‘Growth and Change’ is Against My Religion, Says Jehovah’s Witness in Lawsuit Against Employer

Sharon L. Shepherd, a Jehovah’s Witness from Erie, Pennsylvania, is suing her former employer for the most unbelievable reason I’ve ever heard.

Gannondale is a residential home for young women who have committed a crime or suffered abuse and need help and mentorship, and Shepherd was their bookkeeper until last summer, when she was fired because she refused to violate her religious beliefs.

What did they make her do? Check it out:

… [Gannondale] forced her to attend staff meetings and voice commitment to a therapeutic model of “growth and change” in violation of her religious beliefs.

As a member of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, Sharon L. Shepherd said she believes in predetermination, not change and growth.

Instead of accommodating her religion and letting her skip the meetings, Shepherd said, she was fired.

Shepherd filed the civil rights complaint against Gannondale in U.S. District Court in Erie on Friday.

They wanted her to commit to a model of “growth and change”… and she’s suing because she believes in “predetermination.” By which I guess she means God doesn’t want her to change…

Actually, “predetermination” isn’t really even a thing in the religion. And that’s part of the confusion:

Although Shepherd makes reference to her belief in what she terms “predetermination,” she does not define it or otherwise further explain it in the lawsuit.

It’s possible she’s referring to predestination — the idea that God has already planned out our lives and knows who’s going to Heaven and Hell — but that wouldn’t make any sense either since you can just rationalize that and say God wanted her to commit to the company’s new “growth and change” model. Plus, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in that… (***Update***: I changed the previous paragraph to reflect JW’s rejection of predestination.)

I can’t imagine she’ll get anywhere with this lawsuit. But I suppose God already knows that, too.

(via Religion Clause)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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