Why We Must Reject Special Treatment for Religious Employees

Four months ago, I began looking for two full-time employees to help my publishing business with research and sales. Before I interviewed anyone, I wrote an exhaustive job description for both positions, and mailed it to each viable candidate.

After I’d found the right duo, the contracts were signed, and I was looking forward to many pleasant office interactions — and higher revenues!

But trouble soon started when my first hire, Miriam, informed me that she is Amish, and is extremely uncomfortable around computers, iPads, cell phones, routers, and anything to do with the Internet. For religious reasons, she declined to work with technology, but offered to do research using the newspapers and books in my local library, which is still powered by an old-fashioned card catalog.

The other newcomer on my staff also threw me for a loop. Though Avram is a sales rep who was expected to frequently travel to book fairs and literary festivals, his Jewish faith came first. On his first Monday, Avram told me he won’t work or even fly on the Sabbath. As some of these crucial industry events take place on weekends, my company’s bottom line would be suffering.

Though I liked Avram and Miriam, I told them after a few weeks that it wasn’t going to work out. I gave them each a pink slip and a pretty generous check, and wished them the best.

Now I’m being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for “violating the religious rights” of my ex-employees.

What do you think? Fair?

Okay, actually, I made all that up to force some clarity on the issue. But I didn’t really have to resort to fantasy. This kind of thing happens more and more these days — often involving the followers of Muhammad.

Consider this news from Illinois:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a trucking company for allegedly violating the religious rights of two former employees.

The Peoria Journal Star reports the lawsuit filed May 29 alleges Star Transport, Inc. fired two Muslim truck drivers for refusing to deliver alcohol in 2009. The lawsuit contends the company failed to provide the men “with a reasonable accommodation and by terminating them because of their religion.”

The EEOC seeks back pay and damages for the men, and a court order barring future discrimination.

And remember this?

In the latest example of religious beliefs creating tension in the workplace, some Muslims in the Twin Cities are adhering to a strict interpretation of the Qur’an that prohibits the handling of pork products. Instead of swiping the items themselves, they are asking non-Muslim employees or shoppers to do it for them.

There are also plentiful news reports about male Muslim workers who complain bitterly about having to take orders from female managers; and about employers accused of not sufficiently catering to Islamic demands for five-times-a-day prayer:

Prayer times vary daily, based on the times of sunrise and sunset. In July, the difference between the afternoon and sunset prayers can be four hours apart; in December, it’s just two hours.

The changing prayer times can be disruptive to assembly-line manufacturers that maintain assigned break schedules and can’t afford to have their workers leave their work stations at unscheduled times. Many [Somali Muslims working in the U.S.] argue that their prayers take no longer than a bathroom break, yet bathroom breaks aren’t prohibited.

I would consider that a good argument if these employees learned to void their bladders and bowels while praying. Otherwise, the bathroom breaks and the prayer pauses would obviously be cumulative, allowing Allah fans to go AWOL twice as often as everyone else. Is that what the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calls equality?

Is it equality when Muslim public-school teachers in Denmark refuse to shake the hand of any woman, and the Ministry of Education just shrugs and looks the other way?

If, by federal decree, employees with deeply-held beliefs can claim workplace exceptions and special accommodations, why is this privilege offered only to the religious? Shouldn’t my hardcore vegetarian friend be entitled to a kitchen job at McDonald’s, and then stipulate that he won’t handle any meat products? Shouldn’t my pacifist neighbor be able to get hired at defense contractor General Dynamics and promptly announce that she won’t be complicit in manufacturing missiles and munitions?

The answer, very clearly, is no. They have no right to make such demands (but they certainly have the right to look for another position).

The same ought to be true for people with religious objections.

  • If your god tells you not to handle pork, please don’t take a job as a supermarket cashier.
  • If you god won’t allow you to transport alcohol, please don’t become a freight trucker or a cab driver.
  • If your god frowns upon your selling birth control pills, please don’t go to work at a pharmacy.
  • If your god commands you to attend religious conventions during work time, feel free to take any job you can get, but please have the courtesy to inform your employer of your pious intentions beforehand.

No matter what the EEOC tries to tell us all, religious beliefs ought to be irrelevant at work. Employers and colleagues should be forgiven for having no interest in how you express your phantasmagorical inner life — including the part where you have to take a never-ending series of extra breaks, at their expense, to satisfy your chosen superstitions.

(images via Legal Futures and Colombo Telegraph)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Matt

    “No matter what the EEOC tries to tell us all, religious beliefs ought to be irrelevant at work.”

    I agree. Also, religious beliefs ought to be irrelevant to everything else as well.

    • http://agmmusings.blogspot.com/ Alessia Lane

      Amen to that! ;)

    • The Other Weirdo

      Preach it, brother!

    • Elmer Gomez

      Hallelujah!

    • Chris

      Especially laws that all of us have to follow…

    • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

      You might also say that people have the right to be argumentative and don’t have to reason together at all. You’re an existentialist, I believe in being, consciousness and bliss. Are we to fight all the time? Can we not put these things aside to do something important like support ourselves and our families?

      • Teddy

        You may find it hard to make this point against many people. I would say almost everyone thinks they exist, accepts they have consciousness and are open to the possibility of extreme happiness. Not too much to argue about here.

        If on the other hand if you institutionalised bliss and refused to work unless it would put you in a blissful state, there may have to be some disagreements

      • Baby_Raptor

        Sure. They can stop demanding special treatment and do their jobs like the rest of us do, or find a job that doesn’t conflict with their beliefs.

        Their beliefs, their responsibility.

        • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

          They are not demanding the priveleges, they already exist.

        • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

          Are you not going to give Jewish people time off for Yum Kippur, Hannukah and Passover?

  • asonge

    I don’t agree completely here. There’s a reasonableness standard here, and you’ve cherry-picked the ones where there’s little hope of accommodation. On the other side of the line of things I’d like protected, is that if a company makes a somewhat-arbitrary rule that headgear must not be worn in the office, that religious exemptions should probably be granted unless that was for some kind of safety reason.

    Though, given the Muslims who’d like to pray, I’d like to mention that smokers have long-gotten smoke breaks about that regularly, and that hasn’t really hurt bottom lines. Employers do not own their employees, but they should be able to demonstrate some kind of non-trivial harm in order to justify religious discrimination (though the standard should probably be related to the size of the business…smaller businesses would have a tougher time with accommodation).

    • rhodent

      Having worked at a place that had several smokers and a couple of Muslims all doing the same job, I’d go even farther than you on this point: the smokers were taking far more breaks than the Muslims. The Muslims rarely if ever took more than a couple of prayer breaks throughout the day, whereas the smokers could be relied upon to take a break every hour or so.

      That’s not to say there weren’t any issues with the Muslims’ break-taking (a smoker would put their smoke break off a few minutes if it suddenly got really busy; a Muslim would not put their prayer break off under the same circumstances), but all in all I would find it hard to argue that the Muslims’ religion was a greater drain on productivity than the smokers’ addiction. If a business is willing to accommodate smokers, it ought to be willing to accommodate Muslims as well.

      • Terry Firma

        Actually, if I were the employer, I wouldn’t tolerate once-an-hour smoking breaks either. How would that be fair to people who DON’T smoke? Smokers can light up during the lunch hour and during the regularly scheduled breaks.

        I vote that we grant NO special accommodations to smokers, to the prayerful, to compulsive online gamblers, to athletes (“sorry boss, gotta go for my 3 p.m. run”), or to fanatical Facebookers. Et cetera. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        • The Inconsistent Atheist

          Nobody should be getting any special accommodations. If any employer wants to hire people to work 12 hour shifts with no breaks for anything, they should be free to do so. Anyone who wants to work under those conditions would be free to do so. There is no reason for the government to mandate anything.

          • DavidMHart

            You think that morality comes from an omnipotent supernatural being, and yet don’t think that employers should be under the slightest legal obligation to not treat their employees like crap? How do you even begin to square that?

            And more to the point, do you understand that the free market is a fiction – that there is simply no way for someone to earn lots of money without distorting the market in ways that potentially allow that person to exploit their position, and that if we didn’t have democratically elected representatives dictating a minimum of fair play, we’d eventually end up in a Dickensian nightmare of a few oligarchs keeping the masses in a state of de facto serfdom?

            • Jimmy Z Williams

              You mean we’re not there yet? Can’t prove it by me.

          • baal

            TIA, you’re making me want to call you names. The result of your ill considered position is something akin to slavery.

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

            What is the phone number and email address of your employer so we can show and tell him this is your opinion?

          • Kurt Tappe

            > Nobody should be getting any special accommodations

            …unless it is something they have no control over. Under your draconian edict, no special restrooms for women. No handrails for the disabled. Etc. No, as others have said, a reasonableness evaluation must be performed.

        • rhodent

          I thought that the once-an-hour smoking breaks were excessive as well, but that’s what happened. In general the boss seemed to have the attitude that as long as the work got done he was happy. He did seem to notice who was working harder when promotions became available, though.

        • SirReal

          Back when I smoked and worked for the County, we were allowed to break our 15-minute break into three 5-minute breaks to smoke if we wanted to but we couldn’t do both. People who abused it lost the privilege. I do know those who abused it but weren’t caught… pissed me off because I followed it religiously… uh, to the letter.

      • edwin

        i dont know where you live but here in nova scotia a person that smokes is not treated the same as every one else. we only get our scheduled breaks as every one does but we have to maintain a distance of 15 feet from the nearest door, window or air intake, and yes that means we have to be outside to smoke no matter what the weather. so if people get special accommodations for their religion then we smokers want our smoking rooms back.

        • Keljopy

          A lot of employers around here are no longer allowing smoking on company property (and you aren’t allowed to leave during payed breaks, only your unpaid lunch break which is once in a 10 hour shift), so I don’t feel too bad for you. On the other hand I don’t think religious people should get any more special privileges than addicted people and the only “accommodations” should be those that don’t affect the business (like wearing a head covering in positions where it is not a safety hazard, although I feel the same sorts of allowances should then be made for other people with similar situations like people with tattoos in this case).

      • Mary C

        Well see what has happened in my neck of the woods is not that smokers are being accommodated, but the opposite. Shoot, it is getting hard to even find a hospital in NE OH where you are even allowed to be a smoker OFF the job. Edit to add – I am an RN, hence the hospital example.

        • Keljopy

          One of my employers allows smokers to take breaks a couple times in a 4 hour shift but would probably frown on a nonsmoker just going and sitting outside in the smoking area. My other employer doesn’t allow any smoking on company property, and my husband is not allowed to smoke at all to work at his job (and has to have the drug test to prove it). So we have the whole range here.

    • Space Cadet

      I get the sentiment about the smoke breaks, but you’re really comparing two different things. First, those breaks aren’t for smokers only, but for all employees (at least in California). Employees are entitled to a 10 or 15 minute break, not counting lunch breaks, for every 4 hours worked (unions may have different rules). Some choose to smoke, others do something else, but everyone takes the break. Second, those breaks are at the same time, every day, allowing for employers to schedule the day-to-day activities well in advance, knowing that the routine will only be disrupted by unforeseen events. As Terry highlighted in the article, the prayers would be at different times given what time of year it is.

      • onamission5

        This.
        Now, I have worked in places (restaurants) where smokers– and anyone– will take a quick sit-down when business slows to a crawl, simply because we had no way of really knowing if we’d get our legally timed breaks when the next rush hit. When it gets busy, chefs and servers don’t even get time to pee, let alone smoke or eat. There is a difference between grabbing a break when you can and walking off the line in the middle of the rush several times per shift, leaving your fellow employees to scramble to cover you while food burns and tickets get out of order.

        edited to add an example of front of house staff

        • Space Cadet

          Yeah, the hospitality industry is an entirely different animal when it comes to breaks. The restaurant I worked in was at a hotel that was used by tour groups. Occasionally those groups would forget to let us know that they were bringing in 100+ non-English speaking guests. When you can’t schedule accordingly for those groups and are woefully understaffed things like breaks weren’t even considered. You’d be lucky to be able to eat something while standing/working, much less sit down for ten minutes.

          • onamission5

            Forget to tell you? About a hundred people? *sputter*
            Like, how are you supposed to plan for such a contingency. OMG. My head would explode.

            • Space Cadet

              It wasn’t just the groups that would forget to mention they would be eating at the hotel, but the front desk staff would also forget to relay that info. Needless to say, the dining staff didn’t care too much for the front desk staff!

              The only plus side to all of that is we’d walk out with fantastic tips, because people would be sympathetic to the situation.

      • allein

        Exactly. When I worked retail, smokers didn’t get to take extra breaks just to smoke. They went out on their scheduled breaks (two 15-minute breaks and a half hour lunch for an 8 hour shift) to smoke. If that wasn’t enough, too bad.

    • Agrajag

      Agreed. I *do* think the employers should be expected to provide -reasonable- accomodation. That’s a fuzzy line of course, but courts deal with fuzzy lines every day. If there’s some minor detail of a job that someone is unwilling to do, yet workarounds seem easily possible, then I do think the employer should be required to accept that. But the same doesn’t apply if the thing that can’t be done is a major component of the job, or if accomodating the request is very troublesome or downright impossible.

      But I don’t think *religious* wishes should get preferential treatment, if there are other reasons, be they political or practical for a person to prefer not to do certain things, this should also be accomodated as long as that’s not a tricky thing to do.

      Put differently, the muslim should be free to take 2 10-minute prayer breaks in his workday and stay on 20 minutes longer at the end of the day if that’s practically possible, but I should also be free to (for example!) prolong my lunch-break by 20 minutes for a bank-appointment or something and compensate by working 20 minutes longer at the end of the day.

  • C Peterson

    I agree. We need the courts to clarify that the First Amendment right of free expression is limited to beliefs only, and can’t generally be extended to actions except where those actions don’t impact other people’s rights, or legal restrictions. In criminal matters, the courts have largely decided this already. But much less so with civil matters.

    An employer should be able to develop a job description, and be done with it. Anybody who is unable to do that job- for physical reasons, for moral reasons, for religious reasons- would not qualify for it, could legally be refused hiring, could legally be fired. No special cases.

    (Obviously, there can be some protections in place, as there are now for the physically handicapped, to ensure that job descriptions aren’t arbitrarily crafted to allow discrimination.)

    • Hypatia’s Daughter

      Yes. There is a big difference between not hiring ANYONE who is Jewish or Muslim or Catholic and not hiring an INDIVIDUAL because they refuse to perform the duties they are being paid to do.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Exactly. Because the reason for not hiring them would be that they refused to work Saturdays (which most people don’t like anyway), not because they are Jewish. There are probably Jews who would agree to work some Saturdays and people who would rather not work Saturdays for nonreligious reasons. So long as the sole reason isn’t religious (as in the employer just doesn’t like people of a certain faith) that’s not discrimination. It would in fact be discrimination to schedule all the other workers every Saturday to accommodate the religious beliefs of a few workers who refused to work that day.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Unless they offered to work Sundays to compensate, since no one likes working Sunday either … but that’s very much a sidenote.

  • digibud

    It would make me crazy to have to accommodate religious beliefs. Christians often complain that atheism is just another religion. Fine. Then let’s say that it goes against my religious beliefs to provide accommodation to other people’s religious beliefs.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      Or you could say that it goes against your “thoughtful ethical beliefs” as opposed to “heartfelt religious beliefs.”

    • Anna

      How very Saudi Arabian of you. You’re in good company.

