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Silicon Valley has a problem with conservatives. But not the political kind.

By VOX

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  • Cammie Dunaway
    Cammie DunawayproChief Marketing Officer at Duolingo

    Really thought provoking article. I am a 55 year old Christian woman who has lived and worked in SV for the past 15 years. About 6 years ago I started sharing on my Facebook status that I was at church on Sunday along with a bit of scripture or an idea from the sermon. I’ve also mentioned my faith as a piece of keynotes I’ve given. It felt like a way to let people who know and work with me see this part of who I am and maybe to offer a counter example to the prevalent (and sometimes deserved) negative

    Really thought provoking article. I am a 55 year old Christian woman who has lived and worked in SV for the past 15 years. About 6 years ago I started sharing on my Facebook status that I was at church on Sunday along with a bit of scripture or an idea from the sermon. I’ve also mentioned my faith as a piece of keynotes I’ve given. It felt like a way to let people who know and work with me see this part of who I am and maybe to offer a counter example to the prevalent (and sometimes deserved) negative perception that exists about people who follow Christ. I really haven’t felt any negative reaction. In fact I hope God has used my openness to enable me to connect to people in a deeper way.

  • Jessica Nish
    Jessica NishTechnology Educator

    Being religious nowadays is just difficult. No matter what religion you are. There will always be someone ready to attack you and your beliefs. I get that there are religious folk who attack non religious folk over a myriad of issues, but I don’t believe that’s the standard. Can’t I just worship as I please and not be bothered?? It’s not like I’m trying to bother anybody!!!

  • Lindsey  Avena
    Lindsey Avena

    I share the lack of surprise at bias against conservatives in this industry. Half of tech workers identifying as atheist or agnostic comes as no surprise, either - the age demographic warrants this type of response. This is the generation that questions everything, and that’s not to say there’s a lack of religion; it’s to say people are more back and forth with their religious perspectives. The bias is problematic, though. The question of whether or not praying in the workplace is appropriate is

    I share the lack of surprise at bias against conservatives in this industry. Half of tech workers identifying as atheist or agnostic comes as no surprise, either - the age demographic warrants this type of response. This is the generation that questions everything, and that’s not to say there’s a lack of religion; it’s to say people are more back and forth with their religious perspectives. The bias is problematic, though. The question of whether or not praying in the workplace is appropriate is one that should never be asked. Though I don’t identify with any religion, I am perfectly fine knowing that my coworkers pray - whether it’s in groups or individually. I work at a catholic hospital, so prayer in meetings is regular. I don’t take particular offense to this. Then again, why would I?

    Silicon Valley is in their own bubble. At this point, bias of any kind would seem unsurprising. I just wish it wasn’t so obvious.

  • Gloria Jordan
    Gloria Jordan

    Praying and evangelizing is new, it was brought to us by the Moral Majority that morphed into Evangelicals . Ask someone over 50 if religion was discussed in the workplace, ask them if they know the religious affiliation of their coworkers.

    I am a Christian but I don’t want organized prayer and worship in the workplace . I can pray at home, I can pray in m car, I can pray on the rest room, can even pray silently in my cubicle. The whole public prayer and worship is more about the spectacle , having

    Praying and evangelizing is new, it was brought to us by the Moral Majority that morphed into Evangelicals . Ask someone over 50 if religion was discussed in the workplace, ask them if they know the religious affiliation of their coworkers.

    I am a Christian but I don’t want organized prayer and worship in the workplace . I can pray at home, I can pray in m car, I can pray on the rest room, can even pray silently in my cubicle. The whole public prayer and worship is more about the spectacle , having the appearance of religion but really lacking a core belief in Christ. No one admonishes Texas for having a problem with Liberals or being too zealous in their religious belief.

    Based on how American Christians speak and act now, I would not be open to accepting the type of “Christ” they offer. Thankfully I know the Christ of the Gospel and I hold to that and not organized religion.

