Another Christian With A Martyr Complex

The EEOC recently ruled against an employee of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment who complained of religious harassment because the director of the agency sent an email to all employees about an office party to celebrate another employee’s marriage. The employee, who is Pentecostal, didn’t like that because it was a same-sex marriage. And apparently, informing him that he works with gay people is stomping all over his religious views. Volokh has an excerpt from the ruling:

On December 1, 2011 [sic], Complainant filed a formal EEO complaint alleging that he was subjected to harassment and reprisal on the basis of his religious beliefs (Pentecostal). Briefly, the complaint alleged that, on November 18, 2010 [sic], Complainant was the recipient of an email from the Acting Director, sent to the NCEA [EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment] global list-serve (which includes Complainant and all other NCEA employees), announcing an on-site celebration of a same-sex marriage of an employee which read as follows:

[Employee A] and his partner [named] are getting married this Sunday. The IO is sponsoring an informal celebration to congratulate [Employee A] on this happy event. Please feeI free to drop by the IO conference room on Thursday, October 7 at 4:30 P.M. to wish them well.

Thirteen days later, on October 18, 2010, Complainant responded to the Acting Director’s email, with a copy to the NCEA global list-serve, with the following message:

I feel your message announcing the celebration of the “union” of [Employee A] and his “Partner” was offensive and insensitive to my religious faith as a Christian. I think it is general knowledge that the Christian faith only condones “marriages” between men and women, not men and other men. As acting Office Director, I feel you could have been more “sensitive” and “neutral” with regards to this issue.

The next day, NCEA employees sent approximately 15–20 emails on the global list-serve (including Complainant) congratulating Employee A on his marriage. None of these emails specifically mentioned Complainant or his email. The record does show that two employees did email Complainant personally (not sent to the NCEA global list-serve) and expressed the opinion that Complainant’s email was insensitive because it was sent to everyone, including Employee A, rather than just to the Acting Director.

By final decision dated April 14, 2011, the Agency dismissed the complaint, pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1614.107(a)(1), for failure to state a claim. The instant appeal followed. On appeal, Complainant argues that the 15 employees who copied him on the congratulatory emails despite receiving his email protesting the Acting Director’s original email were retaliating against him and harassing him because of his religious faith and beliefs. Complainant claimed that the barrage of emails “affected his psychological well-being in the office.”

Volokh’s reaction:

I’ve argued that the current state of hostile environment harassment law is too broad, but it’s not that ridiculously broad. Hint: If you publicly complain about a colleague’s celebration, and a bunch of people respond by conspicuously congratulating the colleague, that’s disagreement — it’s not harassment.

You can bet this will be used as yet another example of faux persecution of Christians.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • MikeMa

    I guess it was too much to ask this religious prick to just ignore the happiness around him and continue to wallow in his christian misery.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    I thank Nothingness daily that I don’t have to deal with hatefilled assholes like “claimant” on a regular basis.

  • d cwilson

    Complainant argues that the 15 employees who copied him on the congratulatory emails despite receiving his email protesting the Acting Director’s original email were retaliating against him and harassing him because of his religious faith and beliefs. Complainant claimed that the barrage of emails “affected his psychological well-being in the office.”

    So, 15 = “a barrage”?

    And apparently, none of the congratulatory emails made reference to his complaint and only two employees emailed him directly to say that they disagreed with his remarks. He’s got quite the fragile psyche, doesn’t he?

    I guess now we have to worry about getting gay cooties through our computers. What will we ever do?

  • http://www.rodlamkey.net reverendrodney

    I wonder if this idiot also protests Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist weddings. If not, he isn’t doing his Pentecostal best.

  • Larry

    I bet that prick gets totally invited to a lot of bitchin’ parties and celebrations by his co-workers.

  • Who Knows?

    You don’t have to be an idiot to be a Christian, but is sure helps.

  • carlsonjok

    I guess now we have to worry about getting gay cooties through our computers. What will we ever do?

    Undoubtedly, something fabulous.

  • Michael Heath

    Compliant writes:

    I feel your message announcing the celebration of the “union” of [Employee A] and his “Partner” was offensive and insensitive to my religious faith as a Christian. I think it is general knowledge that the Christian faith only condones “marriages” between men and women, not men and other men. As acting Office Director, I feel you could have been more “sensitive” and “neutral” with regards to this issue.

    If I were this asshole’s boss I would first stop by his office to correct him on the proper use of scare quotes, which this asshole even uses as a pejorative against his own beliefs.

    I would like to, but wouldn’t, also point out to this asshole that’s he factually incorrect that his demonstrated bigotry towards gay people is a prejudice held by all Christians or all Christian denominations, providing him with a list of Christian denominations who do not demonstrate hatred and bigotry towards gay people, their families, their friends, and their associates. Obviously this asshole is unconsciously projecting that’s he’s not sensitive or neutral, a self-evident observation his boss regrettably must keep to himself if he’s prudent.

    A nearby small city, Traverse City, is holding a vote tomorrow on whether to repeal a recently passed law which prohibits employers from discriminating against gay people in the work place. This law was passed by the city council several months ago. I was very happy to see the liberal Christian denominations who’ve helped lead the effort to continue to protect gay people’s equal rights. Bravo to them.

    Traverse City is a gorgeous liberal bastion in a sea of all red. It’s where Michael Moore started an an all-volunteer, non-profit state-of-the-art movie theater and hosts an annual film festival.

  • Aliasalpha

    I guess now we have to worry about getting gay cooties through our computers. What will we ever do?

