The largest bank in Canada has directed its employees to “be supportive” of “gay, lesbian and bisexual issues” and to show that support by displaying the homosexual movement’s rainbow triangle symbol in the workplace.
The Royal Bank of Canada made the statements in the first edition of a new newsletter called “Rainbow Space.” [.pdf version] The publication is meant to highlight “the importance of sexual preference as one of RBC’s primary diversity elements.” In making the appeal to its employees, the bank urged them to display a rainbow-colored triangle sticker on their “desk, cubicle or office.”
“Voluntarily displaying this sticker shows gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered co-workers that they can feel safe with you, and shows unsupportive co-workers that you won’t tolerate homophobia,” states the newsletter.
The Canada Family Action Coalition characterized the directive as “discrimination and intolerance.”
Said a statement from the organization: “With this campaign the Royal Bank of Canada is wandering from its core business of banking and entering into the field of propagating misguided morality.”
Support of the homosexual agenda is not new for the Royal Bank of Canada. It raised eyebrows in 1999 when it first sponsored the Toronto Gay Pride Parade.
The newsletter reportedly has gone to just 2,000 or the bank’s 60,000 employees, but plans are for the publication to get wider distribution. The bank has 2,100 locations in Canada, the United States and 28 other countries.
“If unchallenged, this militant campaign will spread from corporation to corporation – including Canada’s largest employer, the government,” Canada Family Action Coalition predicts. “It is conceivable that within a few months you will not be hired by corporate Canada or given a promotion unless you are ‘supportive’ of homosexual, lesbian and bisexual issues.”
Canada Family Action Coalition has launched a boycott of Royal Bank, asking its supporters to close both their personal and business accounts.
In the controversial newsletter, the bank assures readers of its intent:
“This is not about changing people’s values or beliefs – it’s about living our RBC values by ensuring all employees and clients feel welcome, visible and inclusive.”
The newsletters uses the disputed claim that “10 percent of the population, including within RBC’s employees, is gay or lesbian,” warning against “homophobic comments or jokes. These are harmful and don’t belong in the workplace. Let co-workers know that you find them offensive.”
Continues the company’s directive to employees: “Use inclusive language. Instead of asking if a co-worker is married, ask if they’re in a relationship. Terms such as ‘significant other’ and ‘partner’ are more inclusive than ‘girlfriend’ or ‘spouse.’ Treat the subject positively. When gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues are discussed, make it clear that you are supportive of all aspects of diversity.”
The newsletter features a glossary of terms that includes:
“Two-spirited – An aboriginal term used to describe people who embody both the male and female spirit. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered aboriginal people are reclaiming this term,” and “Homophobia – Irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuals.”
Charles McVety is president of Canada Christian College and head of Canada Family Action Coalition.
“Pressuring workers to display any sign that declares their personal position on homosexual behavior is a fundamental and unprovoked attack on their freedom of religion, conscience and speech,” said McVety in a statement on the group’s website.
McVety challenged the bank to provide evidence of discrimination against homosexuals by bank employees, saying, “I am not aware of a single instance where a Christian employee of the Royal Bank has refused to serve a customer because of his or her sexual preference. Nor am I aware of a Christian co-worker refusing to work with someone of a different sexual orientation.”
Said Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of Canada Family Action Coalition: “This is religious intolerance of the worst kind. It targets and profiles employees of faith. It’s a bit like the Inquisition, only this time the Inquisitors are the high priests of a secular orthodoxy that refuses to respect the rights of people of traditional faith to live their lives in peace according to the tenets of their own religious code.”