  • Vidya S.
    Vidya S.

    The author's dismissal of people "embracing a hodgepodge of Eastern religious values" rankled me a bit, because it seems as if she is being condescending in the exact same way she claims she is experiencing. Silicon Valley has a huge South Asian population who do not follow traditional Western religions. She's suddenly in a place where her identity is no longer the 'norm' or the 'standard' and perhaps feels threatened by it. I mean, just because non-religious people do yoga and drink turmeric latte

    The author's dismissal of people "embracing a hodgepodge of Eastern religious values" rankled me a bit, because it seems as if she is being condescending in the exact same way she claims she is experiencing. Silicon Valley has a huge South Asian population who do not follow traditional Western religions. She's suddenly in a place where her identity is no longer the 'norm' or the 'standard' and perhaps feels threatened by it. I mean, just because non-religious people do yoga and drink turmeric latte, it doesn’t mean that these things have lost its meaning to practicing Hindus.

    That said, I'm not surprised at the bias, but I am curious if the author sees the difference between atheism and secularism? Most of America - even large cities - is steeped in Christian culture. Mentions of “God” is everywhere, even the pledge of allegiance.

    Frankly, I don't into buy the Christian persecution complex.

  • Jing Cao
    Jing CaoQuartz

    Two things come to mind after reading this story (which was super on-point).

    One: The “rational” Silicon Valley is also where wealthy tech people spend money getting blood transfusions from young healthy individuals for health and wellness. Similarly, plenty of “rational” tech-minded parents are also anti-vaxxers.

    Two (SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SILICON VALLEY): One of my favorite jokes from this past season centered around a founder who was closeted as a Christian man (who also happened to have gay

    Two things come to mind after reading this story (which was super on-point).

    One: The “rational” Silicon Valley is also where wealthy tech people spend money getting blood transfusions from young healthy individuals for health and wellness. Similarly, plenty of “rational” tech-minded parents are also anti-vaxxers.

    Two (SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SILICON VALLEY): One of my favorite jokes from this past season centered around a founder who was closeted as a Christian man (who also happened to have gay parents and was gay). When he was outed as Christian, he became an outcast. The best jokes all derive from reality.

  • Bob Young
    Bob YoungRetired

    What’s happening with the culture in Silicon Valley seems to me to be a little like inbreeding and no good can come from that. The results of this inbreeding is firmly entrenched as evidenced by the statistics whereby half proclaim to be atheists or agnostic compared to only 7% of the general population.

    The Bible says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1

    What’s happening with the culture in Silicon Valley seems to me to be a little like inbreeding and no good can come from that. The results of this inbreeding is firmly entrenched as evidenced by the statistics whereby half proclaim to be atheists or agnostic compared to only 7% of the general population.

    The Bible says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14). The stakes are high in that there are eternal consequences to what we believe and hold to be true. It appears there is a huge culture that is quite willing to dismiss Christianity out of hand without doing the due diligent research that they would do in matters of much less consequence.

  • Aimée Hart
    Aimée HartCEO at SHYFT

    The challenge now, as a Christian, is to hold out Jesus in such a way that a person, on the left or the right, can see him as someone that is neither right or left. Easier said than done!

  • Excuse me, but why is an ayahuasca ceremony being depicted as “partying”? It is anything but. I do not care if you are religious, but do your research. Taking ayahuasca is most certainly not to be related to “partying” in any sense of the term.

    Perhaps it is the religious that is not making an attempt at understanding the counterculture.

    LIFE is sacred. The celebration of life and coming together as a community is sacred. By no means does this mean that Steve Jobs and the like are idolized as messiah.

  • Then again, Peter Thiel is an outspoken gay conservative...so it’s not like there aren’t outliers that are offering alternative viewpoints from places of immense power in tech.

  • The counter cultural bite is that they haven’t read it, partially due to conservative obstinance and a painfully high place of self worship, and that leaves them without any references but their own biases and the biases of their peers.

