazine called, "Ask the White Guy"]. I suppose my African-American friends who agree with me on marriage and sexuality issues are also to be compared with slavery advocates?

I have found this whole enterprise to be quite fascinating; I hope it has been for you as well. I wonder if Mr. Visconti is even aware of the many people who have left the homosexual lifestyle, and those who have given their lives to ministries that reach out in love to gays and lesbians with the truth that change is possible. I wonder how many personal discussions he has had with people of faith (or people of no faith) who do not share his “enlightened” view on homosexuality. Has he met an ex-”gay” man or woman, or a pro-family advocate, or a mother who loves her “gay” son but cannot embrace his sexual decisions?

I know one ex-gay man in Philadelphia who collects slavery implements — deeds of sale of slaves, etc. — to document the horrors of that shameful era in our nation’s history — which was brought to an end in large part through the labors of Bible-believing Christians who lobbied tirelessly for emancipation. I’m sure my friend — a supporter of Americans For Truth — would be startled to learn that he is philosophically in league with slavery defenders!

What nonsense. There is a word for it: prejudice. There are people who not only disagree with homosexuality but also HATE homosexuals, and they are wrong. But I submit that those are not most Christians, or even most people in general who share my moral viewpoint on homosexuality. (Likewise, there are pro-homosexuality advocates who hate Christians and moral traditionalists — as evinced by the vicious emails I receive on a daily basis — and they, too, are wrong.) Had I been to DiversityInc’s offices in person, Mr. Visconti and the others might have had to reconcile their disdain for my beliefs with my humanity, and we could have actually talked through our differences. Perhaps they could have seen that I am motivated not by hatred but a heartfelt desire to agree with and follow my Creator, guided by reasoned inquiry into the matter at hand and a sense of right and wrong.

Sure, it’s much easier to lobby shibboleths from afar. (As I told you, I have frequently met with and debated gay advocates and never shy away from personal encounters with opponents, as long as we can “agree to disagree” civilly.)

Despite all this, I would like to thank you and DiversityInc for the opportunity to air my dissent on a stand-alone page (see below), and for your common sense and decency in originally seeing the wisdom of inviting a representative from a traditionalist perspective to your “Religion in the Workplace” panel. Make no mistake: your first impulse was correct. I hope Visconti’s politically correct extremism and the falseness of his analogy is apparent to some of your readers. One-sided corporate “diversity” is an Orwellian sham — one that violates the “human rights” of faith-based and moral-minded employees by overriding their conscience.

Please pass this note on to Mr. Visconti, and have a wonderful holiday.

Sincerely,

Peter LaBarbera

Americans For Truth

www.americansfortruth.org

_______________________________

The following column runs in the current (Dec.) issue of DiversityInc. Due to technical problems with the magazine’s website, we are as yet not able to run excerpts of Visconti’s rebuttal column.

True Diversity Lost Out in DiversityInc Panel

By Peter LaBarbera

My viewpoint was censored, in the name of Diversity. My traditional beliefs about homosexuality and marriage were not tolerated, in the name of Tolerance.

Let me explain. Several weeks ago I received a phone call from Barbara Frankel, DiversityInc’s Executive Editor, inviting me to be a part of the “Religion in the Workplace” roundtable discussion (excerpted in this issue). As the president of Americans For Truth, a group that defends historic Judeo-Christian teachings on homosexuality, I would represent the many who share my worldview – opposite a pro-gay advocate, Daryl Herrschaft of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and those representing other perspectives, including someone from American Atheists.

I readily accepted Frankel’s invitation, and commended her for practicing true “diversity.” As a DiversityInc subscriber, I knew that the magazine takes a strong gay-affirming position, but I was impressed that Frankel saw the need to include a religious traditionalist in her panel.

What Frankel did not know is that not all the invited panelists shared her genuine notion of tolerance – one which assumes disagreement yet hopes for a civil exchange of ideas. Less than a week before the scheduled panel, I received an awkward call from Frankel, who informed me that I was disinvited because HRC’s Herrschaft and other panelists had threatened not to come if I were allowed to participate. Ironically, one of the proposed questions for the roundtable was: “How do you balance the need to create an open and equal workplace for LGBT employees with the religious beliefs of those who oppose same-sex relationships?”

Alas, true “balance” was not to be achieved in the DiversityInc’s discussion. Herrschaft got his way, but in the end, diversity, tolerance and understanding were the losers. I’ve never worked for a major corporation, but now I better understand the plight of fellow Christians and pro-family employees in some “diversity”-conscious companies. How is that corporations, which try so hard to be sensitive to homosexuals, can be so insensitive to their many employees – from whatever background — motivated by faith?

According to Gallup surveys, about half the country still beliefs that homosexual behavior is wrong – a tenet of most major religions. Employees holding this traditional viewpoint have their rights, too. Had I been allowed to participate in the panel, I would have urged that corporate managers treat these employees with respect and dignity – by avoiding such common errors as: 1) holding one-sided “awareness” sessions that demean people of faith by failing to represent their beliefs; 2) falsely insinuating –– as gay activist groups often do –– that those who hold traditional views on sex and marriage are somehow guilty of “hate,” prejudice, or “homophobia”; and 3) not heeding the advice of tradition-minded employees in corporate sponsorships and other policies surrounding homosexuality.

People don’t come to work have their moral values disparaged. Until corporations start treating their employees of faith with the same respect and sensitivity they devote to other groups, resentment will grow and worker morale will suffer, hurting productivity and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Peter LaBarbera is president of Americans For Truth.


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