Iowan sues after being fired for calling gay pride ‘an abomination to God’

By: - May 23, 2022 1:45 pm

An Iowa man alleges he is the victim of religious discrimination and was fired after referring to gay pride as an “abomination to God.” (Photo by Getty Images)

An eastern Iowa man is suing his employer for religious discrimination, alleging he was fired after stating the company’s support of gay pride was an “abomination to God.”

Daniel Snyder, 63, of Riverdale is suing Arconic, formerly known as Alcoa, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

Snyder had worked at the company’s Riverdale plant for almost 10 years, when, in June 2021, he received an email from Arconic CEO Tim Myers inviting employees to respond to an “engagement survey” seeking employees’ input on ways the company could improve. The email stated that responses would be anonymous.

Snyder attempted to respond to the survey by clicking a link in the email and was routed to a company webpage displaying a rainbow flag in promotion of “Gay Pride Month.” Snyder alleges he believed the flag was part of the anonymous survey and that the company was seeking his feedback on the topic.

The webpage included a space where Snyder could type in a comment and he wrote, “It’s an abomination to God. Rainbow is not meant to be displayed as a sign for sexual gender.”

Arconic later informed Snyder that his comment was not part of the survey and had been posted on the company’s message board where it could be seen by other employees, at least one of whom was offended. Snyder was summarily suspended and then terminated for violating the company’s “diversity policy,” the lawsuit claims.

Prior to being fired, Snyder alleges, he informed Arconic officials that his written statement was based on his sincerely held Christian beliefs. He alleges that when he explained he had thought he had been responding to an anonymous survey, Arconic officials responded with derisive laughter.

Snyder “sincerely believes that the Bible shows that the rainbow is a sign of the covenant between God and man, and thus that it is sacrilegious to use the rainbow to promote relationships and ideologies that violate God’s law,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit goes on to say that, in practice, Arconic’s diversity policy “actually punishes diversity of opinion, allowing only one opinion — the company’s approved narrative on morally freighted issues — while treating any employee’s religious opinion or objection to the contrary, even if intended to be anonymous and expressed in a single instance, as grounds for immediate termination with no accommodation whatsoever. The ‘zero tolerance diversity policy’ is, in fact, an intolerance policy designed to expel from Arconic’s workforce anyone who dissents for religious reasons from its corporate moral views.”

Snyder claims Arconic was aware of Snyder’s strongly held religious beliefs as the company had granted him a religious accommodation to not work on Sundays so he could preach at a local church, and he had previously sought permission to form a prayer group at work.

Arconic has yet to respond to the lawsuit, and a company spokesman could not be reached for comment early Monday.

Snyder’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for alleged retaliation, religious discrimination, and violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.