Monthly Archives: September 2015

Religious Freedom and Imposing Your Religion or An Excuse to Fire an Islamic Employee?

According to CNN — http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/05/travel/muslim-flight-attendant-feat/index.html — a Muslim woman working for an airline has brought an action up with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission because she was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol.  According to the article, she had converted is Islam while an employee of the airline and was aware of the job requirements.  It’s unclear if she served alcohol before her conversion.  It’s also unclear if the Islamic prohibition against alcohol includes serving it to non-Muslims or just against consuming it.

If you’re Jewish and observe the Sabbath, you should not take a job that requires you to work on Friday evenings and Saturday.    But, if you’re Jewish and own a shop, you could employ non Jews or non observant Jews to work in the shop on Saturday.  Similarly, Christian Sabbatarians can either close their stores on Sunday as the Chick fil A company does or can hire non Sabbatarians to work that day.

If this woman worked in a restaurant that served alcohol, would she be able to define her job to exclude serving customers requesting a glass or wine or beer? Perhaps someone else could bring the alcoholic beverages to the table, but could she refuse to take the order?   One could hardly imagine how this would work.  There are rules that prevent discrimination in hiring, but However, there’s no right to a job with an airline.

Segregationists cite chapter and verse supporting their claim — http://thetencommandmentsministry.us/ministry/bible_and_segregation .  Should they be able to refuse service to non white customers in private establishments that provide food or lodging?

This case bears much similarity to the Rowan County marriage case which was decided against the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, citing her religious beliefs.  Her comment that the votres of 5 Supreme Court justices don’t make it a law is self serving bullshit.  If they voted in a way supporting her views, it’s unlikely she would make that claim.

Pacifists should not join the army.  Those opposed to the death penalty should so state before going on a jury deciding a capital murder case and recuse themselves.  Vegans citing religious reasons  probably ought not work in slaughter houses.  People with a religious objection to gambling should not work in casinos.

But there is possibly another explanation.  If the woman did not serve alcohol before and the airline required her to serve alcohol after she started wearing a head covering,  could it be the airline did not want to have overtly Islamic employees facing the public?  Who knows?  Maybe it will come out in the EEOC hearing.

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Kentucky Clerk Refuses Wedding License to Gay Couple, but I Have the Solution.

The New York Times, bastion of the Liberal Establishment, said on 1 Sept. that “A county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds denied licenses to gay couples on Tuesday, despite the Supreme Court refusal to support her position. … Ms. Davis told the Supreme Court that her Apostolic Christian faith forbade her to affix her name to a document endorsing the view that the marriages of gay men and lesbians were authentic.”

Suppose her religious beliefs would not allow her to affix her name to a marriage between people of two distinct races or religions.  Would that be acceptable?  Suppose she objected on religious grounds to grant wedding licenses to Boslovinians?  Would that be acceptable?

There is a simple solution.  She can resign if her religious beliefs prevent her from performing her duties.

However, that begs the question of what the state can require of its employees with regard  to the practice of their religious beliefs.  For example, can the state force employees to work on the sabbath day?  If one works for the police force and an emergency arises, can the chief of police enforce a no leave policy that requires Jews to work on Saturday, Christians to work on Sunday, Muslims to work on Friday during prayers, Catholics to work on Good Friday, etc.

There is a difference between requirements and prohibitions.  Various courts have ruled against allowing snake handling by religious organizations when local statues forbid the practice.   Polygamy is illegal.  Could a clerk whose religious beliefs allowed or encouraged polygamy grant licenses for polygamous marriages?   Is this a denial of religious freedom.

There is a simpler solution:  Someone else in the office can sign the document.   In fact, for a modest fee plus expenses, I will go to Rowan County, Kentucky and sign marriage licenses.  And as I’m an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, for an additional modest fee, I will perform the ceremony.

Rowan County, this is an offer you cannot refuse.