When I first interviewed Hostage Calm at the Hartford stop of Warped Tour in 2011 we talked a bit about the band's political views. Like good punk rock should this CT band is point blank about government and social issues. One Monday, Martin Luther King Day, Cmar (Hostage Calm's front man) posted a very interesting blog. It seems that the band's hope that one of their messages would have an effect in parts of the country that are not as fortunate as Connecticut.
So what do Wes Breedwell and Hostage Calm have in common? The easy answer is "a T-shirt". But the long story involves the message conveyed by that shirt. Fans of the band are well-aware of their belief that same-sex marriage should be a right offered to any LGBT couple and they have a shirt in their merch that proclaims that support loud and clear. Equally loud are the numbers of their fans, many of them straight, young men, who own the shirt and wear it proudly. Of course those shirts are for sale at their shows all around the country and via mail order so they turn up in many places outside of Connecticut. One of those places was the Christian rock venue, Rockettown in Nashville and that's where Wes Breedwell comes into the picture.
On MLK Day, the day we celebrate the equal rights movement in this country and one of its greatest leaders, the guys from Hostage Calm learned from a friend in Tennessee that Mr. Breedwell had been terminated from his job at Rockettown. Why? For wearing his band T to work. It would have been understandable if Mr. Breedwell had been recently employed by the venue and/or had never let his employers know his political, religious and social views. But Wes has been employed at Rockettown for SEVEN YEARS. Over that time Wes had been very open about his stances that were in direct conflict with the fundementalist dogma of the venue. Did they fire him then? No.
Yes, a company can exist in the U.S. with established guidelines that include religious doctrine. We do have the First Amendment that provides for freedom of and from religion. However, these companies have a choice to either make exceptions for their employees regarding their beliefs and affiliations or only hire people who are willing to ascribe to the guidelines. Rockettown chose to hire Breedwell who may have told them at the outset that he was not a religious person. Even if the issue was not discussed, the company learned soon after they employed him.
Let it also be noted that these statutes can also apply, in this case, to the acts booked into the venue. However, Rockettown had, apparently, in the past waived that option as Hostage Calm has played there and not only is their equal marriage rights message in their songs but a a few other social and political points that tend to clash with certain communities across the country.
Please go and read Cmar's blog here. You can click on their merch link and show your support for Wes and for truly equal rights for all Americans by purchasing a T-shirt. Feel free to discuss this story below in the comments. Keep it civil. I do respect everyone's right to an opinion and the right to subscribe to particular religious doctrines but you also do not have the right to coerce others to agree with those opinions or embrace your theology. Thank you.