  • kdp

    So, on job applications and in interviews, you’re not allowed to ask about a candidate’s religion/faith, but…they can sue the shit out of you if you fire them for substandard job performance due to their religious practices. No-win situation.

    • JaneRenee

      But you CAN ask, “Would there be any reason you wouldn’t be able to work on Sundays?” Or, “Is there any reason you wouldn’t be able to complete all of these listed tasks?”

      • kdp

        Good point, Jane. And if the candidate says, “Yes”, then later balks at working on Sundays, etc., you’ve got them on record as being deceptive during the interview.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

        Probably even safer/better to NOT ask the reason and instead just ask if they will be able to work whichever days or do whichever essential job duties. If the answer is No then the reason doesn’t matter, right?

        • JaneRenee

          Well, asking if there are any reasons why they couldn’t work or complete tasks is a yes or no question. :) I wouldn’t have them list reasons! You’re right.

      • Ambaa

        But there are so many questions you wouldn’t even think to ask! Sundays or Saturdays is just one potential conflict. I think there are so many religious/work place conflicts that the employer wouldn’t even think of. :(

        • JaneRenee

          But taking a random day off here and there I think is fine. It’s when people say, “I can never work Sundays.” Or, “I can never handle meat.” That’s a bit different than a day here and there.

    • bob

      False. You *can* ask about the religion: you just can’t make a hiring decision based on what you find out.

      • islandbrewer

        But the practical result is that you can’t ask, of course, lest it be fodder for a religious discrimination complaint.

        • Asnow

          So you all are saying, that it is unreasonable/unlawful for an employer to simply ask, “Do you have any personal aversion to handling pork products?” I see nothing wrong with that. Religion falls under the category of personal choice, after all. And, if the job position were in a sausage company, handling pork is probably a very important aspect of the job.

          • islandbrewer

            So you all are saying, that it is unreasonable/unlawful for an employer to simply ask, “Do you have any personal aversion to handling pork products?”

            No, you have it backwards. If the issue is simply handling pork (which, I think, should be technically fine, it’s the eating of pork that’s unkosher), the question “Any problem handling pork?” should be fine, and the reason for any aversion is irrelevant.

            If someone asks about religious convictions as a substitute for asking whether handling pork is a problem, it can lead to the assumption that there’s some religious discrimination at work.

      • tony

        which defeats the point of asking…
        “this is a sausage company…are you jewish?”
        “yes, it means I can’t handle pork”
        “oh in that case you are not hired”
        *lawsuit*

        • Adam Rubin

          I know it’s really besides the point, but Orthodox Jews can handle pork.

        • Mike Zysman

          No need to ask about the religion though. If the job involves handling pork, all the interviewer needs to ask say is “Handling pork is a regular part for this position. Is there any reason you would be unable to complete this task?”

          • Mary C

            Yes. And this is just one reason any HR dept worth its payroll will have new employees review and sign their job description at hire, and then at some regular interval thereafter.

        • Matt

          Jews can handle pork. You just sound ignorant.

    • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

      I do appreciate your comment. Every resume advisor tells you to leave off any mention of religion. They don’t care if it takes your heart away. They don’t care if it undermines your faith. Why is that? Can’t your religious/spiritual life be a selling point? Can’t an employer appreciate your faith and even endorse it? As you said, a vegetarian. If I put that on my resume aren’t I helping direct my job search. Wouldn’t it be keen to work in a health food store? If I say I have this interest in Indian philosophy, Vedanta, Vasistha, Shaivism doesn’t that look good for a bookstore or a library? Yet, I find resume experts like to disguise who we really are and ultimately subvert us in finding the job that is best suited to us.
      I also wonder why we exacerbate our differences. Not just Muslims but Jews do not eat pork. Hindus and Buddhists eat no meat at all. There are common threads in all religions and in secularity. The secular state allows religions to be tax free because it sees the humanistic good that is apparently the demand of the world’s scriptures. It’s something church and state have in common, the common good. It is supposed to be that tax breaks are based on this kind of thing (and not on political influence and political money).
      As a young idealist I struggled often with the question of whether what I did was moral and right. How could I work for a McDonalds when I was vegetarian? Why should I cut my hair just to get a job? But later on I wonder why weren’t there vegetarian businesses and why no places that attracted customers with long haired men? You’re right, it’s not fair that these employees made these over zealous demands, but it is often just as wrong for employers to make demands of employees.

      • James

        Really numnuts? “Can’t make demands of employees…” FFS

        • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

          Fuck off, shit for brains.

      • getbent

        Hindus and Buddhists eat no meat at all.

        This is an outright lie, “Buddhist monks and nuns have depended on almsfood. They were, and still are, prohibited from growing their own food, storing their own provisions or cooking their own meals. Instead, every morning they would make their day’s meal out of whatever was freely given to them by lay supporters. Whether it was rich food or coarse food, delicious or awful tasting it was to be accepted with gratitude and eaten regarding it as medicine. The Buddha laid down several rules forbidding monks from asking for the food that they liked. As a result, they would receive just the sort of meals that ordinary people ate – and that was often meat. http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/meat.html

        And on Hindus, “Historically and currently,[30] those Hindus who eat meat prescribe jhatka meat.[31] This is a common method of slaughter when Bali Sacrifices are made to some Hindu deities, however, Vedic rituals such as Agnicayana involved the strangulation of sacrificial goats.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_in_Hinduism#Non-vegetarian_Hindus

        Think before you type a bunch of bullshit.

        • Ambaa

          It certainly is not as cut and dry as Buddhists and Hindus don’t eat meat. Many of them don’t. It’s getting more and more common not to. It is one of the things that people think of when they think of those religions. But it is definitely more complex than that.

      • Baby_Raptor

        If the job you’re applying for somehow pertains to your religious/spiritual life, then sure. Sell away.

        If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t belong on the application. Is this really that hard to understand?

      • LadcyPegasus

        Actually they are right, do NOT put it on your resume, that is a discussion for the interview. If you require ANY form of special device/time off/ etc the interview is when you need to inform them of your needs; whether it is religious, disability related, personal in nature etc. You do not need to state WHY, simply say for personal reasons. They will either accept it and hire you or they won’t, it is a simple as that. Most applications ask if there is any reason why you cannot do the job as listed and if you do not put things like that down, you are not being truthful on the application and they can use that to fire you as well.

        • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

          So, who fuckin’ asked ya?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            By posting your thoughts on a public blog, you implicitly invite comment. If you can’t handle it, don’t make comments on a public forum.

            • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

              Like you said.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Before I interviewed anyone, I wrote an exhaustive job description for both positions

    Apparently you did a shit job of it.

    • Regina Carol Moore

      Did you read the entire article?

      Apparently you did a shit job of it.

  • The Captain

    I just can’t say it enough. If your religion prevents you from doing a job… you need to get another job!

    • Claus_Nielsen

      … Or another religion.

      There are so many to choose from!

    • John

      What about a religion where its OK to lie… you could say (Or more likely not) whatever to get hired then lower the boom… I’m sure it happens a lot

  • Erp

    Did the exhaustive job descriptions include work on Saturdays as essential or familiarity with standard tools of the trade? My guess is that if they did neither of those lawsuits would be going anywhere since both are essential to the job and accommodation imposes an undue burden on the employer. On the other hand should a Jehovah’s Witness employee be required to attend the company holiday party? Trickier might be requiring that when wining and dining as part of their work duties (unless hired as a restaurant critic) that the employee break dietary rules such as no alcohol or no pork/shrimp or no not-kosher/halal.

    Note that ‘special treatment’ for religious employees also includes protection of non-religious employees from religious employers (e.g., the XYZ lumber mill has a prayer breakfast complete with sermon each week that all employees must attend).

  • Compuholic

    Miriam, informed me that she is Amish, and is extremely uncomfortable around computers, iPads, cell phones, routers, and anything to do with the Internet.

    Damn. I am wondering how many jobs there are that don’t involve any of the above. This basically prohibits her from working in 99.9% of all office jobs. And manufacturing jobs must be hard to come by as well. Pretty much everywhere you have to handle some sort of electrically or gasoline powered machinery.

    Are Amish even allowed to drive cars?

    I am all for worker protection and non-discrimination policies. But this is going way too far. If you hire someone you should be able to expect that the person can actually perform the work he/she is asked to do.

    • rhodent

      Amish are not allowed to drive cars, but they are allowed to ride in them and to use public transportation. More relevant to the hypothetical situation described above, they are allowed to use technology at work. Furthermore, from what I’ve seen the expectation among Amish people is that it is up to the Amish person to avoid taking a job that requires them to use forbidden technology, not that it is up to the non-Amish employer to accommodate the Amish person.

      • Jenny

        No, some Amish drive… There are more ‘liberal’ sects. At least in Pennsylvania.

        • Rain

          I saw some drive past in a buggy playing loud AC/DC once. The younger ones also known for hitting the bar scenes.

          • Compuholic

            I’ve seen a documentary about the Amish once and if I remember correctly it is customary for them to give their kids some time to explore the world which I consider to be quite laudable if you compare it to most other religions where you are basically forced to join as an infant.

            Of course I don’t know how much social pressure is placed on them afterwards. I also don’t know much about how they handle the education of their kids. I would imagine that if one of them decided to break away from the family it would be extremely difficult for them because the (a) don’t have any money to start their own life and (b) I suspect that their education is lacking compared to the other kids in the U.S. which makes it difficult for them to earn money.

            • allein

              Generally they only educate through 8th grade, as far as I know. (I went to college in Lancaster County, PA, so the Amish is interesting to me. In fact, it’s very likely the documentary you saw featured one of my school’s professors.) I’m sure there is plenty of pressure on kids to join the church at the end of their running-around time (it’s called Rumspringa and that’s essentially what it translates to) but generally (theoretically) they aren’t shunned if they choose not to (though if they join and later leave, they are shunned).

              There’s pretty wide variability in how strict different groups are when it comes to technology and general interaction with the “English” world. Many have gas generators for electric appliances (the prohibition against electricity is more about not being dependent on the outside world, e.g., not being connected to the municipal electrical grid), some groups allow people to ride in cars, so they can hire a driver for long trips (I don’t know of any that allow them to drive, though; if you do see them driving a car it’s likely a teenager who hasn’t joined the church yet, or it could be someone from another Mennonite sect that dresses more conservatively (they vary a lot, too)). Many Amish work in regular jobs like construction, and a lot of communities will have one phone for the whole neighborhood to use in an emergency, and may use phones and computers for business purposes.

              I used to work in Philadelphia and one morning I saw an Amish family getting on the subway.

              • Jenny

                Hmm, maybe I’m thinking Mennonite?

                • allein

                  Maybe. It’s kinda like the old saying about monkeys and apes. All Amish are Mennonites, but not all Mennonites are Amish. Mennonites vary from hard-core Old Order Amish to pretty much indistinguishable from your average modern-day American.

                • Drew

                  Nope. Only the Old Order Amish refuse to use electricity or other technology. Most of the newer Amish sects will drive, use cell phones, etc.

                • Stev84

                  Some groups also think that some technology is allowed but shouldn’t make things too convenient. So there could be some community phones around for important business, but people can’t have one at home.

                • Jed Meyers

                  Looks like God finally decided to allow all this tech.

              • Mario Strada

                Do they make steam powered computers?

            • Drew

              It’s called Rumspringa. Also, watch the movie Sex Drive as it jokes about Rumspringa even though it’s a real thing.

              • Compuholic

                Interesting. I knew that the Amish have partly german roots. But it is fascinating to see that they obviously have preserved some of the vocabulary. “Rumspringa” is remarkably similar to the german word “rumspringen” meaning to “hop around”.

                • Sweetredtele

                  Similar as in it’s a dialect.

                • allein

                  Yes, they have their own German dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch.

            • Kelly Shelton

              The time away to explore is called Rumspringa. They get to go out into the world and choose between the “English” life and committing to the Amish way of life. Most people think that choosing the English way is an immediate shunning, which actually isn’t true. They only shun you if you pledge yourself to the Amish way of life and then go against it in some fashion.

              There are some Amish here that work with powertools. They generally work as carpenters or construction workers if not working on a farm or owning one outright.

          • baal

            They get a period of time to try living with modern stuff and violating their religious rules.

            • allein

              It’s because they haven’t been baptised yet; technically they aren’t violating the rules. Once they get baptised they have to follow the rules or risk being punished or shunned.

    • islandbrewer

      I got suspicious when I read that they “emailed the job description” to someone who wouldn’t use computers.

      • Terry Firma

        Damn. I finally understand why Miriam claimed she never saw the job description. ;-)

    • Annette

      I called BS in my head when I read about the Amish woman. I have a friend who is Old Order Amish–no electricity, no cars, etc. But he’s a web developer for a lumber company in his town. He loves the internet, ebay especially, but can’t have it in his house, etc. :)

      How’s that for funny! And true!

      • Mario Strada

        I recently watched a documentary where this amish family worked as general contractors with plenty of back loaders, trucks, etc.
        In their home they had no phone, but they put their phone in a shack right outside their property.
        Also, when I was watching interior shots, I noticed a refrigerator in the house. It wasn’t mentioned at all, but clearly it meant they had electricity even though they didn’t use it for illumination.

        EDIT: Indeed, they are against public utilities, not their own.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I’ve seen that “phone outside the home” thing before. But then I’ve also seen atheists who think a wireless router is going to give them cancer.

        • allein

          They probably have a gas generator, or possibly solar panels.

        • Mario Strada

          @allein wouldn’t a gas generator still produce electricity? Is it public electricity they are against?

          @Rich Wilson sad as it is, there are atheists and theists that believe all sort of nonsense. Atheism for me is purely not believing in god. It doesn’t make one a skeptic. It may make one a free thinker, but free to believe bullshit is also bad.

          • allein

            I see your edit above, but yes, it’s public electricity they are against. Here’s some info http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-use-electricity/ It’s more about separating themselves from the world; they’re not trying to make life more difficult just for the sake of it (but they don’t want to make it too convenient, either; work builds character and that sort of thing).

      • Kurt Tappe

        There’s an easy, if not obvious, explanation for the seeming contradictions in what technology the Amish choose to and not to use: The family. If a technology will interfere with the family being first in their lives, it is shunned. If the technology (usually outside the house), enables the family to maintain their family-centric way of life, then it is permitted. This is why they are able to ride in cars to the store but not drive them, as the ability to drive would allow them to voluntarily adopt a lifestyle not centered around the family. Ditto the telephone, which they see as a way for outsiders to intrude into the family life. But Internet use at work is allowed if it enables them to have income that helps the family. They just can’t bring it home.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Do they allow the use of labor-saving devices such as washing machines and dishwashers? If not, I’m going to have to reject that explanation.

          • allein

            Washing machines, yes; dishwashers, generally no. (look in the “Powering Appliances” section here http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-use-electricity/ ).

            Amish value work for the social aspect of it, and also in teaching children a strong work ethic. Amish do appreciate some tools that help them get things done faster, but with too many unnecessary labor-saving devices, Amish feel that they would be depriving their children of the character-building aspects of manual labor.

        • Annette

          Well, yes and no. It’s not always that cut and dry. For instance, most Amish use battery powered things, clocks, lights on the buggies (not all, of course, but some). But, there are other communities who don’t even use smoke detectors (battery powered) in their houses. There are those who have gone to court over this, and families who have been lost in fires for refusing to install them. So, there’s a technology that could save families, but is refused, by some, for being too worldly. So, again, it’s not always as simple as “What’s good for my family?” but it’s not a bad generalized explanation.