  • Trevor Zenwood
    Trevor ZenwoodBusiness Owner

    Im a mostly white male over 50 non religious financial and constitutional conservative / libertarian. Conservative means a person who wants to follow and conserve the constitution. It doesn’t mean that you are Christian. Conservatives want to be individuals without government intervention. It doesn’t mean we want everyone to be Christians.

    Maybe one day after we all feel equally discriminated we can finally get back to a system where you are simply responsible for your own condition and your own

    Im a mostly white male over 50 non religious financial and constitutional conservative / libertarian. Conservative means a person who wants to follow and conserve the constitution. It doesn’t mean that you are Christian. Conservatives want to be individuals without government intervention. It doesn’t mean we want everyone to be Christians.

    Maybe one day after we all feel equally discriminated we can finally get back to a system where you are simply responsible for your own condition and your own lot in life. Maybe if we just sue each other enough the government will stop trying to socially engineer a Europa for us.

    If you don’t want to hire me of decorate my cake, no problem. I’ll find someone who will and I certainly won’t cry to the government for help.

  • Catherine Tannahill
    Catherine Tannahillprof, teacher

    I have been thinking about this and wonder if there is perhaps more depth to it than there seems. SV has issues with diversity, I understand. perhaps the new age and frat boy image is not appealing to those groups that are considered under-repped. while it is exciting, it can also be exhausting when you have to go home to a chaotic household of young children. I am not belittling that perspective but frankly I had outgrown undergrad college life by the time I was 25. I got all the drama I needed at home.

  • pablo Seoane Voeites
    pablo Seoane Voeites

    I think is more a question of respect and assertiveness from both sides; in fact, from any side. It is the “I am right, you are wrong” type of attitude from some small percentage of persons what causes these problems. It should not be a problem to profess any religion or absence of believes anywhere in the USA (not to mention the rest of the planet). The problem is when we don’t respect and accept other people’s beliefs and we disrespect them.

    I don’t care if you believe in a specific description

    I think is more a question of respect and assertiveness from both sides; in fact, from any side. It is the “I am right, you are wrong” type of attitude from some small percentage of persons what causes these problems. It should not be a problem to profess any religion or absence of believes anywhere in the USA (not to mention the rest of the planet). The problem is when we don’t respect and accept other people’s beliefs and we disrespect them.

    I don’t care if you believe in a specific description of God or in Humanity or in multiple universes, as long as you are a good person.

    We, as a society, decide what it’s acceptable and what not. And regardless of our thinking, we should defend and stand up when we see somebody being attacked, whether we believe the same or not. We should defend individual freedom as long as it is respectful and according to the Constitution and freedom of speech and religion without offenses.

    Easy to say, really hard to achieve. But that should be the goal, right?

    My 2 cents.

  • Madhu Rengasamy
    Madhu RengasamyPhD, Clinical Reg Affairs Consultant

    This is an extremely relevant brilliant piece of writing that brings to light this issue of whats “cool” versus “uncool” in Silicon Valley. Living in the bay area and having worked as a consultant with a major company here- I have seen and experienced this attitude amongst many people. Its almost like in high school, where you were either amongst the popular kids

    or you blended with the walls (either because you were ignored or scared to voice your not-cool opinion). Im a vegetarian (from birth

    This is an extremely relevant brilliant piece of writing that brings to light this issue of whats “cool” versus “uncool” in Silicon Valley. Living in the bay area and having worked as a consultant with a major company here- I have seen and experienced this attitude amongst many people. Its almost like in high school, where you were either amongst the popular kids

    or you blended with the walls (either because you were ignored or scared to voice your not-cool opinion). Im a vegetarian (from birth and by choice) but I hate the Impossible burger... and dont turn my nose down on others who make their own choices! Live and let live people!

