The Viral LinkedIn Photo That Sparked a Debate about Faith at Work

Eric Little wasn’t trying to make a bold statement to the business world when he posted a picture of a Bible study to LinkedIn last December. He just liked the impromptu snapshot of the weekly study he hosts and wanted to share it.

“We were praying before starting our Bible study, and I just looked up and took the picture,” said Little, the president of Crimson Building Company in Dallas/Fort Worth and a deacon at his church. “Later on that day, I looked at the picture and thought it was pretty powerful. Then without giving it much thought, I posted it on our Facebook page and on LinkedIn.”

The photo generated only 26 likes, three comments and three shares on Facebook, but people are still talking about it on LinkedIn three months later. More than 63,000 people have liked the post, which also has spurred nearly 11,000 comments.

“One of the most satisfying things about our week. Really good group of guys,” Little said in the post. “Every HR manual on the planet recommends against doing this, but I don't care. God is at the center of what we do and we'll never back away from that."

The response has been mixed. Some people have lectured Little for injecting religion into a business networking site. Others have criticized him for creating a potentially hostile workplace for people who don’t share his faith. But many of the comments laud him for setting a good example and daring to let his light shine online.

Little has received hundreds of supportive cards, messages, phone calls and emails as a result of the LinkedIn post. Several people also have visited Crimson’s office, including one who joined the Bible study.

Through it all, Little has remained steadfast in his faith, firm in his conviction to live it at work and defensive of his decision to talk about it on LinkedIn. A former Marine, he hasn’t shied from rhetorical battle with his critics.

The Bible study is not mandatory and is conducted before work each Wednesday. But one human resources professional who is Jewish warned Little that an employee facing discipline could cite lack of participation in the study as the motivation for action, and that would be a tough claim to defend.

“Supporting one particular religion in the workplace is a disaster,” she added.