  • JMM

    As an educated Atheist don’t you think you should have checked their backgrounds a bit. Just saying.

    • Compuholic

      I don’t own a business. But if I did I would not check for a persons religious preferences because it should be none of my business. If the qualifications are right then everything should be fine.

      Likewise I would expect prospective employees to at least roughly know what their duties are going to be. At least during the job interview it should become clear to the prospective employee that they will have to use a computer and if they are unable to use one for whatever reason they should say so. That would be the honest way.

      If the employee said that there is going to be a problem and the employer hires him/her anyways then it becomes his problem. But to let somebody hire me and then tell him on the first day that I cannot do the job is simply dishonest.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        You would be smart not to ask. It’s none of your business and you can’t be accused of discrimination if you never knew their religion in the first place. But jobs that require working weekends or nights or holidays usually make that clear in the interview so that there is no misunderstanding later. they also usually go over what the job duties will be. If you know your religion forbids you from performing some of those tasks or working the days assigned, you don’t take the job.

    • onamission5

      I have been a manager in charge of hiring. By law, one of the things I could not ask about was religious beliefs and practices.

      • JMM

        I never said ask them now did I

        • onamission5

          How do you recommend determining a potential employee’s religious beliefs and whether or not they would do the job based upon those beliefs? It’s not like that tends to come up in background checks. Are you going to hire a PI to spy on anyone who applies for a job with you?

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

            Good questioning skills during the interviewing process works best, the law doesn’t say you can’t ask if they can’t work on certain days of the week or whether they need x number of breaks during the day. Job descriptions don’t really fall under binding contracts but interviews do if the interviewee is hired. there are many ways to ask a question to get the answer you are looking for HR departments often fail in this regard and then the employer is stuck. you just can’t ask blatant discriminatory questions.

    • Mario Strada

      The best things to do is to write up a very good job description. Specify the duties for the job and leave it at that.

  • Rain

    I would consider that a good argument if these employees learned to void their bladders and bowels while praying.

    Not practical, because one must pray toward Mecca, depending upon if one is doing a number one or a number two. For males there would have to be two separate bathrooms–a number one bathroom, and a number two bathroom–each facing in the opposite direction from the other.

    • DavidMHart

      If you can kneel down to pray, you can sit down to pee :-)

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

        In many Muslim countries you can only squat,

    • Terry Firma

      Adult diapers.

    • L.Long

      Don’t need to have two toilets. Because the world is a spherical so if you have point your ass to the east the head is still pointed toward mecca anyway.

    • Mario Strada

      Buckets.

  • SkepCdnChick

    If it works there like it does here, in BC at least, it would be considered discrimination on the basis of religion, it would be excused as a ‘bona fide occupational reason’ (BFOR). If there is a BFOR, almost anything that would otherwise be discrimination would be exempted.

    Anyone can take an employer or a service provider to the Human Rights Tribunal, but a case like this would likely be dismissed upon application if it truly was a BFOR.

    • Amor DeCosmos

      The BC Human Rights Tribunal is a Kangaroo court. This is the place you go when your feelings have been hurt and you want money for it. They totally would support the position of these hypothetical workers.

  • Shells

    I agree with this article, but I want to point out some hypocrisy associated with it. Many of the same people here who agree with no-special-treatment-for-religious-beliefs also think it’s horrible when businesses don’t give insane amounts of paid maternity leave. There is no relevant difference – if you make a choice which causes you to be more expensive for the employer (you won’t deliver alcohol, you’ll be absent from work, whatever) then you deserve to be treated and paid appropriately for that. If you find an employer who’s willing to treat you more nicely, awesome – but we don’t need the government forcing employers to give you special treatment. The only logically consistent approach is to recognize that the business and the employee are negotiating, and neither you nor the government has a right to mess with whatever terms they end up agreeing to.

    • Jenny

      Really? A fairy tale vs. a child? And business do not have to pay (directly) when one goes out on maternity leave – it’s unpaid. Unless there is some sort of insurance coverage, which, the employee has more than likely already paid into; and heck, if the employer offers it as a benefit, it is their perk to get quality employees.

      • Shells

        I agree with you that a child is more important than a fairy tale. But lots of people would disagree or say that they deserve equal consideration. I don’t imagine that I have a right to force my perspective on others, same as I don’t want theirs forced on me.

    • onamission5

      Babies exist, and require attentive, one on one, 24 hour care. Deities, not so much.
      Not to mention that childbirth is a medical condition which requires recuperation time, not a free for all vacation-fest. I don’t see you arguing against people who get injured being allowed to get disability pay, or people who get sick taking sick days, or people who are caregivers for elderly parents being able to have leave to care for them. Family/life friendly workplace policies benefit all employees, not just the ones who give birth.

      • Shells

        I agree with your first two sentences, but many religious people would disagree. I don’t think I have a right to force my perspective on them, same as they don’t have a right to force it on me. It’s up to the employee and the employer to figure out what’s fair and appropriate, and no one else should be interjecting themselves into that discussion.

        The differences between childbirth and the other medical conditions you allude to are manifold. For one, pregnancy, with rare exception, is a choice, whereas disability is not. Additionally, things like disability pay and sick days and maternity leave are often part of the contract you agreed to when you signed onto the job. I’ve seen many people agree to these terms, then turn around and get mad when the employer follows those terms because they aren’t generous enough. It makes me wonder why you agreed to them in the first place.

        I also agree that family/life friendly policies benefit all employees. But I don’t think I have a right to force that opinion onto other people via the law.

        • Armanatar

          The problem with establishing this as a purely employer-employee negotiation is that the power dynamic is horribly lopsided. It is much easier to find new employees than it is to find a new job, and you are dependent on having a job to survive. Without external coercion, employers could run roughshod over their employees and would have no reason to stop. If they complain, fire them and hire someone else. If they strike, fire them and hire someone else.

        • Keljopy

          I agree to some extent with both of you. I think it’s great when employers offer family/life friendly workplace policies IF they benefit all employees. For example someone choosing not to have children could take a sabbatical a couple of times during their career (paid or unpaid, equivalent of maternity/paternity leave) or if you allow parents extra leeway on start/end times or extra days off for dealing with sick kids or other kid issues allowing the same for non-parents with parents/friends/pets/whatever to deal with.

          I’m a bit ambivalent on whether PAID maternity leave (and equivalent for non-parents) should be legislated, but I think we should have some unpaid time off, despite it being a choice, because else it disproportionately effects women and people who can’t afford to be choosy about finding a job which has these benefits and would thus either lose their job or be forced to not have kids.

          On the other hand, since having children is (usually) a personal choice, I don’t think parents should get special privileges that aren’t available to others in equivalent forms (employer offered or government legislated, but especially the later). I have heard of workplaces that allow parents to have first choice when it comes to shifts, weekends off, holidays, etc. and the non-parents (or pre/post kid people) get screwed and have to work all the crappy times/days. This is not ok either. Either everyone should be treated equivalently (seniority or lottery or whatever to decide) or maybe do something like offer extra pay for holidays (which some places do) to get people to volunteer if you want the people with the least interest in having those days off to be the ones to work.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      most jobs do not come with much paid maternity leave. The government doesn’t require it. it is often given as a benefit because otherwise they’d lose some of their best female employees, but it is something the companies offer, not something they are required to do. Unpaid leave is another story but that is a luxury for people who can afford not to have a paycheck for months on end which is a tiny minority of American workers.

      • Amor DeCosmos

        Oh Canada… In BC we have 52 weeks of paid Parental leave, meaning either parent, government pays 50% of your regular salary, employers often top that up to 90%. Also, your medical plan pays all the costs of childbirth. Yay Socialism!

        • Jenny

          Careful – That socialism word is, gasp! Evil. ;)

        • onamission5

          Gosh. I got six weeks unpaid leave, of which I could only take four, lest I lose my apartment. So fun going back to doing physical labor 8 hours a night one month after major abdominal surgery with complications. But I guess that’s just me complaining about not getting “special treatment.”

        • Compuholic

          Its similar here in Germany (although not as long) and all over Europe. It is required by law. Companies found another way to compensate for that. Study after study has found that women get paid significantly less for the same job than their male counterparts which is a disgrace. But it is hard to introduce legislature against this.

        • Jess

          I am so glad I am a Canadian sometimes :P :) A year off… paid? And my job is waiting for me when I get back? I can make more little workers that will contribute to our country in the future :)

    • GeorgeLocke

      I believe you’re saying that if the government shouldn’t intervene on behalf of religious employees, then it shouldn’t intervene on behalf of women who give birth. Is that right?

    • Jason Hinchliffe

      You must be a completely off your rocker to even suggest this. Although religion and pregnancy are both choices, child-rearing is fundamental to maintenance and betterment of the species as a whole. It is universal to almost all in the same way the need for food and water are. Religion is not.

  • Jason Hinchliffe

    I’d really like to pose for Playboy however the talent scouts keep telling me I can’t because I have a penis. Its discrimination.

    • Wren

      I’m guessing it isn’t JUST the penis. I mean, if you removed it, they still wouldn’t want you. :)

      • Jason Hinchliffe

        Screw you I’m beautiful. :P

    • Georgina

      Try Playgirl – naked centerfold anyone?

  • islandbrewer

    I’d also put in “If your god frowns on you handling human blood, don’t become a phlebotomist.

    Also, this is slightly different, because it doesn’t involve an individual, but a whole institution, but I think the same principle should apply:

    “If your god frowns on giving women adequate healthcare, don’t set up a whole chain of hospitals that purport to offer ‘comprehensive healthcare.’”

    Edit: Yeah! I’m giving you the stinkeye, Catholic Church!

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Believe it or not, I agree. However, the point goes both ways. The same principle applies to atheists, homosexuals, and any other group of people. They should not expect employers to kowtow to their particular demands. If an employer does not want to provide benefits for a same-sex partner (or any other circumstance they wish to stipulate), they should be free to do so. And business owners have the right to refuse service to whomever they choose.

    • Carmelita Spats

      So business owners can refuse to serve African Americans at a lunch counter or deny benefits to wayward couples who engage in ungodly *gasp* miscegenation or participate in the popular Christian serialized polygamy that you see in most churches, aka divorce/remarriage? Silly me, I thought that was SO 1952 and reflected the faith-based, Christian ethos, of the time. Some things never change.

      • The Inconsistent Atheist

        Would you eat at such a lunch counter? Many people wouldn’t, so the business owner would lose business if they chose to do that. That doesn’t justify forcing them to serve people they don’t want to serve.

        The reason those problems existed for so long was because of government regulations which wouldn’t allow free competition and changes. In Montgomery, AL, private buses were not allowed to compete with the “public” transportation system. Had it not been for government interference, Rosa Parks would never have found herself in the situation she did in the first place.

        • baal

          WOW, you’re not only a christian troll, Inconsistent, but woefully ignorant of the past history of the U.S. You’re also reciting a Rand Paul talking point.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          And what if enough people did want to eat at that lunch counter?

          People complain now about the ADA. When buses started accommodating wheelchairs everyone said “handicpas don’t take the bus, what a waste of money!”

          Often there is not sufficient visible financial incentive to do the right thing. When ‘the market’ drives our morals, we end up with marketplace morals.

          • The Inconsistent Atheist

            So infringing on the rights of others to force people to do what you think is right is right?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              What right do you imagine is being infringed? The right to have police and fire depts protect my business? The right to water and electricity and other utilities at my business? The right to have a sidewalk in front of my business? The right to use lead in the paint in my business and not tell anyone, which will contribute to my customers and employees getting sick, but not discovering it until I’ve retired and left the country?

              • The Inconsistent Atheist

                Nobody has the right to police, fire, water, electricity, a sidewalk, etc. If you want to provide those for everyone in the world, go ahead.

                • DavidMHart

                  “Nobody has the right to police, fire, water, electricity, a sidewalk, etc”

                  Maybe so, but these are the sorts of things that any civilised government provides for its citizens, and moreover, they are all things that if a government is going to provide for its citizens, it has no ethical basis for denying them to some of its citizens without good reasons (like you seem to want to do with gay people).

                  Maybe we can’t strictly identify a human right to fire departments and paved roads or whatever, but we can certainly recognise that we are better off, collectively, in a society that provides these, and we can pool our resources (in the form of taxes) and choose leaders (in the form of government) and yes, some people who would rather be freeloaders and not contribute their fair share are going to whine, but if no one provided these things, things would be worse for everyone, including the whiners.

                  There are of course valid arguments to be had about which things are so essential to modern life that their provision ought to be at least more tightly controlled by the people acting through their democratically elected leaders, and which things are best provided by individual competing producers in as genuinely free a marketplace as we can engineer (which itself still requires government oversight to prevent one or a few players buying everyone else out and leaving the public with no choice) … but to secure the maximum wellbeing for as many people as possible, the optimal amount of government provision of services is very obviously not zero. Maybe that is infringing on your right to live in an underdeveloped dystopia of corporate titans and impoverished serfs, but that’s a ‘right’ you’ll have a hard time persuading anyone with an ounce of compassion for their fellow humans to fight for.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

              We have the right to ban (flag as inappropriate) you from this forum. Consistently being banned eventually would either force you to change your opinion or force you to change your alias.

              But for some odd reason we have not. I wonder why this is?

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Well, ‘we’ don’t- Hemant does. All we can do is vote.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  we don’t

                  Well in my browser I have a flag as inappropriate button which is what I mean by banning.

          • The Inconsistent Atheist

            “And what if enough people did want to eat at that lunch counter?”

            Then they should be free to do that. This happens all the time with country clubs, special interest organizations, etc.

            Should an atheist organization be forced to accept Christians as members, or be required to have a Muslim in leadership positions?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              You’re moving the goal posts from “public accommodations that are legal requirements upon me having the opportunity to sell to the public” to “organizations that I haven’t defined at all but sound vaguely private”

              Regardless:

              Should an atheist organization be forced to accept Christians as members,

              Sure, why not? There may be valid reasons to deny someone who happens to be a Christian membership, but them being Christian wouldn’t in and of itself be one of them.

              or be required to have a Muslim in leadership positions?

              No, they should not be required to have a Muslim (or anyone in particular) in a leadership position. But they should not be able to deny a leadership position to someone because they are a Muslim.

              (and now that I’ve answered your questions, perhaps you could take an actual stab at mine?)

              • TiltedHorizon

                “You’re moving the goal posts”

                That’s his/her M.O. Don’t expect a quid pro quo with this one, his/her consistent dodging of direct questions and the implications of direct answers means this one is only interested in mental masturbation.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Oh I know, still waiting on whether I have the right to do something that will cause someone else harm.

                  /not-holding-breath
                  /why-I-didn’t-bother-the-other-day-when-more-busy

    • Sven2547

      What “particular demands” do atheists and homosexuals make?
      Your example of spousal benefits is moronic: heterosexuals get the same thing. How is equal treatment a “particular demand”?

      • The Inconsistent Atheist

        Equal treatment is a particular demand. Many employees perform the same duties and yet have differing compensation.

        And FYI, heterosexuals don’t get benefits for a same-sex partner.

        • Sven2547

          Equal treatment is a particular demand.

          Spoken like a klansman.

          FYI, heterosexuals don’t get benefits for a same-sex partner.

          Are you trying to go for the naive ignorance angle? I said “spousal benefits”.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            ze doesn’t know it, but ze does have a slight point. DP requires same sex. You can’t be an opposite sex couple and claim DP, you have to actually get married. (There is a provision for one person being over 62)

            • Sven2547

              “DP”?