    On a scale of 1-10, how unethical would it be for me to make & sell a christian themed “antivirus” application that prevented true christians(TM) catching “the gay” over the internet?

  • raven

    Some xians are so desperate for martyrs that they martyr themselves.

    It’s a minor ritual called auto-martyrdom. One loon goes out, finds a lion, and smacks it in the nose. The rest of them cheer wildly. John Freshwater did that in Ohio.

    Martyrs are good but the best martyrs are someone else.

    They also love to martyr OPM, other people’s money.

  • John Hinkle

    As acting Office Director, I feel you could have been more “sensitive” and “neutral” with regards to this issue.

    Cheeses, how self-centered can you get? What, everyone has to dance around this guy’s bigotry and be all sensitive and neutral and shit? What happened to ‘do unto others’?

  • d cwilson

    On a scale of 1-10, how unethical would it be for me to make & sell a christian themed “antivirus” application that prevented true christians(TM) catching “the gay” over the internet?

    I’d put it on par with the atheist group that was selling post-rapture pet care for when Fide gets Left Behind ™.

  • fastlane

    Note, even in the complaint, it was obvious that the initial email was an invitation, not a requirement. I’m pretty sure that’s the only way he might have possibly had a leg to stand on.

    This is quite unlike the much more pernicious pushing of religion that goes on in schools, and in the military, which is accompanied by much more pressure, either systemic, or from peers.

  • Pinky

    I can sympathize with the horrific angst the complainant must feel.

    I had to work for years with people who proudly paraded their membership in a death cult. They continuously celebrated a savior, they say, died a bloody, painful death. Even going so far as participating in a gruesome ritual of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their savior. Some even experienced bliss while involved in this cannibalistic reenactment.

    I became afraid of the cultists after learning their deity demanded the brutal stabbing and burning of an early adherent’s beloved son. My coworkers thought the story of the Sacrifice of Abraham to be inspired. This turned out to be only the gateway sacrifice, the deity did not stop until he had killed his own son. I wonder about the sanity of those who follow such a cruel, capricious, despotic deity yet say they are concerned about the amount of violence in the world. What, there is not enough violence?

    These cultists were everywhere throughout the hierarchy of the company I worked at. They demanded their ritual of mumbling instructions to their deity be conducted before every meeting or event.

    The cultists most irritating proclivity was pounding on people’s doors early on weekend mornings to offer strangers eternal happiness after they die. Few fell for this claim after reading the small print and found entry to this so-called eternal bliss included joining in their silly rituals and giving the group at least 10% of their earnings for life!

    As I understood it; the cultists eventual goal in life was to die and be transported to a place like a sports stadium VIP box so they could look down and laugh at the men, women and children who had not heard their special message or had heard of (they called it) The Word and had ignored it because of the total nonsense that shaped the cultist’s dogma. Devotees eagerly await the sadistic enjoyment of watching others burn forever in hell while they yell: “I told you so.”

    So yeah I can see how hurtful and insulting a few words announcing the joining of two people who love each other can be.

  • Aquaria

    If I were this asshole’s boss I would first stop by his office to correct him on the proper use of scare quotes, which this asshole even uses as a pejorative against his own beliefs.

    Seeing this outburst gave me a real smile.

    Let it all hang out, Heath.

    I feel your message announcing the celebration of the “union” of [Employee A] and his “Partner” was offensive and insensitive to my religious faith as a Christian. I think it is general knowledge that the Christian faith only condones “marriages” between men and women, not men and other men. As acting Office Director, I feel you could have been more “sensitive” and “neutral” with regards to this issue.

    This is familiar, somehow… I mean, if you simply replace men with “white” and women or partner with “colored”, it would sound exactly like…

  • cptdoom

    I wonder if this idiot also protests Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist weddings. If not, he isn’t doing his Pentecostal best.

    I’m glad he doesn’t work at my company; he’d have a fit if he’d been invited to the baby shower we just had for the unmarried employee who’s living in sin with her boyfriend.

  • carolw

    I guess some people’s keyboards don’t come with that nifty little “delete” button. Mine has it and boy, does it do wonders for my sanity when I get inane god-botherer emails.

  • DaveL

    I’m reminded of the classic Chris Farley SNL sketch:

    That’s right, Bennet Brauer here with another commentary. didn’t think the suits would have me back perhaps. Thought they’d have my derriere replaced by one of those cookie cutter store mannequins. Well maybe I’m not “the norm”. I’m not “camera friendly.” I don’t “wear clothes that fit me.” I’m not a “heartbreaker.” I haven’t “had sex with a woman.” I don’t know “how that works.” I guess I don’t “fall in line.” I’m not “hygienic.” I don’t “wipe properly.” I don’t “own a toothbrush” or “let my scabs heal.” I can’t “reach all the parts of my body.” When I sleep I “sweat profusely.” But I guess the “powers that be” will keep signing my paycheck at least until John and Jane Q. Viewer start to go for the remote so they can go back to watching commentators who don’t “frighten children” and don’t “eat their own dandruff” and don’t “pop their whiteheads with a compass they used in high school.” Thank you Kevin.

  • eric

    Yeah, the complainant is a jerk. OTOH I tend to hate getting my inbox filled with replies-to-all back on some generic birthday/new baby/marriage-type message. People, you all have brains; would it really kill you to use them for 0.5 seconds before choosing what type of reply to send? No its not illegal to reply to all. But its probably going make you look like an network-incompetent idiot.