A Virginia-based businessman has withdrawn his sponsorship for a pro golfer due to the athlete's support for conservative television host Glenn Beck and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as his Christian beliefs. The sponsor said in an email regarding the termination that he believes the golfer's political and religious views are "childish and uneducated."
Virginia-based businessman Brian McMahon, head of Nebraska Golf Card (NGC), a local promotional business, notified David Reynolds, agent to golfer Jeff Cochran a few weeks ago that his business would be dropping its sponsorship of Cochran. Cochran is currently an aspiring golfer who used the sponsorship of NGC as his primary income for he and his family.
McMahon told Reynolds, in emails obtained by The Blaze, that he was deciding to drop the athlete's sponsorship after Cochran told the two men at a previous dinner that he admired Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx), a self-proclaimed member of the Tea Party, and his father, Pastor Rafael Cruz, referencing the elder Cruz's recent appearance on conservative radio host Glenn Beck's show, "The Glenn Beck Program."
In the email, McMahon, a pronounced atheist, says the sponsorship is being terminated because he cannot imagine supporting an athlete who praises Beck and Cruz, two public figures he argues are "destroying America."
"David, I have never had an issue with you or really Jeff for that matter, but this situation is very disturbing. I have been tolerant of his religious views and even supported his off course speaking. However, I just can't allow my company to be associated with these radical political views. The idea that Jeff would line up with the likes of Glenn Beck or Ted Cruz or any other individual interested in destroying America, just isn't something I can swallow," McMahon wrote, according to The Blaze.
Cochran and Reynolds reportedly complied with McMahon's request that the golfer return all promotional items to NGC and stop using the NGC logo. In response, McMahon sent another email to the two men attacking Cochran for his Christian beliefs, particularly the bible verse Cochran had embroidered on his golf bag that read Philippians 4:13: "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength" [NIV].
"I looked up the verse Jeff put on the bag and had to laugh," the email from McMahon read. "How can someone so smart be so gullible? The idea of trusting or believing that someone has control over your future is the definition of insanity. I will continue to trust people I've actually met and trust to help chart my course."
"Tell Jeff if he ever decides to relinquish these childish and uneducated views, we might be willing to renew our relationship," McMahon added, signing the email "In Me I Trust, Brian."
The business owner added in an email to The Blaze that although he was initially able to tolerate Cochran's Christian views, it was the athlete's alleged admiration for Beck that sent him over the edge and caused him to terminate the professional relationship. McMahon also argues that Cochran is a private contractor, not an employee, and therefore he can terminate him based on religious or political beliefs.
There have been several previous incidences of companies allegedly firing employees based on their political or religious beliefs. In 2011, a Christian Macy's employee was fired from a store in San Antonio, Texas after the employee refused to let a transgender man into the woman's dressing room. In another case, an employee at the University of Toledo was reportedly fired for writing a letter to the local newspaper that opposed the comparison of gay rights activists to the efforts of the black civil rights movement in the 1960's.
In the case of the university employee, Kevin Theriot, senior counsel to the Alliance Defending Freedom nonprofit organization, argued that a university cannot mandate all of its employees to share the same beliefs it does, arguing that such a practice violates the First Amendment. "University officials cannot mandate that all employees, in their personal capacities, have the same opinion as they do. This much is extremely clear in First Amendment law."
In another case, the multinational corportation Cisco Systems came under fire from religious freedom groups after it allegedly fired one of its top employees, Dr. Frank Turek, for his off-the-job opposition to same-sex marriage. Turek wrote in a column for Townhall in 2011 that he felt he was being attacked for his thoughts, even though they were not expressed while he was at work.
"Cisco had a problem with my thoughts," he wrote. "Although I certainly accepted homosexuals, I committed the thought crime of disagreeing with homosexual behavior and homosexual political goals. So despite all their talk about 'inclusion and diversity,' Cisco deemed my thoughts about something irrelevant to the workplace as grounds for immediate exclusion."