              • allein

                Domestic Partnership. I just looked up my state, and (according to my quick read) originally it was same-sex age 18 or older or opposite-sex over 62; now we have civil unions for same-sex but either configuration can still get domestic partnership status if over 62. (edit: this is New Jersey)

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Whoops, I see t that could be confusing :-) “Domestic Partnership”

                (and actually my understanding only applies to California, it may be different in other states)

                I have a co-worker in a long term heterosexual partnership. They don’t wan to get married as long as marriage isn’t an equal right. But he can’t get her on his benefits, because they’re not eligible for domestic partnership.

          • The Inconsistent Atheist

            “Spoken like a klansman.”

            I don’t have a problem with equal treatment before the law. The problem is, that doesn’t make it right to have a law that says everyone must be paid $50/hour or everyone is entitled to benefits for their “spouse”.

            So in states where same-sex partners are not considered a “spouse”, you would agree with me?

            If marriage is redefined, it leads into all kinds of issues, like a father “marrying” his son (or granddaughter) in order to avoid inheritance taxes. Of course inheritance taxes are wrong to begin with, and shouldn’t apply to anybody, but the point is that there are all kinds of complicating factors.

            • Sven2547

              So in states where same-sex partners are not considered a “spouse”, you would agree with me?

              In such states, the same problem of inequality and injustice exists, it’s just in a different location. In those states, the problem is with the government, not individual businesses.

              If marriage is redefined, it leads into all kinds of issues, like a father “marrying” his son (or granddaughter) in order to avoid inheritance taxes.

              I have seen no proposals for this sort of thing. Intra-familial marriage is NOT a natural consequence of same-sex marriage. This is a fallacious slippery slope.

              Also, I’ve still been given no examples of “particular demands that atheists make”. I know atheist-bashing is a hobby of yours, but are fact-based claims too much to ask?

              • The Inconsistent Atheist

                Intra-familial marriage can be justified on the exact same grounds as homosexual marriage. There is no consistent way to deny it.

                Ironically, it is the same people who have been denigrating traditional marriage for decades who are now promoting homosexual marriage. If marriage really is a good thing (as indicated by the push to legalize homosexual marriage), then why were they attacking marriage previously?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  then why were they attacking marriage previously

                  Because a) you’re making that up. I’m sure you believe it, but you don’t have anything to back it u other than your own assumption and perhaps a few anecdotes.

                  and b) whether or not I think something is good or bad doesn’t change the fact that I think people should have the right to choose it.

                  I think the world would be a far better place if nobody drank alcohol, but I’m not in favor of prohibition.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  “b) whether or not I think something is good or bad doesn’t change the fact that I think people should have the right to choose it.”

                  Except for business owners being allowed to choose whom they will serve.

                  Which Rich Wilson is correct?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Rights live with responsibilities. The right to run a business using the facilities provided by society comes with a number of responsibilities, including to treat members of that society fairly and equally. Some of those responsibilities are enforced by the society using things called ‘laws’.

                  Feel free to let me know where you stand on my right to do something that I know will cause long term harm to other people, but for which I am unlikely to be identified as the cause of said harm, absent a government infringing on my supposed right.

                • DavidMHart

                  Being able to choose whether or not to drink alcohol is very different from being able to choose whether or not to treat some of your fellow human beings as second-class citizens. Please stop pretending to be unable to understand that.

                • Spuddie

                  No it can’t because they are not similar on their individual facts.

                  If it were the case you would have evidence of such in places where marriage equality already exists. But you don’t, nor wioll. Therefore, your argument is illogical and dishonest.

                • Sven2547

                  Your opinion that intra-familial marriage can be justified on the same grounds does not mean that allowing same-sex marriage is automatically going to result in it. These are two separate questions that can be considered on their own merits. But that scares you. You don’t want same-sex marriage considered on its own merits because there is no logical reason to ban it

                  It is telling that opponents of same-sex marriage desperately try to change the subject to incest. That’s because if we look at the actual issue at hand, they have no valid arguments.

                  Ironically, it is the same people who have been denigrating traditional marriage for decades who are now promoting homosexual marriage.

                  Can you cite an example of what the heck you’re talking about? Roughly 56% of Americans support marriage equality. How have these hundreds of millions of Americans been “denigrating traditional marriage for decades”? What “attacks” are you referring to? The vast majority of these people are heterosexuals!

                  Your continued effort to run and hide from your earlier comment that atheists make “particular demands” of employers only underscores your dishonesty and trollish intent. If you do not justify or retract that remark, you will receive no further responses from me, because I have better things to do than to indulge pathological liars.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Same-sex marriage is wrong completely apart from the issue of incest. I was simply pointing out that those who support same-sex marriage have no reason to not allow inter-familial marriage (as other commenters have admitted).

                  In the past half a century, many people have promoted the view that marriage is unnecessary, that people in love can just live together, etc. They have also pushed for no-fault divorce, etc. which has further eroded the institution of marriage (you know, “til death do us part”). Now, if marriage is just a relic of the past, and people who love each other can just live together, why it is something desirable that homosexuals should have a right to as well?

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  Because the wording of many laws still deny benefits. Though this may seem on the surface that this is all about “homosexual marriage” it is not. Many developmentally disable adults and senor citizens could greatly benefit from legal domestic partnerships, but the way the laws a written they are denied those benefits.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Exactly. Our entire legal system has all kinds of interconnected laws relating to the marital relationship (eg. inheritance, visitation, custody, spousal privilege, tax deductions, survivor benefits, etc.).

                • jess

                  There is a difference between marriage and holy matrimony. The former being religious and the latter being a piece of paper you have to get at the court house.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  Intra-familial marriage

                  Most states in the union have Incest Statutes that deny Intra-familial marriage.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Yes, and States also had statutes that denied homosexual marriage. If the statutes change, does that mean that morality changes? Not merely that people’s perception of right and wrong changes, but that what is actually right and wrong changes. ie. Was homosexuality wrong in the past, but now it is right? Is the government the final authority regarding morality?

                • Mario Strada

                  Again, they are two different statutes. One is not attached to the other.
                  There were laws prohibiting interracial marriages. Those have been changed, yet people did not start marrying their poodles after those laws were repealed because the law that prohibits one from marrying animals remained on the books. Once again, they were not related to one another.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  What’s your point? Are the laws against marrying animals right or wrong? Why or why not?

                  Many people have “granddogs” instead of grandkids. Would you deny them the right to marry their pet?

                • Billy Bob

                  Informed consent. That is all

                • Artor

                  You really don’t understand the concept of consent, do you? Stay the fuck away from my kids, scumbag.

                • Mario Strada

                  Don’t be silly. I just commented on your inane post by taking an example from past laws. I never said what I would or would not “let them do”.

                  Boy, you just cannot help but troll, can you? What is it? Does it work like Tourette Syndrome but instead of swearing you have to compulsively post contrarian, illogical and bigoted stuff?

                  If that’s the case, I heard Zyprex and Haldol can help, but in your case they don’t make Football sized pills so you’ll have to take entire bottles at a time.

                • jess

                  An animal cannot consent. You know it’s obvious you’re just trollin’ at this point :P

                • phantomreader42

                  Why is it that you death cultists can’t ever understand the concept of consent, no matter how many thousand times it’s explained to you? Again, not everyone shares your sick obsession with raping children and animals.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  beware he’s just pulled a Troll bait and switch tactic

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Government is the final arbiter of what is legal. There are many things that are legal that someone or other considers immoral- adultery, gambling, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, premarital sex, divorce, etc. If people think gay marriage is immoral, that’s their right. They shouldn’t have one. It’s when they try to legislate their morality into law that the rest of us have a problem; there are no secular reasons against gay marriage, so as a secular society there’s no reason to ban it.

                • jess

                  exactly! Ha, if you don’t like the idea of homosexual marriage.. then don’t marry a homosexual? Preeeetty easy. It doesn’t hurt anyone. I mean, there is a different between a law that says you cant murder people and a law that says you cant marry a person that you are in love with if it harms no one. (Incest is harmful as the children are oft born with health issues)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I think for every moral question there is an ideal answer, which we are evolving towards. That’s why it used to be ok to beat your indentured servants so long as they survived for at least a day, but now such a thing is generally considered unacceptable.

                  Today it is generally (although not universally) considered acceptable for humans to kill animals to eat them. Maybe in a few hundred years, considering we have plant based alternatives, that will no longer be considered acceptable.

                  The only different between you and I in this regard is that you think an outside force has to know what those answers are. You also seem to think that the answers were written down in in a book, which is the truly bizarre part, but I could be wrong about your position there. The fact that you claim homosexuality is immoral makes me think the book option though.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  How do you know if we are evolving toward or away from the ideal answers to moral questions?

                  Isn’t there are inherent conflict between evolution and the idea of morality?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Nope! Evolution is about the development and survival of species, not individuals. The ‘best’ morality, then, is the one that gives humanity the highest likelihood of survival in good condition.

                  Besides, we’ve evolved to have empathy. Might as well put it to use, don’t you think?

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  Feminerd, you are contradicting yourself. On the one hand you say the “best” morality is the one that gives the highest likelihood of survival. On the other hand, you keep referring to empathy in regards to determining morality. Which is it?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  No, I said the best morality is the one that gives the species the highest likelihood of survival. That requires the biggest number of people to survive in the most hospitable conditions. Empathy sets us on the road to figuring that out, which is likely why it evolved in the first place.

                  Read the words I write, not the ones you want me to have written.

                • The Inconsistent Atheist

                  “That requires the biggest number of people to survive in the most hospitable conditions.”

                  How do you know this? And even if you did know that, how could you possibly know what “the most hospitable conditions” are?

                  Furthermore, equating morality with survival of the species goes against empathy, harm, suffering, which are typically used to define morality (those aren’t the correct foundations for morality either; I’m simply pointing out the contradiction).

                  That is the reasoning that people used in the first half of the twentieth century to justify sterilizing or even killing people. It was for the betterment and survival of mankind as a whole.

                  To sum up, survival and empathy are at odds with one another.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  That is the reasoning that people used in the first half of the twentieth century to justify sterilizing or even killing people.

                  That was the reason given. That doesn’t mean they were right. Notice you’re speaking in the past tense. So where is “Social Darwinism” today?

                  To sum up, survival and empathy are at odds with one another.

                  I wonder if you even thought about that before you typed it. If they are so at odds, then which in general does humanity have. Empathy or survival? I’d say the human species is doing pretty well. Perhaps too well and we may exhaust our resources and crash, but that’s another matter.

                  So if empathy is at odds with survival, wouldn’t that mean we have no empathy?

                  Care to try again?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You are all over the place. It’s like you’ve drawn arrows linking grapefruits, motorcycles, and why the sky is blue, without explaining what the arrows are supposed to mean or the logical steps in between.

                  The most people surviving in the most hospitable conditions is kind of a backwards definition of what evolution is. Species survival and adaptation to changing conditions. We’re the only species (thus far) on our planet to massively change our surroundings to adapt to us rather than the other way around, but we’re still intimately connected to the state of the planet and it can change so much we’d go extinct. We know humanity, in general, does best with ~1500-2000 calories per day with a variety of nutrients in them, clean water, clothing suited to the climate, shelter from the night bugs and walls to keep out predators, medicine to treat illnesses and injuries, education to understand the world and create new things that help us change our world to be more suitable to our use, etc. We can argue the best ways of making everyone has access to clean food and water, shelter, clothing, health care, and education, but it’s pretty hard to argue that all people don’t need those. We have empirical data to suggest that we do.

                  Furthermore, we know people without those things suffer. Harm and suffering to others is bad. We also know we need a large population to ensure genetic diversity for maximal species survival chances. So, we want to make sure everyone has minimum adequate support due to our empathy and our concern for species survival both!

                  The reasoning for the genocides of the 20th century (which hardly ended in the first half- Bosnia and Rwanda give the lie to that notion) included the incredibly wrong notion that one group of people is better than another group. It was a distinct lack of empathy that led to them; it takes a huge dehumanization campaign before people will treat other people in such a way. Why do you think that is? It’s because people have innate empathy for others, but if you can convince them that “those people” aren’t really people, you can remove that internal ethical block. Kinda nifty, in a horrifying sort of way. It’s why so many of the fights for equality revolve around the simple, powerful statement “I am a person”.

                • phantomreader42

                  I know your cult won’t let you comprehend this…

                  It’s clear that YOU happen to be a sociopath whose only reason for not raping, killing, and eating every person you see is that you fear the invisible man in the sky will hurt you if you indulge in the orgy of wanton destruction and sadism you crave without explicit permission,

                  But that doesn’t mean EVERYONE is so utterly devoid of conscience and empathy as you are. Not everyone is as stupid and morally bankrupt as you.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Perhaps Feminerd wasn’t paying attention to how the word ‘evolution’ got into this discussion.

                  (Now that Feminerd has responded in the midst of my typing, maybe not).

                  Empathy is an attribute that has arisen in human (and other species it would seem) evolution.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  In the context of Feminerd’s post, “survival” and “empathy” are not at odds, they are linked and codependent.

                  I don’t want to be murdered, you don’t want to be murdered.
                  I don’t want to be raped, you don’t want to be raped.

                  It is in my self interest to preserve our mutual interests. Thus I protect myself and my interests by protecting the “We”. Empathy means that I, in protection of the ‘We’, would forfeit my own safety in the preservation, i.e. survival, of the ‘We’. There is no contradiction.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I don’t. Because some people still think it’s their ‘right’ to do things that they know will harm other people. And because some people have no consistent logical means to explain why it’s considered good to obey a God that would have you kill your own child.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  Homosexuality has never been wrong.
                  Two examples for a matter of fact:
                  Zande (Azande) warrior tribe in Sudan and Congo. These warriors not only practice homosexuality and
                  bi-sexuality but actually marry boys or young men.
                  Athenian pederasty entailed a formal bond between an adult man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family, consisting of loving and often sexual relations. As an erotic and educational custom it was initially employed
                  by the upper class as a means of teaching the young and conveying to them important cultural values, such as bravery and restraint.
                  Your sense of morality does not have to change if the statutes change. If the government mandates equality laws your rights to morally object do not change. There is no actual right or wrong there is only an ethical gray area of right and wrong. You are probably being confused by the false-consensus effect whereby you tend to overestimate how much other people agree with you. You consistently display a tendency to assume that your own opinions, beliefs, preferences, values and habits are ‘normal’ and that others also think the same way that you do.

                • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

                  No, the government is not he final authority on what is right. By your logic women should never have been given the right to vote, slavery should never have been abolished, schools should still be segregated, etc. People made good cases for expanding human rights on a case by case basis. Thankfully we are not frozen in the past when a lot of people were treated badly and that was considered moral. It wasn’t. We figured that out as a society and made the correction. We are currently doing the same on gay rights.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  The government made it ok for blacks and whites to marry, do you think that is morally wrong also?

                • jess

                  No, it just means that we have progressed as a society.

                  Just go ahead and compare this to slavery or women’s rights. Eventually we realize that we were all kinda being dicks and make changes.

                • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

                  Slippery slope is not a valid argument. Incest is a separate issue from same sex marriage. It’s possible for one to be illegal and not the other.

                  BTW, who are these same people. Yes, some radical gay activists have been anti-marriage. They are not the same individuals advocating for same sex marriage now.

