What’s that saying, that nothing good ever comes out of Oklahoma? Oh wait, that was Texas – no, Galilee. Sorry for that slip – was thinking about Sally Kern (R-OK) and her well-deserved stoning and less well-deserved self-martyrdom and that brought hypocrisy to mind which led to thoughts of Gov. Rick Perry. And this story too is about a fundamentalist Christian and hypocrisy. It’s been a long year, already.
Tate Publishing of Mustang, Oklahoma, says it is a Christian-based, family-owned publisher. If you visit their site you can treat yourself to a long harangue about “our beliefs“, which include the infallibility of the Bible as the word of God:
The Bible was written by men who wrote under the direct control, inspiration, and anointing of God. The Bible does not contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God—the infallible, inerrant, only written revelation which God has given to man. It increases man’s faith, as well as instructs and corrects him that he might become holy, separated from the world and unto God. The main theme of the Bible is God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. Everything in the life of every human being is directly or indirectly affected by his attitude about the Bible—whether or not he accepts it as the inspired Word of God. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters about which it speaks.
So how is it that, as the Oklahoman puts it, “Oklahoma CEO prays with, insults, then fires employees”? That doesn’t sound very Christian, does it? Jesus does, after all, say to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39) and to love your enemies (Matt. 5:43-48), and more pointedly yet, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7) – divine injunctions Ryan Tate, president of Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC ignored when he confronted his employees. Tate did allow that he “hated” doing it but it doesn’t really sound as if he hated doing it.
As the Oklahoman reports,
During the staff meeting, which was recorded, Tate sprinkled biblical references with the stern announcement.
Tate, who opened the meeting with a prayer, said he had been too tolerant of workers who posted their opinions and suggestions about the company online or in anonymous emails. “I should have just fired you on the spot.”
Watch the story on NewsOK
He said an email that claimed the company was planning to outsource local jobs to the company’s new operation in the Philippines prompted the firings. And, Tate said, that email was incorrect.
“You morons that sat back and wanted to create and generate conspiracy theories on the ‘what-ifs’ or the potentials of what could be happening are stupid,” he told the employees.
On Friday, Tate said it was a tough decision to fire the 25 employees, but he would do it again.
“I’ve got to protect the interests of my company, my artists, my staff,” he said Friday.
His father and the company founder, Richard Tate, said one employee who was leaking information also had a poor work history.
“If you’re a pain in the ass to me, I’m going to fire you too,” Richard Tate said.
Unless they have a different Bible down there in Oklahoma, all I can say is “Wow, that’s nothing at all like Jesus!”
Now obviously an employee badmouthing his employer has to expect some consequence; I once told a disgruntled employee, after a long talk, that they were welcome to find a new job if they didn’t like it and couldn’t comport themselves in a civilized manner (i.e. follow policy). But Tate’s reaction is one you’d not expect to see even from the average employer, which Tate claims not to be. If the Bible is the word of God,then what Jesus is quoted as saying is holy writ and he is blatantly and willfully ignoring the word of God.
As a Christian publisher, he ought to have turned the other cheek and responded to perceived hate with love. In no way does it come across as Christian to first pray with, then insult the people he was about to fire. Jesus didn’t do it when he delivered his beatitudes. There were no insults flying that day. I don’t recall anywhere in the New Testament Jesus using words like “you morons” even when addressing the Pharisees, or “you’re a pain in the ass to me” when block-headed Peter got some minor point of doctrine all wrong. Christ, Jesus didn’t even say that to Judas, who betrayed him to the Roman authorities.
Jesus did say that loving those who love you is no big deal and deserving of no reward – even Pagans do that, he said (and we do, we do!) but that the true test is loving those who hate you. He also admonished those who point the finger at others without acknowledging their own failings: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5).
You might have expected Tate to sit down with his disgruntled sinners and have a heart to heart with them, to pray, to admit to his own faults when discussing theirs and look for ways to work together down the road rather than against each other. It would have been the Christian thing to do – isn’t that what’s supposed to set a Christian-based company apart from all the others?
In theory apparently, but not in practice.
The Oklahoman reports that a current employee “said Ryan Tate was infuriated by the information about the company that was circulating in emails and Internet postings.”
Infuriated, but apparently nether loving nor forgiving. Jesus didn’t use foul language but he did know how to rebuke, and you have to believe that the Jesus of the New Testament would rebuke Ryan Tate for paying only lip service to his words.
And let’s be honest: theory won’t get you to heaven – Jesus makes pretty clear that it takes putting theory into practice. He said, when asked, that the most important commandment (all of which he said he expected his followers to keep – Matt. 5:18) was to love God but that the second most important was to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:36-40). Given how Jesus felt about the rich and powerful (Matt. 19:24), you’d think a business owner would tread a bit more cautiously around the literal and infallible Word of God.
Of course, you have to actually read the Bible for any of this to matter.
Image from MemeGenerator.net
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.