Producers of the recently-released faith-based film Audacity were contacted last week by Chris Routson of Middletown, Ohio, who wanted to share with them his story of recommending the film to two lesbian co-workers and subsequently being fired after 13 years as a well-regarded employee.
"I have had good reviews from my supervisors for the past 13 years at my job, and I have always been outspoken about my faith to other employees and have never had any problems up until the last week of my employment," Routson said.
Routson was told that he was terminated not because of his faith, but for making his co-workers "uncomfortable." He was first told to stop doing this after he friended one of his lesbian co-workers on Facebook, and recommended the film Audacity to her on his own time from home.
She didn't seem bothered by this, but the next day Routson was informed he had made a co-worker uncomfortable and he was to stop. He said that he couldn't stop sharing his faith, and his supervisors said it wasn't about his faith, just about making co-workers "uncomfortable."
Two days later, Routson shared his personal testimony with a different co-worker, telling her "Every new person I meet I want to share the gospel with them and if they still want to be my friend then I have gained a friend."
Later he recommended the film Audacity to her and she never seemed uncomfortable or like she didn't want to discuss the topic with him, even sharing about her own family discussion on homosexuality.
It was not long after this that Routson was called into his manager's office and told that he was making an employee uncomfortable and would need to go home. He was told to report the following morning at the usual time, but then was called early the next morning to come in several hours later. Upon his arrival, he was terminated, asked to take his belongings and leave immediately. Routson is seeking legal counsel.
Whether the recommendation of the movie Audacity itself is what made Routson's lesbian co-workers uncomfortable or not, that was never the filmmakers' intention.
"Audacity was produced particularly to show that Christians don't hate homosexuals," Executive Producer Ray Comfort said. "We deliberately didn't stereotype or vilify homosexuals even slightly. Before it was released, one reviewer said that it had the potential to bring reconciliation between the LGBT and Christians."
In fact, Comfort has received positive feedback from two members of the homosexual community who have already seen the film:
- "I am a lesbian. I watched your movie Audacity on YouTube. Very powerful. Thank you for not hating us."
- "I have to say, as a gay woman who watched Audacity, I agree that the topic was handled with love and compassion which was refreshing to see..."
Since Audacity is now freely available online at www.AudacityMovie.com, viewers can decide for themselves whether or not they think the film would be worth firing someone over—especially a 13-year employee with two kids at home.
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