                • Keljopy

                  Though I’m ambivalent about traditional marriage (I’m in one myself), someone thinking the government should get out of the business of marriage completely, but thinking that if the government is going to provide all the rights and benefits that come with marriage, they better do it equally without regard to the gender of the spouses is in no way inconsistent.

                  Your first paragraph is false as well. There is a huge issue with power, coercion, and consent when it comes to a parent-child or grandparent-grandchild relationship, even when the younger is an adult. Besides, there is nothing currently that can stop two friends (same gender in some instances, opposite gender in all) who are not in a relationship from getting married in order to game the system in this sort of way (for inheritance, tax benefits, immigration benefits, etc.)

            • Mario Strada

              “If marriage is redefined, it leads into all kinds of issues, like a father “marrying” his son (or granddaughter) in order to avoid inheritance taxes.”

              That’s what Estate Trusts are for. In addition, that would fall under Incest laws and theoretically it could happen today as long as the father wanted to marry a daughter or granddaughter. After all they are not of the same sex.

              This to me shows that you and your bigot friends are grasping at straws and you lie every chance you get.

              Please, continue making a fool of yourself. Go ahead.

            • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

              Strawman: No one has said that everyone has to be paid $50 an hour. I know of no such proposal and certainly no law that’s anywhere near that. Nor do all companies provide any benefits to a spouse (with or without sarcastic quotation marks).

              BTW, is it currently illegal for a father to marry his daughter? The same law would prohibit a father from marrying his son. Or could easily be amended to make that clear. I’m pretty sure that’s not legal. it’s a stupid point. However, plenty of opposite-sex couples marry for the benefits every day. I don’t see the difference between that and same-sex couples doing that.

            • Keljopy

              How the hell did you get from someone marrying a partner of whatever gender they choose to someone marrying their own descendant? Your “slippery slope” looks pretty sticky to me.

              Everyone doing the same job for the same pay or everyone (or no one) getting spousal benefits without regard to the spouses gender is exactly what equal treatment before the law is. Equal treatment is exactly the opposite of special treatment.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          ROFLOL. Well I guess they could if they didn’t already have a partner. Plenty of people marry for the benefits so I suppose at some point there will be heterosexual same-sex couples that marry for the same reason.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      Fortunately the world up to this point has maintained a modicum of accommodation. Many have tried to reject accommodation but the world has a way of pushing back against such people. We on this blog accommodate your ridiculous rants and devils advocate stance on issues. We may not like your eccentric trolling tactics but we haven’t banned you neither.

      • Mario Strada

        yet

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      I’m sorry, what special demands do atheists or homosexuals have? To treat their families like families? Businesses are not currently required by federal law to treat gay domestic partnerships or marriages as such. State laws vary widely. Should DOMA be overturned (which is like a 99.99% certainty), businesses will have to treat all married couples equally. The gender of the couples is irrelevant to the fact that they are married and federal law prohibits treating members of the same class differently.

    • Artor

      And businesses should be able to refuse service to black people, or Jews, or someone who looks, “foreign,” right? We’ve seen this standard before, and it was crap. Do you think before you post?

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      1. What extra benefits to atheists want? I’ve never heard of any.
      2. If you offer partner benefits, then they have to be available to all partners. Perhaps you’d like to be able to refuse to hire women or minorities as well?

      3. No, you don’t have the right to refuse service to whomever you choose as a business owner. We used to allow that with whites only lunch counters etc. Most people today find that abhorrent and rightly so.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

        can I get Darwin Day off please?

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          If you had such a bank of holidays you could certainly use it for Darwin Day (whenever that is) or Pie Day (3/14) or any other day. A lot of people like to take their birthdays off.

  • Dig

    Funny is, that it’s the state who’s saying you can’t fire anyone because their religious beliefs hinder your business.
    Would love to see the state’s reaction if I came and said “my religion prohibits me to pay ANY direct or indirect taxes”.

    Don’t think government would be that understanding anymore.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    This issue came up in a union negotiation in which I was involved back in the 1990s. It’s possible the case law has changed, but employers are not required to accommodate your religious beliefs. If your workplace is open on the weekend and you refuse to work the scheduled hours, they can fire you. It’s possible that this has changed but it is not religious discrimination to expect you to do the job as described when you are hired. If your religion forbids you to touch certain kinds of meat, then you have to work in a kosher meat market or find some other kind of employment.

    • Artor

      Yes, I think things have changed. Bush Jr. introduced the “conscientious refusal” loophole.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Well, I usually want off from one job to do a gig (ex. yom kippur or good friday) somewhere else for more money. I wonder how many times a year I can claim to have converted. LOL

  • Beth

    Do you know how hard I had to fight to pump breast milk for my infant while working?! That IS a bodily function and I used my bathroom breaks, no extra time was allowed. I can’t imagine what the bosses would do if someone wanted to have a room to pray several times a day.

  • Beth

    I test illegal drugs for court. So can I refuse to test pot because I think it should be legal like alcohol?

    • Jenny

      Right!? – The gov’t should be sued to compensate for the mistreatment of people due to pot… I’m not looking at this as a hand-out – I’m saying it is unjust that people’s lives are totally screwed over because of pot. Never mind that it affects them at their job 0%,

      • Fred

        I’ve never heard that pot does not affect your ability to focus. I’ll have to google for it.

        • Artor

          It depends on the work. Sometimes, it helps you to focus really intensely on some things. My artistic abilities advanced by light years when I discovered pot. I just didn’t have the patience to spend the time it took if I wasn’t baked.

        • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

          depending on the task, it sure can enhance your abilities. at this point it’s a fairly well-documented fact that drivers under the influence of marijuana are SAFER than those who aren’t.
          One study by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that drivers with THC in their systems have accident responsibility rates lower than those of drug-free drivers.

          • 3lemenope

            It is true that THC’s effects on car driving skill is not as great as that of alcohol, and that there is good reason to believe that other cognitive differences in effect, most prominently that THC makes users extremely risk-averse in contrast to alcohol making its users more risk-tolerant. (And from personal experience, I can say that THC intoxication interferes with the process of becoming velocitized, and as a consequence it is extremely difficult to exceed the speed limit while high).

            HOWEVER.

            The NHTSA studies (and pretty much all studies on this topic that look at accident proneness in the field) are next to useless in comparing sober v. drunk v. high because most states require alcohol testing but do not require cannabis testing following an accident. Likewise, alcohol testing is common during traffic stops, whereas THC testing is basically nonexistent in the same context. Given these detection problems, it is incredibly likely that the sample being analyzed is not representative of cannabis-using drivers generally, and that many cannabis-caused accidents, if they did exist, would not be detected as such.

            • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

              the evidence for it improving driving skills may be (somewhat) nebulous. (I say somewhat because there have been actual studies where subjects consumed marijuna and drove safer than control groups)
              HOWEVER
              the simple and incontrovertible fact that traffic fatalities have decreased by greater percentages in states with medical marijuana is enough to prove that decriminalized marijuana leads to fewer traffic fatalities.
              And I have no doubt it can enhance a user’s ability to perform many repetitive and tedious tasks.

              • Jenny

                Who says they’re high at work? Just like you wouldn’t go to work drunk, one doesn’t necessarily go to work high either – what people do off the clock is (typically) of no consequence to the employer or how they function in their job.

                • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

                  not necessarily but my point is that if they are high at work, they may very well be doing a better job as a result. Especially if their job is washing dishes or something similarly mindlessly repetitive or something requiring creativity.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                prove that decriminalized marijuana leads to fewer traffic fatalities

                Correlation is not causation, unless you can rule out other possible causes. You would get a stronger argument if there were any cases of marijuana legislation going the other direction, and traffic fatalities getting worse.

                In any case, it’s certainly not ‘prove’. (Although it might be pointing a cigar and wagging its eyebrows furiously)

                • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

                  ok fair enough it’s not “proof” but until a contradictory case comes along, i’m pretty sure there is causation there. the fact is states with medical marijuana have thus far invariably seen a correlating decline in traffic fatalities; “the rate of fatal crashes in which a driver had consumed any alcohol dropped 12% after medical marijuana was legalized, and crashes involving high levels of alcohol consumption fell 14%.
                  Time seems to think it’s proof of something..
                  Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/02/why-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-deaths/#ixzz2WWkX0Y8U

  • L.Long

    Now tell me again why should employers should not ship jobs over seas???

    • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

      because employers might want to have a nice country to live in, and a country with 50% unemployment will not be very nice.

  • AskAnAtheistBecky

    When I was observant, I got to take off during Jewish High Holidays without burning personal days. This could have been seen as privileging me above an atheist who misses zero days of work for religious reasons. My reasoning at the time (which was accepted by my employer) was that Catholics and protestants were already privileged because regular whole-company vacations fell during their major religious holidays. So the Russian Orthodox and Jewish employees could take their holidays as needed, in addition to their personal days and days where the work place was closed.

    • allein

      My company gives (corporate and warehouse employees, at least*) 3 floating holidays to use for whatever they want. Minority holidays are of course the original purpose, but then I guess the Christians still make out better because they aren’t likely to use them for a holiday (we’re already closed Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter). I usually use mine for Black Friday (so I don’t have to leave the house for anything), Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

      (*Store employees don’t get the extra holidays, and while they have early closing hours on some holidays, like Easter and New Year’s Eve, the stores are only actually closed for Christmas and Thanksgiving.)

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      You would not believe the whining that happens when Americans expats work overseas in non-Christian countries. I lived in Japan for awhile as a kid- one of my dad’s coworkers complained so much about having to use vacation days to take off for Christmas and Easter (New Years and Golden Week are are the main holidays there). My dad just looked at him and was like, so? I do this every year, no matter where I work, because I’m Jewish. It took the guy totally aback, but it did make him think and realize he was being totally unreasonable to expect that his personal religious holidays should be given any special treatment.

    • Keljopy

      That’s great, but then Catholics and protestants and atheists should get the same number of “free days” to take off, else you are just getting paid the same for less work.

  • Charlie Red

    Religion is an idea and ideas don’t have rights. People have rights, they have the right to have a religion and let it impede their life, but not my rights, or my business. Their religion does not get to dictate how I run my business or if I have to change the nature of my company to accommodate their own self imposed plight.

  • Sven2547

    Legal question:
    Although it is illegal to ask someone about their religious beliefs, is there anything against asking about those practices which directly relate to the job at hand?
    “Do you have any objections to handling pork products?”
    “Do you have any objections to transporting alcohol?”
    “Do you have any objections to the dress code?”
    “Do you have any objections to this job description?”

    It shouldn’t be necessary, but sadly it seems to be the case.

    • Gam

      Well I think it should be up to the person being hired to tell if there is something in the job description they can’t do. For example, if you apply for a job in a candy-bar factory and you are very allergic to nuts. It’s up to you to say you can’t work in the factory building because of nut dust.

      You can’t be silent, get the job and then say you can’t do the job… If you got the job under false pretenses, you should not be surprised to be fired when it turns out you can’t do the job. And it’s absolutely ridicules that they can sue for discrimination…

  • Gam

    I think religious
    exceptions (or exceptions based on other reasons) are perfectly ok at
    work. Provided that the person have clearly stated what their
    religion prohibits them to do that might interfere with the work
    before they got hired. Someone can’t just come up with exceptions
    after they are hired. It should be written in their contract exactly
    what exceptions they have been grated and it should also affect their
    pay, after all if you can’t do the same job as your coworkers you
    can’t expect the same pay. And of course the employer should be
    allowed to decline to hire the person if their religion prohibits
    them to do their job.

  • Glenda Alford Vaughn

    I am thinking shouldn’t there be something in their religion about suing?

    • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

      “But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well.” Matthew 5 39-40. So, don’t sue anyone, and if you’re sued, give them everyone they ask, and more. That covers it for Christianity-I can’t speak for any other religion. Not surprisingly, it’s one of those verses most Christians don’t cite much. Actually, I have never heard anyone cite it thus far.

  • L.Long

    PLEASE lets bring this to trial!! I want on the jury!
    If the details are correct then I would be one of them pushing to really stick it these to religidiots! I would also decide to have the religidiots pay ALL court costs too.

    • Fred

      To get on the jury you’d have to lie. You sure you want to go that route?

      • L.Long

        Why would I have to lie?

        I do not prejudge them as I said IF the story as stated is true.

        If they ask if I believe in gawd, I can yes without lying as I neither believe nor disbelieve, I live my live without gawd cuz its irrelevant.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          The possibility that any of us who post here could make it past voir dire is extremely small.

          • Carol Lynn

            I am always empaneled and I just got another summons. They never ask.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              I meant on this case in particular. I’m pretty sure on this one they’d ask questions about religion and related activism. People who have strong opinions one way or the other about religious rights would be likely tossed by one side or the other.

            • cr0sh

              I once mentioned something along the lines of FIJA during a voir-dire, and I have never been contacted/summoned since.

        • Fred

          Equivocating and splitting hairs are not the actions of what a normal person would consider honest. Besides, you want to be there. Neither attorney wants a jurist with an agenda.

  • Rufnuk

    It would appear to me that the EEOC, by granting preferential treatment, is in direct violation of the First amendment, re: “Congress
    shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

  • suzeb1964

    This was something I had direct experience with once. I was working as a system administrator for a large company, and one of my co-workers was an Orthodox Jew. As a sysadmin, weekend/on call work is pretty much mandatory, but because of his religion, the rest of us on the team had to pick up the slack every Friday night to Saturday night. Having to give up an extra weekend every other month so that he could follow his religious beliefs became a point of contention, but if we complained, we were labled as anti-semitic.

    • Fred

      Couldn’t give him an extra sunday shift to compensate?

      • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

        That still screws the other IT folks by requiring them to give up their time. My husband’s company used to have a sister company with a large Orthodox Jewish workforce and it gets beyond old to give up an extra Saturday night with family or friends because Joe over there says God says he can’t do it. Worse when you get one weekend a month because all but two of the team on the project aren’t allowed to press a button on Saturday. Why should the other IT employees have to put up with that? The day the companies pulled apart was when we, as a family, got our weekends and social lives back. And like suzeb said, if you complained about being taken advantage of, you were instantly the bad guy. An extra Sunday shift doesn’t come close to making up for everyone else getting dicked.

        If your religion says you can’t do part of the job (like being on-call ALL weekend), don’t apply for it. Simple.

  • Fred

    Meh, fire them for lying on their applications. They should have put down their special requirements under the section that asks for them. I’m willing to accommodate any physical impairment but I cant work around a mental one and an unwillingness to perform their duties on special magic days.

    • blaquekatt

      the disabled have to list their accomodations needed in order to be covered under the ADA, I have to disclose my migraines. Why should someone who made a choice get special treatment that a person with a medical condition doesn’t?

  • Jim Jones

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342111/Reed-Recruitment-Clive-Hunt-loses-dream-job-making-bacon-sandwich-comment-Sharika-Sacranie.html

    Contractor loses out on his ‘dream’ £1,000-a-week IT role after
    unwittingly saying he would treat his Muslim recruiter to a bacon
    sandwich

    Clive Hunt, 58, says he was meant to start eight-month NHS job last week

    He told recruiter he would get sandwiches in during her upcoming site visit

    A senior manager phoned Mr Hunt afterwards to ask about his racist remark

    Recruitment firm Reed says Mr Hunt made further comments during the call

    • Obazervazi

      Careful, that’s the Daily Mail you’re citing. They are… not bastions of journalistic integrity.

      • Jim Jones

        Granted, but if you search for the recruiter’s name you’ll find other links.