  • David Landau
    David LandauManaging Partner

    “Silicon Valley holds vast economic influence, and it needs to be open to hiring and retaining employees who don’t fit its image. Without it, paradoxically, an industry and culture that professes progressivism, open-mindedness, and a devotion to science and empiricism ends up becoming the most exclusionary and prone to magical thinking.”

  • Julie Hightower
    Julie Hightower

    I don’t understand why man wants to be God. Can someone please explain it to me. I believe God is more powerful than man.

  • Keith Dasher
    Keith DasherRetired at WhereeverIwannabe

    Those of us who are Christians are taught to live the life of Christ in all things we do. Something that is sometimes forgotten is we are not to judge others. We are human and mistakes are made because we are not perfect. In the workplace we can live a Christian life and set an example to others without passing judgement on those who do not believe. If others choose to push their values on us or speak against our beliefs, we must be strong . Christ taught us to expect this from those who don’t share our faith. Peace.

  • Shanell M
    Shanell M

    In a world where religion is a touchy subject no matter what you practice/believe I find it not surprising that those who are religious keep their beliefs hidden from the work place. Aside from the fact the religion is a deeply personal choice I don’t feel like it has a place in the workplace and keep my religious beliefs to myself and separate from my profession. That being said.... why can’t we all just get along? Why do some feel the need to force their religion or lack thereof on others? We can all live in harmony if we allow it.

  • PETERSON TEIXEIRA
    PETERSON TEIXEIRACEO at Peterson Teixeira Company

    A huge problem actually. For example, take my Twitter account: https://twitter.com/petersonteixera (yes, with just one "i"), you can clearly see that Twitter has even altered my number of Moments to ZERO. Obviously that's not true as you can see that my 2nd tweet is already a Moment (only desktop version shows the number of Moments). I have 10 Moments.

    Since social networks are rigged, I just shifted my strategy tweeting on targeted accounts to drive them to my profirl. And it worked pretty well

    A huge problem actually. For example, take my Twitter account: https://twitter.com/petersonteixera (yes, with just one "i"), you can clearly see that Twitter has even altered my number of Moments to ZERO. Obviously that's not true as you can see that my 2nd tweet is already a Moment (only desktop version shows the number of Moments). I have 10 Moments.

    Since social networks are rigged, I just shifted my strategy tweeting on targeted accounts to drive them to my profirl. And it worked pretty well. So they did that in return.

    But Trump's Moments are all good apparently. Not to worry. They'll probably rollback this as soon as I blow up, fearing more bad PR from investigative journalism.

    Cute persecution nonetheless.

  • Avery Vukhac
    Avery VukhacCo-Founder and CEO at Camo Slime

    Hmmm.

  • mac curtis
    mac curtis

    everyone has faith, question is in what. maybe like the song says it's faster horses, older whiskey, younger women, and more money. or like we all have to serve someone. we are not sent here to stay, nor are we sent here to judge, we are sent here to be fruit inspectors. and everyone knows bad fruit when they get it. you can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair. you may eat the devil's corn but he'll choke you on the cobb. the pleasant wind

    everyone has faith, question is in what. maybe like the song says it's faster horses, older whiskey, younger women, and more money. or like we all have to serve someone. we are not sent here to stay, nor are we sent here to judge, we are sent here to be fruit inspectors. and everyone knows bad fruit when they get it. you can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair. you may eat the devil's corn but he'll choke you on the cobb. the pleasant wind blows, we are happy, it stops and we long for it's return.

  • PC Fee
    PC Fee

    right on point.

  • Kunjan Patel
    Kunjan Patel

    What about liberals working for companies like koch or in industries such as oil and gas or even healthcare these days. No piece on them that has been going on for a while.

  • Mark Daume
    Mark Daume

    I AM willing to say that the lack of religion IS the problem. No morals, respect for others...

  • Lesly Joseph
    Lesly Joseph

    Very interesting story followed by s deries of comments that are right on the money.

  • G.Venus  Chan
    G.Venus Chan

    This article is wayyyy toooo long...

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