Sunday, July 25, 2021

Freedom To Think

Chad was about the finish his first year as an account advisor at Westminster Farthington Bank.

It was a good place to work. Within a year he was near the top of his division in production. There was little doubt that during his second year he might be at the very top. And soon beyond, likely a division supervisor. Normally a position not open for advisors until five years of employment, but Chad worked and studied hard, he put in extra hours, and took advantage of all the extra training offered by Westminster Farthington.

He was near the time of his yearly review. He looked forward to it because he expected to be considered for the supervisory training program.

Roxanne stopped by Chad’s cubicle and rapped on the panel.

Chad looked up and smiled. “Roxanne,” he said. “Come in have a seat.”

She sat in the chair next to his desk.

Remember the Langston account?” Chad said.

Don’t tell me,” Roxanne said. “Did it close.”

Yes,” Chad said excitedly. “And they said their satellite offices will come on board.”

You’re kidding me,” Roxanne said. “That will put me over projection for the year. Thanks, Chad. You really worked hard on that. I hope I can repay you someday.”

Roxanne started to stand. “Oh, I almost forgot,” she said settling back down in the chair. “I’m inviting you to my wedding. My partner and I are getting married this weekend. I’m inviting just a few friends and family; those who are open-minded and not living in the dark ages.”

That’s kind of you to think of me,” Chad said. “But I’m afraid you will think of me as being close-minded.”

I thought you had no problem with it,” Roxanne said.

Maybe I should clarify something,“ Chad said. “I have said what people do in their private lives is not my concern. Do I think gay marriage is okay? No. Will I protest against it or hate gay couples? No. My view is private. I don’t force it on anyone else.”

Roxanne immediately stood. She dug her fists into her hips. “If you’re not for us then you’re against us.”

I’m sorry, Roxanne,” Chad said. “It is something I cannot conscientiously participate in.”

I never thought of you as being so closed-minded,” Roxanne said.

Recall at our diversity seminar a few months ago,” Chad said. “You were very vocal and articulate about defending the conscience of others. You used an example of conscientious objectors being exempt from military duty so why should Westminster Farthington ever demand a person to do something that would not be illegal, yet a person might find conscientiously objectionable. You used an example of extending loans to cigarette companies. In fact, Roxanne, I was inspired by your passion.”

This comes down to a basic human right,” Roxanne said. “It’s different.”

I’m not objecting or protesting your marriage,” Chad said. “I’m just not coming.”

This will not look good on your yearly review,” Roxanne said. “I will out you as a bigot and hater.”

Roxanne,” Chad said. “Do you think I really hate you?”

That’s not the point,” Roxanne said.

Than what is the point?” Chad said. “Please, tell me.”

You are just a hater,” Roxanne said.

Roxanne,” Chad said. “Do you hate me?”

Yes!” Roxanne said. “I got the right to hate you.”

Your acceptance and open-mindedness extend only as far as your own cause,” Chad said.

And what about your cause?” Roxanne said.

I don’t have one, other than please let me have freedom of thought,” Chad said.

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