  • John_in_Vegas

    I once hired a “born again” bank teller who continually evangelized about Jesus, God and the evils of homosexuality. Although she never preached directly to me (she knew I was gay), it was offputting to overhear her talk. After receiving a customer complaint, I learned it also bothered some customers and employees. When I spoke to her about how proselytizing from her window sparked a complaint, she contacted human resources to complain about me and defend her religious freedom. Despite the fact that I was a target of her hate speech, I was reprimanded for counselling her; to HR’s credit however, she was told to refrain from that type of talk while on the clock.

    A short time later, after taking her allotted paid sick days, she handed me her letter of resignation. In it was neatly stated that she was leaving effective immediately. She was sorry it had to end this way without giving the customary two weeks notice, but she found justification for her actions in the bank’s religious intolerance.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      She has a right to practice her religion and even to share her faith with others, but not on the clock. Her behavior could have cost the bank customers. (I certainly would have complained if a bank teller told me I was going to hell for being gay.) The same would go for politics or any other controversial topic. Not on company time.

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      Wow. Persecution complex much?

      • John_in_Vegas

        This wasn’t about me. I was simply describing the minefield employers have to negotiate when dealing with employees and religion at work. Her activities certainly were not related to her job and they were disruptive to the workplace and offended the people in it; yet, the reprimand was reserved for activities intended to correct the situation and preserve an amicable working environment.

        Also, you missed the larger point; despite all her talk of Jesus, love and forgiveness, this bible thumper never saw the contradictions exposed by her behavior as she proudly took her revenge.

        BTW, your use of the taijitu belies your instincts and takes a back seat to your snark. You might want to rethink the avatar.

        • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

          No, I’m on your side. I feel bad this happened to you. I’m saying SHE had the persecution complex to quit after being reprimanded for her horrible on the job behavior.

          • John_in_Vegas

            So sorry, I misunderstood. I never made a connection to a persecution complex as she had an extreme self-righteousness about her. I thought it was more a problem with low self-esteem. We happened to cross paths a few years later where I learned she still thumped her bible and married an “ex-gay”.

            • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

              It’s all good, no harm no foul. I could have been clearer. She married an “ex-gay” huh? She set herself up for a big hit there down the road when that poor man finally overcomes all of the psychological damage done to him. I couldn’t imagine being happy having been brainwashed and forced to be in a relationship with a man. Or a woman for that matter! ;-)

        • Guest

          No, I’m on your side. I’m sorry this happened to you. She is the one with the persecution complex for quitting after being reprimanded for her horrendous on the job behavior.

  • Tom Mortley

    Unless a business is allowed to choose to exclude people because of traits of their religious beliefs at the interview stage this is unfair. A religious trait is really no different from a trademark product: Muslim’s pray 5 times a day, McDonalds sells Big Macs. Some Muslims may not pray 5 times a day, one might not buy a Big Mac at McDonalds – but you might choose to avoid McDonalds as you might choose to avoid Islam.

  • The Black Sheep

    I think it has been mentioned before in the comments, but workplaces should be able to ask if their employees can preform the various tasks catered to the job. Being Christian myself, I feel that completely removing the right for religious people to ask for certain accommodations is the wrong way to go about it. Instead, I would propose that there be complete transparency between the employee and employer about possible accommodations, and if the employer is willing to give them. It is not right for a Christian to come into an interview and say that he/she can work any day of the week, but then complain that she is being forced to work on a Sunday. The fault lies with the employee, not the employer and its time that the legal system realizes this so that the idea of religious freedom isn’t abused in the workplace.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      A lot of employers manage this in creative ways. Many offer a bank of floating paid days off that can be used for Good Friday, or Yom Kippur or some other religious holiday. It is therefore none of our business why you want the day off and they come out of a bank. If you aren’t religious you can just take a day off with pay. There is, however, a limit to how many of those days you will be paid for. That seems fair and doesn’t give “special rights” to the religious (although Christmas and Thanksgiving don’t count against those days).

      • allein

        I get 3 floating holidays (in addition to the regular holidays, which include Good Friday for us); I generally use one for my own personal holiday of I-don’t-leave-the-house-on-Black-Friday. After 8 years working retail, I think it’s only fair. ;)

    • Mario Strada

      I am glad you posted something we can agree on. That’s exactly the way things should be handled. I am also not against an employer trying to accommodate the employee’s religious needs as long as they can do so without showing preference toward the religious employee, such as giving him/her extra breaks for prayer or excluding him/her from working on certain days.
      If for instance a jewish employee cannot work on Saturdays then it should not be hard to find an extra Sunday shift for them to do. That would be reasonable.

      But if the religious employee cannot be accommodated then the business has a right to either fire him/her or maybe find another job they can better comply with.

      The important thing here is free exchange of information, honesty and reasonable accommodations without special privilege.

      Recently, there was a big deal about a Catholic employee someplace in the UK that refused to take off her cross necklace.
      The backstory was that all employees were asked to remove dangling jewelry for safety reasons, but the reporting in most cases failed to point that out so a lot of people went apeshit and screamed religious persecution.

      I was in precisely that position when I owned a factory and some of the employees worked at a burr grinder. Ties or dangling jewelry were prohibited and my employees took it off. No one complained even though they were mostly salvadorans and catholic. I couldn’t give a crap about their crosses, but I would have cared very much if they got decapitated, even though the chain would have likely snapped before their head would have rolled on the floor. But if they wore a tie or a scarf it would have been very dangerous.

  • asdf

    Ironically,
    if the author had any Wiccan co-workers, he might have been able to
    create and destroy a much more believable straw man.

  • Michele

    In this country, we are all allowed to practice religion as we want. It would be unfair to ask her to just forget about her religion for 8 hours a day or move to a more accepting country or to find a more tolerant job because this one doesn’t want a Muslim there.

    • Henry Young

      Religion is a choice, if they chose not to do work then they should be punished the same way as others who chose not to do work.

    • allein

      Then they shouldn’t accept a job where the responsibilities interfere with their religious beliefs. It’s one thing if you’re already working there and the job description changes, then you have more of case to ask your employer to work with you; but if you know going in that you can’t do some part of the job, you shouldn’t take that job.

    • Keljopy

      She has the choice to do her job or find a different job, just like anyone else does. It would be unfair to make the employer work around the employee’s personal choice in any way that hurts their bottom line or their customers. I can take a job as a janitor even if I don’t like cleaning toilets, but in the end I’m going to have to either clean some toilets or find another job.

      It’s not about “tolerance” or that “this one doesn’t want a Muslim there”, it’s that they are intolerant of an employee that doesn’t do their job and they don’t want such a person there. I’m sure they would be just fine with a Muslim if that person was willing to do the job they were hired for.

  • Ben

    I’ve read that religious employers are allowed to enact rules that ensure a work environment that conforms to their beliefs. Could an atheist employer do the same? Could they say, “Look, we run an atheist business here. We want a non-theist environment. Expression of religious beliefs will not be tolerated.”?

    • Henry Young

      No they re no allowed to do that.

    • Steve Willy

      Maybe when some of you neck bearded pussies leave your parents basements and actually do something (outside of a state university’s philosophy department), a court somewhere in this country will be called upon to answer this. Unless and until that happens, stfu you Hitchens-Dawkins worshipping megadouche..

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Don’t be afraid of standing before Jesus when your time comes, Steve. He loves you despite your raging contempt of others, especially women.

      • phantomreader42

        You keep repeating the same handful of unimaginative fragments of bullshit so often that I’m starting to think you’re a poorly-programmed spambot.

        • Steve Willy

          Then why would an atheist, one of the standard bearers for reason and logic, bother to respond? On the other hand, perhaps such nonsense is exactly what we should expect to see since atheism is, at bottom, incoherent:
          http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/higher-things/2011/nov/19/atheism-why-it-logically-incoherent
          http://www.catholicthinker.net/the-incoherence-of-atheism/
          http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/4-arguments-transcendence.htm
          http://www.reasonsforgod.org/the-best-reasons/the-argument-from-reason/

          • RobMcCune

            So you don’t want people to respond your asinine posts? I suppose that makes sense, since the thread was inactive for a month till you showed up. Trying to hide abusive posts in abandoned thread shows the courage of your convictions as well as your christian love.

            • Steve Willy

              One of the many Fallacies of the Neck Bearded Douche is confusing the act of typing something with a ‘response.’ To the extent your other comments are intelligible, you seem to be suggesting that because a thread got by for few weeks with nothing but thunderous self-congratulatory neckbearded applause, anyone who doesn’t agree should just stfu. Try applying that ‘reasoning’ to your own world view for five minutes and see where it leads.

              • phantomreader42

                I know this is hard for you to comprehend, Stevebot, but repeating the word “neckbeard” incessantly is not a magical spell to banish atheists to level 666 of the Abyss. All it does is make you look like an idiot. Well, SLIGHTLY more of an idiot.

              • RobMcCune

                Well I don’t troll inactive threads (or any threads for that matter), so yes I have actually applied “that reasoning” to myself. Also disagreement is fine, however most of your posts are just a rehash of the same handful of insults and have no substance whatsoever, and you post them weeks or months afterward to avoid any actual engagement.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    You can’t screen for religious issues during an interview but I’m sure there are some pointed questions you can ask like “Our business works all weekend at times, would you have ANY problem traveling or working on the weekend at all…” then if they lied then you have a point to use that won’t violate the rules

  • LonesomeDove

    No concessions – If they cannot meet the job requirements – don’t do the job – simple

  • Ian

    What constitutes a valid religion? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it defined in any lawful text. Wouldn’t that mean I can make up whatever I want and claim religious freedom? That’s why allowing exemptions for things not based in reality is stupid.

    • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

      pastafarianism baby, may you be touched by his noodly appendages.

  • BackspinBubba

    Religion should play no part in the secular business world. By either employees or employers…

  • BackspinBubba

    What about the other side of the coin?

    Would it be acceptable for a ‘religious’ company to deny medical coverage for transfusions because it is against their beliefs? Is it ok for religious companies to only hire people of their own religion? Is it ok for an apartment building to only rent to those that go to their church? Is it ok for a company to fire someone because they are living with someone to whom they are not ‘married’??
    At what point does a businesses actions cross the line from exercising their rights to believe to discriminating against employees/customers/society?

    • http://winterpatriot.com NJT

      where i live in California, a christian school fired two teachers for refusing to sign onto their “morality code” which included attending church weekly. For merely mentioning the possibility of a wrongful termination, the school sued the two teachers and their attorney, who was ultimately slapped out of court and made to pay the legal fees of the two teachers who had been fired.

    • random_task

      half of what you mentioned does happen all over this country

      • Steve Willy

        So you admit the other half are neck bearded lies?

  • Alex Symczak

    If you include a detailed description of what will be required on the job, and then the employee applies and signs a contract stating they will perform the required duties, isn’t it grounds for dismissal when they refuse to perform those duties?

  • adam

    Author of this is an idiot. You interviewed them, you didn’t have to hire them. If you didn’t find any of this information out before you hired them, that’s your own fault. I for one, would never hire you!

    • islandbrewer

      *facepalm … sigh*

      You don’t really believe in reading the entire post, do you?

    • Mario Strada

      Way to go black sheep. Maybe one of these days you will let another chance to look like a fool go, but today you run smack into it.

  • cole

    Sounds like you did a terrible job background checking your candidates.

    Honestly, what did you think was going to happen? That they would renounce their beliefs for the good of the company.

    • Jeff Simons

      I’ll echo the people in your other stupid post, you obviously didn’t read the entire article.

    • Keljopy

      Um yeah, the two examples were made up to be very extreme to an unrealistic extent in order to grab your attention. It’s hyperbole, but just because in the real examples accommodating the religious employees would have had a smaller effect on the employer’s operations/bottom line/customer service than the pretend examples, that doesn’t mean they are acceptable.

  • rebeccagavin

    When I worked for a State govt., investigating child abuse hotlines, we had occasion to hire a Somali interpreter. We had 24 hours to make contact with the child. It took half a day for the interpretation agency to find someone who was available. Time ticked by, and I could see there was no way I was getting off on time that day. Then, the interpreter arrived. However, before we could go out on the hotline, all she needed to do was a ritual washing and pray. She prayed in an underground parking garage with grimy patches of oil on the floor. She did the whole up, down, sideways routine. I was pissed because I wanted to get my job done and go home.

  • Voter

    I know a couple of people with small businesses who spent years in court fighting professional discrimination scammers. I also had a good friend that was a Private Investigator. Almost always, the scammer has a long history of discrimination and/or personal injury scams and/or insurance scams and/or family members with such a history.

    What many people don’t know is that in most states you are allowed to restrict employment in any way you want as long as you have less than 15 employees BUT you are never allowed to advertise restrictions against protected categories. Once you have more employees, the government expects to to babysit and support more and more freeloading people that would otherwise be collecting welfare.

    This is one of the reasons companies require computer applications (to weed out people who refuse to use them) and bio-engineering companies will do things like having interviews on a sunday to help avoid creationist infiltrators and saboteurs. This is another reason why more and more companies are hiring part time or contract work first so they can see if the person suddenly stops working as soon as they’re hired.

    search:
    Federal Labor Laws by Number of Employees

  • Rick Rommel

    Hire white Americans and not foreigners and you wont have this problem. Real simple.

    • Brandon

      I’m really hoping this was some sort of bad joke…

      • allein

        Something tells me Mr. Rommel here and adolf hilter below him are the same person… ;)

        • Brandon

          Haha yeah, I saw the other post after I posted… and I have bad tendency of disregarding screen names, so I missed the Rommel in his name until I saw Adolf below and scrolled back up. :-)

  • adolf hilter

    Its real simple don’t hire Rag heads to do a job that a white man, or woman can do better.

  • Ben_Hall_AU

    Please extend this article to cover ALL religions, I think the Christian problem in the US is far greater and wasn’t touched on despite mentioning religions of smaller numbers.

  • Yeah, Whatever

    I respectfully disagree. Your examples had me believing in your argument at first. The first two examples you gave were believable and outrageous. However, you honestly shook me badly when you said that you made them up.

    Following that, your real life examples were far less lackluster.

    In the trucking business, you must have more than one truck and two guys to drive it. There were surely more shipments to go out, or more drivers available. Don’t even say that they shouldn’t have signed up for the job. They most likely thought they’d be shipping cereal, vegetables, frozen food, and everything that isn’t booze.

    How is the Muslim man who can’t handle pork any different than the girl with a peanut allergy who doesn’t want to take chance her life shuffling a bag of peanuts along?

    And as for the prayers, like they said, its like a bathroom break. So these Muslims have to make a prayer twice a day. What about the guy with a leaky faucet who runs to the bathroom once every other hour?

    The differences between your vegetarian friend, your pacifist neighbor, and a member of the nation of Islam should be pretty obvious.

    Your friend made a diet choice, her responsibility is to not eat the meat, not to not touch it.

    Your neighbor made a moral choice in that he doesn’t like war. He should have thought once or twice before signing on with a military contractor. If there are other positions or projects in the company that aren’t making missiles, he should try and request to be moved to that project, or look for a new job.

    Muslim-man, on the other hand, has been passed down a set of rules and laws that set-in-stone as hundreds (if not thousands) of years. At his core, he truly believes that his good-old Muslim afterlife, the same afterlife his ancestors believed in, would be in jeopardy if he didn’t do his prayer.

    I know you don’t believe it, I don’t expect you too. But lets just pretend for a moment that the Muslims were right. Just pretend that because he submitted and allowed his occupation to get in the way of his twice a day prayer, he’d be suffering a hellish eternity. Pretty bad way to go, right?

