Manufactured martyr gets a promotion - CWA hires Matt Barber
Concerned Women for America has hired a replacement for the departing Robert Knight. And if this man's past history is any indication of his future at the organization, he may provide me with more fun than Knight ever did.
Matt Barber is the new hiree and if he sounds familiar, it's because he was a cause celebre in 2005. At that time, he was an employee at AllState Insurance who was fired because of a column he wrote. The column in question gave the usual anti-gay nonsense about how diseased we are, like the following Cameroneque excerpt:
As a result of the concerted effort by liberals to mask the devastating effects of the gay lifestyle, many people are shocked to learn that the average life expectancy of a homosexual male is only about 45 years old - 30 years younger than that of a heterosexual male.
Barber was fired because he involved AllState in his nonsense. He claimed that he wrote the column on his own time. Now the bio on the column said the following:
J. Matt Barber is a non-practicing attorney, an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer (Matt "Bam Bam" Barber), and a professional jazz drummer in the Chicago Land (IL) area. In addition to his Law Degree, Barber holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy. Matt Works for Allstate Insurance Company as a Territorial Senior Manager in Allstate's Law and Regulation Corporate Security (Internal Fraud Investigations) Department.
Or if you want to see the column with the bio, this is the link
Barber sued AllState for violating his religious beliefs because he was not allowed to receive unemployment benefits as a employee who was fired for willfull misconduct. The Illinois Department for Employment Security said this was not the case, so Barber was able to get unemployment benefits.
Barber continued with a lawsuit against AllState. He was aided by religious right lawyers, anti-gay industry figures such as Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association, and blogs like Free Republic who claimed that he was the newest victim of the "gay Mafia."
Barber settled with AllState and the settlement was not made public. However, I did notice two things.
I find it interesting that Concerned Women for America did not milk Barber's firing for its own purposes. The organization doesn't even mention it. An article speaking of his settlement clearly says, "no mention of a dollar figure was revealed, according to a WorldNetDaily report."
But go to AllState's web page and you will find the insurance company is talking about it:
The company has stated its position to the court in our answer to Mr. Barber’s lawsuit, and the following statement is included in those papers: “Plaintiff, James Matthew Barber, was not discharged from his employment with Allstate Insurance Company because of his religious beliefs or practices, but because he used the company’s information technology systems and other resources for his personal journalism activities, many of which took place on company time, and which identified Plaintiff as an employee of the Allstate Insurance Company.”
The article references a determination made by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The role of the Illinois Department of Employment Security is to implement the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, which provides unemployment compensation to residents of the state who meet the eligibility requirements provided in the act. The Department determines whether anyone is eligible for unemployment compensation. Apart from this role, the Department does not rule on the reason for terminations.
To reiterate, Allstate would not terminate an employee for expressing personal religious or lifestyle views on his or her own time.
Seems to me that Barber and his cohorts aren't telling the entire story. He was not fired for "willful misconduct," but apparently his firing was very justified.
Barber should fit in very well with Concerned Women for America. After all, liars generally like each others' company.