Did An Atheist Employer Really Fire a Christian Applicant?

Word out of the UK is that the co-owners of the Prested Hall hotel refused to hire an applicant for the job of creating advertising and promotional graphics… because he was a Christian:

Jamie Haxby

Jamie Haxby said he felt ‘victimised and persecuted’ after allegedly being told he could not design adverts for the Essex venue due to his faith.

Mr Haxby, a regular worshipper at his local church, says manager Celie Parker apologised for inviting him to the interview after discovering he was a committed Christian.

He claims he was then told he would not be considered for the role as his beliefs could upset atheists working there.

Mr Haxby, 24, said his problems began when he showed Ms Parker his portfolio, which included his designs for fliers for his local church and a T-shirt for a Christian charity.

‘However, just over halfway through looking over my portfolio, Celie stopped me and said she did not think we needed to go any further.

My heart slightly sank as I could tell there was something she did not like. She then explained that she thought my work was brilliant, but that she and others on her team were atheists.

‘She said that judging from my work I was clearly a committed Christian, and I understood from what she was saying that it would be very difficult for me to work there.

This is all a he-said, she-said story. The owners of the hotel claim that they hired someone who was more qualified, adding that Christians already work at the hotel and that a potential candidate’s faith is none of their business.

(I’ve reached out to both Haxby and Parker for comment and will update this post if I hear from them.)

If this is true, though, it’s appalling.

Forget non-discrimination laws for a second — why would anyone care about someone else’s religion when they’re applying to do some graphic design for you? How would anyone’s faith get in the way of running a hotel?

It wouldn’t. And that’s why this story seems so implausible to me (not to mention it’s in the Daily Mail…). There’s no benefit to having an atheist-only hotel staff.

It’s funny, though, to hear Christian sites complaining about this when they support companies who refuse to hire LGBT workers because of “religious freedom.” It’s not right when they do it and it wouldn’t be right if the atheists were doing it here, either.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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