    Let out that deep breath. You can stop pretending now.

    Now, what happens when your friend and neighbor do what they don’t like? Vegetarian says, “Ew, meat is so gross”, and continues her life under her self-imposed diet ruleset. The neighbor says, “This company and I don’t follow the same morals. I should get a new job, or try to get myself transferred to another project.”

    Ugh… I’m honestly so sick of Atheist-Religious arguments. You guys can never find a nice middle ground, where you and your religious brothers work together to find comprimise.

    It’s always the same with your camps.

    “Wah, religious people offend me with their customs and holidays.”

    “Wah, those soulless atheists are so mean, with their pro-gay-marriage and their abortions.”

    • Derrik Pates

      In the case of a freight truck driver, I have to disagree with you. They shouldn’t, and frequently don’t, know the exact contents of the freight they’re delivering. It’s a package (or packages). The contents should be irrelevant, as long as it’s not going to physically injure the driver or the people carrying the packages, and it’s not illegal.

      And the difference between a Muslim who doesn’t want to handle pork and a person with a peanut allergy, or Celiac disease, or something like that – handling pork will not injure them in the slightest. It will not cause them to have massive allergic reactions. They just don’t want to because their imaginary deity says (well, more like some human said, but whatever) “you shouldn’t do this”. Besides, the person with the peanut allergy can probably put on latex gloves if necessary, and still do their job – the Muslim still won’t handle the pork.

      Guess what? Religion is not immutable. It’s not a disease or disorder that you can’t help. It’s a choice. It doesn’t matter how much you believe in it. You may not have chosen to believe in it initially, but you choose to continue to believe in it. If your religious choice prevents you from doing your job, then you shouldn’t have that job. Simple. Same as the author’s aforementioned peacenik friend – if you can’t fulfill what’s required of the job, you’re in the wrong line of work. It has nothing to do with offense, and everything to do with that yes, we should protect the employment of people who will work but have a disability or allergy or whatever, as long as they can do what’s required of them, but someone’s religious choice shouldn’t entitle them to special dispensations.

    • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

      If we are going to allow such exemptions on the off chance any given religion may be true, how about if someone believes eating meat is a sin that will seriously damage their karma? Go on, prove it false. Any person can honestly believe things along this line. One would think ethical objections based on effects that actually can be proven (i.e. eating meat involves killing animals, missiles are used to kill people) should be given more weight, if any, than a remote possibility that failing to pray or handling forbidden products will send one to hell. Regardless, I don’t think religious objections should be privileged over secular ones. I doubt that serious accommodation is really possible.

  • chuck

    If we remove special treatment for religious employees, then we must also remove special treatment for religious employers, such as churches who refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control, etc.. It needs to go both ways. The flip side is that the fictional characters mentioned above should be required to to make their issues known before any offers are accepted. If employment is accepted before issues are made known, then the issues should not apply.

  • rodness

    The way you stated “Followers of Muhammad” turned me off completely to taking your article seriously. Great “journalism” you bigot.

    • Blacksheep

      I’m curious why that’s bigoted? As a Christian, I’m fine being called a “follower of Jesus”

  • Blacksheep

    It’s the job of the religious person to work their faith around their job – or get a new job if that’s not possible.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I once worked with a Baha’i. He brought in cakes one day and said it was to celebrate The Baab’s birthday. Owner said “you know, you could switch holidays and take the day off if you want?” (small programming firm). Baha’i said “no, our religion stipulates that religious observance should never interfere with life. We’re busy, we have a deadline, so my religion says I should work today, and take a day off another day”.

      • Blacksheep

        i like that. I remember the story of Jesus picking wheat on the sabbath, (which was technically unlawful), because it was more practical for the disciples to eat.

  • Kellen Dunkelberger

    Here’s a story I made up and some other stories I’m misrepresenting to get people to agree with me!

  • Ano

    If you’re going to work in an industry that goes “against your faith” so you put that industry or company in peril by refusing to do the job you were hired for…don’t work for that industry, then claim discrimination when you’re fired, for not doing your job!

  • James

    That will be the fkn day I swipe bacon for a Muslim. I would make a point of having the bacon go through last..then walk.

    • Keljopy

      Maybe if the cashier won’t swipe something, that item should be free.

      • phantomreader42

        That’s my standard policy. If I try to pay for it, and they won’t let me, then it’s free. :)

  • Bobo

    Your work has become like your religion – wow talk about priorities. Maybe you shouldn’t be such slaves to corporatism and regain some of your human dignity instead?

    • Steve Willy

      Impossible under the basic tenants of atheistic faith. Why would the products of blind pitiless indifference have any dignity to reclaim?

      • TCC

        We create our own dignity. Now fuck off.

        • Steve Willy

          Hitler, Stalin, Mao, & Pol Pot all created their own ‘dignity’ without reference to God. Now, what is your justification for not shooting yourself in the face again?

          • TCC

            Well, for one, I know the difference between “tenant” and “tenet.” You, on the other hand…

            • Steve Willy

              Wow, I guess God is imaginary. You Dawkins-Hitchens parroting megadouche. stfu!

              • TCC

                Let me know when you get some new material.

                • Steve Willy

                  Let me know when you have an explanation for not shooting yourself in the face.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Christ knows that you don’t intend to libel people and encourage a mortal sin. He probably does wish that you would stop, though. But He loves you anyway.

                • phantomreader42

                  Since you’re the only one here who wants to shoot himself in the face, why don’t you just fuck off and do it already? Oh, because your imaginary friend hasn’t given you permission to slaughter the infidels and bathe in their blood yet.

                • Steve Willy

                  Your failure to address the question presented says more about your worldview than a thousand pages of neck bearded blather ever could.

                • RobMcCune

                  You’re awfully sanctimonious (on top of just being awful) for someone who want’s others to shoot themselves in the face.

                • Steve Willy

                  Then why would a run of the mill Hitchens-Dawkins parroting Internet atheist such as yourself, one of the self-professed standard bearers for reason and logic, bother to respond? On the other hand, perhaps such nonsense is exactly what we should expect to see since atheism is, at bottom, incoherent:
                  http://communities.washingtont
                  http://www.catholicthinker.net
                  http://www.peterkreeft.com/top
                  http://www.reasonsforgod.org/t

                • RobMcCune

                  You’ve already posted that, remember? The last you were at least competent enough to get all the links to work.

                  Why should I accept that atheism incoherent from someone who lacks the ability to form original thoughts and sentences?

                • phantomreader42

                  Your inability to recognize that your idiotic question has been answered repeatedly demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that you cannot possibly be the magical conduit to universal truth you and your cult pretend to be, as you can’t even read basic English.
                  Why don’t I shoot myself in the face? I don’t want to! YOU are the one who has expressed this burning desire to kill yourself, so why don’t you just get it over with and quit whining? Or are you waiting for the voices in your head to give you permission?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Billions of years of evolution selecting for a desire for self preservation?

            • Steve Willy

              But what makes self preservation a legimate aim, on atheism? Wouldn’t an organism that cannot even contemplate self destruction have a tremendous evolutionary advantage? Why ever advance beyond bacteria? It’s pretty good at procreating.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                But what makes self preservation a legimate aim, on atheism?

                What?

                Wouldn’t an organism that cannot even contemplate self destruction have a tremendous evolutionary advantage?

                There are many factors that make an organism better adapted to a particular environment.

                Why ever advance beyond bacteria? It’s pretty good at procreating.

                There isn’t necessarily a ‘why’, it’s very likely that evolution just ‘is’. There also isn’t an ‘advance’. There’s ‘differentiate’, and I suppose you could say that multi-cellular things are ‘more complex’ than bacteria, but it’s not clear that we are ‘more advanced’ than, say, fruit flies. We have the ability to contemplate our own contemplation of the universe, but then, they can fly.

                Even the idea that we are supremely adapted by being able to adapt our environment to us may be incorrect. It may turn out in the long run that our ability to adapt our environment turns out to be an evolutionary disadvantage, and we may adapt our environment to the point that we (and many other things) can’t survive in it. So our massive brains and intellects may be our evolutionary downfall.

                • Steve Willy

                  The entirety of your last comment can be summarized as neck bearded, material reductionist wish fulfilling blather. The speciousness of it all confirms that your entire world view lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and critical thinking half as much as you claim, you would plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. The fact that you collectively have instead chose to post these Dawkins-Hitchens parroting megadouche replies demonstrates that there is no critical thinking involved in your neckbeardism. Yours is a petty, trivial, localized, earth bound philosophy, unworthy of the universe.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  It’s okay, Steve. Even though you have to violate a Commandment and even Jesus’s simplest rule so that you can vilely libel others, He still gives you all of His love.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  The universe doesn’t care what we think.

                • Steve Willy

                  When Richard Hawkins ended a debate 7 years ago with an almost identical criticism of the Resurrection (saying something to the effect that it was a petty, trivial, localized, earth bound event, unworthy of the universe), it was met by neckbeards with thunderous applause. Are you saying Hawkins’ message is meaningless and internally incoherent!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Did you examine the facial hair of each and every audience member to determine if they were in fact ‘neckbeards’? If you don’t know, then you are making a factual claim about something you don’t actually know for a fact.

                  Beyond pointing out the specific example of what you’ve been doing all this time, there is a subtler point regarding the use of rhetoric. You may get that one now that I’ve hinted at it.

                  I am going to have to put this particular exchange out to pasture. “What we have here is failure t’ communicate” and I see no use in encouraging your obsessive harping any further.

                • RobMcCune

                  Are you saying Hawkins’ message is meaningless and internally incoherent!

                  No, Rich just said the universe doesn’t care what we think. The meaningless incoherent message is your message.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Don’t worry, even though you can’t educate yourself before screaming ragefully at people over nothing, Jesus still loves you. He just wishes you’d take that beam out of your eye, or even reach for it.

              • phantomreader42

                The fact that you have no understanding of evolution, atheism, or anything else you keep babbling about, and would obviously rather die than learn, does not make your babbling persuasive, it just makes you a willfully ignorant asshat.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Sex is fun?

            • Steve Willy

              By what objective standard can ‘fun’ be shown to be preferable to non-fun or even pain? The fact that you just like it isn’t good enough. Hitler had ‘fun’ during the holocaust. You must articulate a way of establishing objectively that living a good and fun life is, well … good.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Jesus loves you even you’re ignorant, hate-ridden and have to lie to say anything.

                • Steve Willy

                  You’re a basement dwelling neckbeard in disguise, C.L., and its a crappy disguise. Yours is a petty, trivial, localized, earth bound philosophy, unworthy of the universe.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Well I have to admit you did encourage me to look up ‘neckbeard’. Gee, that’s, like, horrible.

                  I think the “Y u so angry” line is usually pretty silly, since there’s nothing with being angry under the right circumstances. But your anger does kind of amuse me and make me wonder what’s behind it. I get angry when people being wrong causes harm. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why you should care if you think our worldview is meaningless. Please, continue thinking we’re irrational. What difference is it to you? Why come here and have ragegasms over it? Do you have a general rage problem? Do you suffer from road rage too?

                • Steve Willy

                  “Well I have to admit you did encourage me to look up ‘neckbeard’.”

                  Great start, now look up the Kalaam Cosmological Argument (assuming you actually think about it) and we might be on to something.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  LOL

                  Yes, we’re familiar with William Craig’s hand waving here. Even if you assume the presuposition that everything that has a beginning requires a creator, you have no more proved God than a multiverse, let alone your God.

                  You think we’re wrong and will continue to do so. But to think we don’t know your apologetic ‘douchebaggery’ would be simply foolish.

                  Edit: Sorry, I was on my phone, that should be ‘megadouche’ not ‘douchebaggery’.

                • RobMcCune

                  Given that you think shooting one’s self in the face is a universal imperative only impeded by belief in God, I don’t think you’re the best judge of philosophical arguments.

                • phantomreader42

                  So, Steve, you’re so fucking stupid you think slapping a dumb made-up name on a shitty old stupid argument magically makes it not stupid? You and your fellow genocidal death cultist liars are laughable idiots.

                • Steve Willy

                  Your use of inflammatory language as a substitute for critical argument, although one of the more common Fallacies of the Neck Bearded Douche, nonetheless raises and almost irrefutable presumption that you have not given the issue any meaningful thought.

                • phantomreader42

                  Ah, the guy who chants Neckbeard neckbeard neckbeard!!!!111 like it’s some kind of magic spell is whining about insults. Steve, have you ever been within a mile of a mirror? Are you really THAT devoid of self-awareness? Why is it so hard to find a single christianist troll smart enough to pass the Turing test?
                  Kalaam is just a relabeling of the “First Cause” argument, which is pure special pleading (everything has to have a cause except god for special magic reasons that I really hope no one notices I haven’t even tried to explain or justify). Then the lying apologist asshat (I know that’s redundant, apologists are always lying asshats) pretends that his piss-poor failed special pleading for a poorly-defined and unevidenced generic deist god somehow magically proves that his particular version of the christian god is real because he says so and prays really hard that no one notices he didn’t even TRY to make an argument for that specific god.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  The other thing I find amusing about Kalaam in general is how people who tout it love them some Cosmology since it shows the universe had a beginning. Something Kalaam couldn’t actually know.

                  Science!!!

                  Oh wait, but when Science show us how unstable nothing is and something will spontaneously pop into existence, now those scientists aren’t as smart as our Philosophical ‘common sense’.

                • RobMcCune

                  Says the hypocrite who can’t form an original thought to save his life.

                  P.S. You’re heading into random caps territory.

                • RobMcCune

                  The only one who’s petty, trivial, and unworthy of the universe is you. Btw, come up with some new insults.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Empathy and a focus on bodily autonomy. We create our own meaning and our own purpose, guided by the culture we grew up in, our biological (evolved) instincts and imperatives, and our own thought processes.

                Is empathy a somewhat arbitrary guiding principle? Yes, but I will argue (and likely win based on empirical evidence) that it leads to the best outcomes for people, for societies, and for the environment. Thus, it ought to be adopted as the guiding principle for all our actions and it shows that living a good and fun life is good. “God said so”, on the other hand, is also a completely arbitrary guiding principle and one we know causes great harm, so it should be summarily discarded as inhumane.

                Furthermore, you are shifting the goalposts here. You asked why I didn’t kill myself, not what my code of ethics was based upon. I don’t kill myself because, quite frankly, life is good. I have friends and family I love and who love me, I’m in good health, I just bought a house, I can argue with complete strangers on the Internet, Youtube is full of weird and awesome covers of many songs, the sun rises and sets in gorgeous fashion, and sex is fun. Do people need these things to want to live? Not at all. Those are just a tiny few of the myriad reasons I stay alive. Life is too glorious and strange and wonderful to waste on worrying about what an imaginary invisible sky wizard thinks.

      • Jenny

        ‘basic tenants of atheistic faith’ is as made up as jebus. There are no tenants of atheism, save no belief in god(s) and it’s certainly not a faith. And if you’re trying to say that atheists are blind, pitiless and have indifference, you’re quite mistaken. At the very core, in general terms, atheists are so much more compassionate – and have far more empathy towards their fellow man than the ‘religious’…

        • Steve Willy

          “There are no tenants of atheism….”
          Well, intentionally misspelling the name Jesus Christ appears to be one of your tenets, since your breatheren do it with near uniformity online. Surreptitiously referring to plural ‘god(s)’ when you know you are dealing with monotheistic is another. So your own comment is self refuting much like atheism itself. It appears you have been thoroughly catechized and the sad part is, the run of the mill Internet atheist such as yourself – who thinks a semester of college and a lap top qualifies her to declare 90 per cent of humanity ‘deluded’ – is unaware of what kind of cult you are actually in.
          “save no belief in god(s) and it’s certainly not a faith. ”
          Well, you place ultimate faith in your intellect and the intellect of your neck bearded breatheren.
          “And if you’re trying to say that atheists are blind, pitiless and have indifference, you’re quite mistaken.”
          I never said such a thing and your comment tacitly acknowledges that you know this. This is the Fallacy of the Neck Bearded Douche discussed above.
          “At the very core, in general terms, atheists are so much more compassionate – and have far more empathy towards their fellow man than the ‘religious’…”
          That is a statement so desperately in need of factual support that you should be embarrassed to make it, and your failure to provide such support at the outset ipso facto invalidates the assertion. How compassionate and empathetic were Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot?

          • Jenny

            Not embarrassed, lazy, maybe – but here ya go…

            http://www.livescience.com/20005-atheists-motivated-compassion.html

            http://now.msn.com/atheists-more-compassionate-than-believers-study-finds

            Using Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hitler below is asinine. Insane is insane regardless of religious beliefs or non-belief.

            Cult? lol – Cults are organized, have leaders and followers. Atheism does not have that; while there are dominate individuals in the spot-light of atheism, they certainly do not speak for All atheists.

            “Why would the products of blind pitiless indifference have any dignity to reclaim?” –
            —- Oh, so you weren’t referring to atheists?

            Put simply – whether 90% of the population is deluded or not is not of my concern, until that delusion infiltrates into laws and gives preferential treatment.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            What Satanic rage you display during your random lies. Jesus loves you though, even though you revile His tenets.

  • Carl

    It seems a little suspicious that you only elaborate on the demands for accommodation from Muslims. Even if your thesis is reasonable, this casts doubt as to motivation.

    • Keljopy

      Actually there are links to one Jehovah’s witness and one where it’s not stated but based on the situation probably Christian. The reason there are so many Muslim examples probably has to do with the fact that a large portion of employers are themselves Christian and holidays already line up for Christians so they aren’t as likely to come into conflict with beliefs as well as a large portion of Christians (and maybe the other non-Muslim religions, I don’t know enough of them to know) being willing to tweak their beliefs/behaviors to fit around their lives, including employment instead of the other way around.

  • Mottfolly

    Let us imagine an employee refusing to do something illegal such as removing a protective device on a machine, working without proper OSHA protocol or recording false information into a log and they are fired for trumped up charges. The courts seem to find in favor of the employer. Perhaps instead of calling OSHA we should play the religion card.

  • Pat

    II wonder if I said I was pagan, would I get to take all those holidays off….WITH compensation?

    I agree, if you can’t do the job, look for something else.
    I was harassed at my job for being secular. I had no recourse.

  • Act Naturally

    So as a boss, if i were to create a contract detailing all the expected duties ( or as many as possibly) and during the interview/hiring process ask the best candidate that i choose to hire to sign it stating that they will have no problems with any of these expected duties, could I then be sued under e.o.e. laws when someone sues for the reasons presented in this article?

  • ed g

    So narrow minded. This isn’t about pork, or the Amish, this is about anyone’s beliefs and religious views. This isn’t about just two questions on an application.

    Based on those responses putting the onus on the those hiring it sounds like you’re requiring them to interpret each and every religion or lifestyle that may conflict with any and all operations for a position in which they’re hiring, especially for international applications. That seems awfully lengthy and ridiculous on behalf of those hiring. Not to mention, time consuming and wasteful for those inquiring to have to wade through in order to complete an application or interview, even if none apply. Would seem foolish to sit and go through the dozens of religions and strict interpretations of each when you have a few hundred applicants. IE – sir or madam, please bare with us as we go through this list of 100+ exceptions answering yes or no appropriately.

    Talk about a turn-off for applicants, not to mention, creepy and relatively unprofessional.

  • Mikefulton

    The rule should be simple. The employer doesn’t let someone’s religion determine if they’re hired or not, and the employee doesn’t let their religion determine they can’t do the job AFTER they’ve already got it. It should be the employee’s responsibility to determine that the job and its schedule doesn’t contradict their religious obligations. Before they’re hired.

  • G Young

    This analysis is too simplistic, and a bit of a straw man as a result. The vast majority of religious workers don’t make this sort of fuss and are religious, not through any particular fervor, but because their parents were.

    Given this, do you seriously think giving employers the ability to discriminate based on religious affiliation is a good idea? For the benefit of avoiding occasional bullshit such as you describe above, you expose a VAST number of people to exclusion and discrimination based on what boils down to their cultural background. Not worth it.

  • Tom Pretty

    Although I agree with the reasoning, it is up to the company to ask the potential candidate if there would be any problems working in said situation. If they say there isn’t (and preferably agree to it on paper), there wouldn’t be any problems what-so-ever on firing them for breaching the written agreement. Religion be damned. If you breach what was initially agreed upon, you are breaching a formal contract and therefore can not sue your employer.

    • Lagerbaer

      The problem I see with that is that some religious restrictions are so whacky that you wouldn’t think of them beforehand.

  • Aaron

    Well this is America, so every “progressive” group wants to get rid of something. Americans work an extreme amount, with very little time to chill out. If people need a release by exhibiting religious behavior, then let them have that release. I think anybody should have the right to turn down anybody for whatever the reason may be. Some already do, its just not on the books. But regardless if a religion gets in the way of work ethic and you are required to let people go, you can’t necessarily bash on any religion. Some people still like to thing they aren’t surrounded by cynical assholes, but no matter how much they like to think it, there will always be cynical assholes trying to rid the world of everything that was once good.

  • kmom4kids

    We are going crazy trying to accommodate every religious practice. If you want the job you have to do the job the same as everyone else. No special favors because of religious values. People are go crazy with them.

  • Nualaan

    I would say there needs to be more clarity in the job descriptions from the employers point of view. A general question on the application or during the interview as to whether the applicant has any personal or other objection to performing the tasks at hand. But yes, if an applicant’s religious beliefs conflict with the job requirements then they should search elsewhere. Applicants with strict religious views likewise should ask if certain conditions are present when they apply or interview.

    Likewise, I do not believe that an employer should be able to bring their religious beliefs into the workplace either (unless it is a church or church office). Employees should not be subjected to the religious whims of any employer.

    Nor should a business (other than a church proper) be able to deny a paying public customer any services or products, based on the religious or spiritual views and prejudices of the proprietors. If you open your doors to the public, serve ALL the public.

  • Chris Pickrell

    I’m sorry, if you can’t do the job your hired to do, for whatever reason, then you do not “deserve” the job. If your religion won’t allow you to do the job, then you are not a viable candidate.

    Religious protections came about when people fired someone just because they didn’t like Muslims, Catholics, or whatever religion they didn’t like that week. It should have ZERO to do firing someone for a specific reason, say, I don’t know, because you refuse to do the job you were hired to do.

    • Sugando Pulando

      Yes, but I guess other people just want to piss in everyone’s cereal.

  • Michael Allen

    The establishment clause of the First Amendment prohibits the recognition, for good or bad, the recognition of any religion or anything sufficiently entangled with religion. The wording of the First Amendment extend applies to the two tiers of government federal and state/local governments. Private employers are not necessarily subject to the previous restrictions. Private employers ARE however at liberty to establish and maintain relationships however the business wish. The laws protecting workers in a given jurisdiction might not protect a given employer that decides to terminate or refuses to hire an employee based on religion. Basically, nobody is forcing Joe’s Deli to accept and accommodate the strict mandates of the religion of its employees. If Joe’s is in a place that does not exercise a ‘right to work’ ideology, then Joe is left wide open to potential lawsuits. The only way for Joe to definitively avoid costly litigation is to go ahead and accommodate his workers.

  • FrederiOT

    Obviously made up ham-fisted story but I get your point. Then again I would have at least avoided the first one. I’m not hiring anyone without a contact email address even if I never use it.

  • John

    This has been on the agenda recently in Europe, with a few cases of supposed Christian ‘discrimination’ and ‘persecution’. Three cases in Britain were rejected (in favour of the employee) before being taken to the European Court of Human Rights……and rejected again. Reason seems to be winning.
    There was an interesting blog article written about exactly that subject

    • John
    • Steve Willy

      “Reason seems to be winning.”
      If your definition of reason involves irrational, emotionally driven and intellectually dishonest megadouchery, designed to justify your own hedonistic nihilism then yes, ‘reason’ is winning.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        What a raging, attention-suckling piece of trash you are. Don’t worry, Jesus love you anyway despite your psychotic, desperate hate of others.

        • Steve Willy

          If you truly believed your comment, you would have had no reason to post it once, much less six times. You’re a basement dwelling neckbeard in disguise, C.L., and its a crappy disguise. Whether you’re believer or not (and I’m almost certain you are not), you should be ashamed of using His name with such mocking condescension.

  • meekinheritance

    And if you work for an atheist organization (e.g., American Atheists), accept that there will be times that you are called upon to use the bible itself to show how harmful religion is/has been/can be, and remember that is the bible giving the offense, not the employer.

    • Steve Willy

      Such workers should also be prepared to justify why they haven’t already shot themselves in the face. No atheistic position can be taken seriously until two threshold questions can coherently be answered:
      1. Why is the atheist even engaging in the debate. On atheism, there is no objective basis for even ascertaining truth; there is no immaterial aspect to consciousness and all mental states are material. Therefore, everyone who ever lived and ever will live could be wrong about a thing. By what standard would that ever be ascertained on atheism? Also if atheism is true, there is no objective meaning to existence and no objective standard by which the ‘rational’ world view of atheism is more desirable, morally or otherwise, to the ‘irrational’ beliefs of religion. Ridding the world of the scourge of religion, so that humanity can ‘progress’ or outgrow it, is not a legitimate response to this because on atheism, there is no reason to expect humanity to progress or grow. We are a historical accident that should fully expect to be destroyed by the next asteriod, pandemic, or fascist atheist with a nuke. In short, if atheism is correct, there is no benefit, either on an individual or societal level, to knowing this or to spreading such ‘knowledge.’
      2. Related to this, why is the atheist debater even alive to participate. If there is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife at all, only an incredibly window of blind pitiless indifference, then the agony of struggling to exist, seeing loved ones die, and then dying yourself can never be outweighed by any benefit to existing. As rude as it way sound the atheist should have a coherent explanation for why they chose to continue existing. Failure to adequately address these threshold questions should result in summary rejection of the neckbeard’s position.

      • meekinheritance

        The debate is about employment. Atheists are both employees and employers. Thus, they have standing in the debate.
        The rest of your comments indicate you haven’t talked with any real atheists, and are making conjectures. Atheists choose to continue existing because our species, like all others, has evolved to procreate itself. Amazing and wonderful as it is, we are a historical accident, as you say. The rest of your comments (in #1) apply equally well to theists.

        What is the relevance of your last sentence?

        • Steve Willy

          “What is the relevance of your last sentence?”
          That on atheism, there is no coherent reason, philosophically, to engage in any enterprise, including employing people or being employed.

          • meekinheritance

            I mean what is the significance of neckbeards? You were conjecturing about atheists and then made this non sequitur about neckbeards. (It is a good example of having no coherent reason, by the way.)
            You didn’t read the rest of my response, where I gave the reason why both theists and atheists alike engage in enterprise.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        What a raging, attention-suckling piece of trash you are. Don’t worry, Jesus love you anyway despite your hatred of Him.

  • Carmelita Spats

    It’s time to play, “The Christ is Right!” and you are our first
    contestant since you decided to dump a pile o’ stupid on this blog.
    Ready? Jeebus says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with
    his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
    (Matthew 5:22). More stupid than someone who is skeptical of a
    trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning-god who sacrificed himself to himself? A Christian who disobeys Jesus and puts himself in danger of being sadistically tortured by psychotic Yahweh for using the word “fool”. Now, fool, before Yahweh makes you eat nails and shit screws, you might try selling condoms to eunuchs. Praise!

    • Steve Willy

      Wow, Carmela Spats is here now! Is there a single basement dwelling troll left in the multiverse who hasn’t yet dragged themselves out of the primordial oze to comment on this and to announce our collective atheism towards Thor, that gardens can be beautiful without fairies (a power rebuttal to fairy apologetics, by the way, but it leaves a lot unanswered about the Gardener), and that we cling to Bronze Age skymen due to our fear of the dark? Let me translate this into neckbeard: you are unoriginal, you are a douche, and you are wrong.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        What a raging, attention-suckling piece of trash you are. Don’t worry, Jesus love you anyway despite your contempt towards Him.

  • JKPS

    Until we prohibit smokers from taking smoking breaks as well as bathroom breaks, it doesn’t make sense to me to stop Muslims from taking both prayer breaks and bathroom breaks. Lots of great points here, particularly about being conscious about what jobs you choose to apply for, although I do understand that not everyone can be so picky.

  • ASW

    This is a great article and excellent point.

    Similarly (but obviously less serious), I found this situation with smokers when I worked in a restaurant job. My co-workers got numerous 10 minute breaks to run outside and smoke while I “covered” their section for them. But, as a non-smoker, I was not afforded the same type of breaks.

  • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

    People do have a right to their religious beliefs!!!

  • http://florforhillary.blogspot.com/ Eddie Bryan

    Why not just defend the big corporate slobs? The 1%.

  • Katherine15

    As a Christian, I do not refuse to work on Sundays. Many Churches have morning services and evening services to accommodate people who can only make one time of day. I know God wouldn’t punish me for having to work on Sundays if it’s something that I have to do to survive.
    I waitressed with a Mormon for 4 years and she refused to serve alcohol, which is something that is ordered quite often in a pub…
    But I digress… it’s the fault of the employee for not seeking out a job that would fit them. It isn’t the employers job to accommodate it’s employees when they weren’t full informed in the first place.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    The Hebrew words rendered fool in Psalms denote one who is morally deficient.

    Still pretty silly, but fools do love them some Psalm 14, without actually knowing what it’s saying of course. And so many Christians accuse atheists of reading out of context.

  • Octavo

    I already went into this on twitter with @secularwoman, but this article is woefully inadequate. You didn’t discuss the outcomes of the suits, and you led with a made up story designed to prejudice the readers in favor of the employer. Please be more skeptical and do more research when arguing that we should be stripping employee protections away.

  • joe smith

    all these ridiculous suits will just make businesses reluctant to hire people with religious quirks (sorry, they’re quirks).

  • jess

    If you know what is required of the job it is as simple as just letting the employer know ahead of time. I have health issues which require me to have frequent small snacks, it’s as simple as just letting them know so that they can make proper accommodations for me. (IF that employment opportunity CAN accommodate me)

  • Canku_wicasa

    I detect that the author demands the same kind of special treatment as that about which he so vehemently complains. Clearly his point of view is founded upon the premise that an employer’s gratification in the work place supersedes all other considerations. Further, his opening example is ludicrous. Any employer who found himself faced with such a dilemma as he describes has no one but himself to blame. Poor hiring practices are the responsibility of management not the employees whose time they waste. Apparently our “friendly” (he doesn’t seem particularly friendly to me) atheist thinks it perfectly acceptable for him to make demands against other people’s conscience while he dwaddles along oblivious to the demands of sound practice and common sense. I guess it’s always somebody else’s fault when management can’t get its s**t together.


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