Religion

This Week in Dubious Rights: Newspaper Editor Claims Firing Over Anti-Gay Rant Violates His Religious Freedom

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An Iowa journalist is suing his employer for discrimination after being fired over anti-gay remarks on his personal blog. Robert Dale Eschliman was editor-in-chief of the Newton Daily News, which fired him following a post alleging the Bible compelled him to fight against "the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo" because they were God's enemies. 

A conservative Christian group called the Liberty Institute (ugh)—formerly the Free Market Foundation (ugh)—helped Eschliman file his suit. "There is no question that I was fired for holding and talking about my sincerely held religious beliefs on my personal blog during my off-duty time from the comfort of my own home," wrote Eschliman in his lawsuit. "I would like to have obtained a religious accommodation for my sincerely held religious belief to share my Biblical view with the few family members and friends who read my blog." 

While cloaked in the cause of religious liberty, Eschliman's lawsuit makes a mockery of the concept. First, because there is no government actor here. Rather we have a private company deciding that the way Eschliman practiced his religion interfered with his ability to properly do the job they hired him for.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does prevent employers from rejecting, punishing, or firing individuals soley based on their religious beliefs or affiliation. But it is not meant to serve as a shield that allows any religious person to avoid any aspect of a job that they oppose.

In this case, maintaining a neutral public attitude toward hot-button issues was central to Eschliman's job. No one was punishing him for privately holding or espousing anti-homosexual beliefs. But Eschliman—the lead editor of a traditional, non-ideological newspaper—wants to be able to air these beliefs publicly with total impunity. That's not asking for a reasonable accommodation, its asking for special treatment, at the expense of the company's good. 

If Eschliman's words were truly directed to only "a few family members and friends," he could have made the blog private, or sent a group email. Instead, he chose to publish these thoughts openly and freely online. Here's a snippet: 

[Jesus] said there would be deceivers. He said those deceivers would cause Christians who remain true to His teachings to become reviled. He said false prophets would follow to deceive even more, and that lawlessness will abound.

If you ask me, it sounds like the Gaystapo is well on its way. We must fight back against the enemy.

Are those firing words? Reasonable people might disagree. Ultimately, all that matters is what Eschliman's employer thought. It's certainly not uncommon to expect journalists, especially news editors, to show some restraint in expressing personal opinions publicly. For example, here's what The Associated Press advises its employees:

Anyone who works for the AP must be mindful that opinions they express may damage the AP's reputation as an unbiased source of news. They must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum, whether in Web logs, chat rooms, letters to the editor, petitions, bumper stickers or lapel buttons, and must not take part in demonstrations in support of causes or movements." 

As the Newton Daily News' editor-in-chief, asking Eschliman to keep personal political and moral beliefs out of public view is a sensible stricture of the job. What's unreasonable is expecting employers to accommodate any conduct described as a "sincerely held religious belief," even if that conduct is antithetical to the employer's aims. Here's what the EEOC says about the limits of religious accommodations by employers (emphasis mine):  

The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. 

An individual's "right" to practice their religion however they want while simultaneously holding any job they want does not trump an employer's prerogative to run their business as they see fit or necessary.

Yet asserting otherwise seems to be popular this week. In another current case, a Florida nurse who opposes contraception and refuses to prescribe it is suing after being told she doesn't meet the requirements for a job that involves a good deal of counseling about and prescribing contraception. Here is an applicant stating up front that she refuses to do a core part of the job in question and then suing for discrimination when told she's not qualified for said job. It's mind-boggling. These are fights for "religious liberty" in the same way compelling homophobic photographers to work gay weddings or Christian conservative companies to offer birth control are wins for equality. 

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  1. “There is no question that I was fired for…”

    Blah, blah, blah. I don’t need to hear the rest. Free Market Foundation (ugh) is right.

    1. Meaning the ugh part is right.

  2. Who didn’t see this type of thing coming?

    1. People who didn’t see this sort of thing coming. Wedding cake bakers? Florists? Wedding photographers?

  3. He deserves to lose this case, but it’s not surprising to see it filed when you have people filing suits when a baker doesn’t want to make them a cake. Both of these have less merit than ENB’s alt-text defense.

    1. Would that be the right to remain silent?

      1. Anything you say or do will be held against you in the court of public opinion. You have the right to keep a lawyer on permanent retainer as a hedge against frivolous lawsuits. If you cannot afford an attorney, you are well fucked and will be required to bake cakes or take photos for the gay couple you mortally offended.

    2. The shitheads on one side try and use the law to fuck their opponents, and then the shitheads among their opponents try and do it right back. Shitheads gonna shithead.

    3. Why does he deserve to lose? First, legally,he has a strong case. That of course doesn’t make his case worthy. That being said, why is he in the wrong and not the employer? Even if they can legally do this, why are they right to do so? If the guy was good at his job, isn’t it pretty narrow minded and shitty to fire him for something he said in his private capacity? Or do you believe that anyone who objects to homosexuality does not deserve to even hold a job?

      1. He’s a news editor and posted those remarks on a public blog. That is not good for his publication’s public image and is assumedly bad for their bottom line. I don’t see why it’s unreasonable to fire him in those circumstances.

      2. I don’t believe anyone deserves to hold a job. He’s in the wrong because he’s not entitled to a job. I don’t give a shit why the employer fired him. Hell, the employer could have fired him because he was too good at his job and he would still be wrong to sue.

        This has nothing to do with his stance on homosexuality. You’re trying to make this a culture war thing again.

      3. “Or do you believe that anyone who objects to homosexuality does not deserve to even hold a job?”

        You can’t be freakin serious. Way to engage in the same strawmen antics as the progtards. I used to think the Red Tony think was out of proportion, but now I see it.

      4. Is there any issue on which you don’t automatically side with the homophobes?

        1. If the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin then isn’t it discriminatory to fire someone for expressing their religious belief that homosexuality is a sin? If so, he has a case. In 1964 it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone that expressing Christian beliefs would be considered wrong and certainly not in the context of stating a dislike of homosexuality. And that is the problem with the government conferring ‘rights’. Someone’s ox always ends up getting gored.

  4. I get really sick of conservatives saying their rights were violated because they were fired from a private company. Inventing new bullshit rights is the supposed to be the progs territory, and they’re making it hard to keep score.

    1. I am sick of that thing that almost never happens also, yes I am

      1. People said the same thing when eich got fired. And made similar remarks about the Donald sterling situation.

    2. So, I can fire you (or anyone) for supporting gay rights then, correct?

      The sword cuts both ways, and this is they best way to slow the march of the creation of new “rights” out of whole cloth – hit them back, twice as hard, with their own weapons.

      1. “So, I can fire you (or anyone) for supporting gay rights then, correct?”

        From the purely libertarian perspective? Absolutely.

      2. If you employ me, then you should be able to fire me for any goddamn reason you want.

        1. Is Iowa an employment-at-will state?

    3. Great Libertarian Hope Chris Kluwe is threatening to sue the Vikings for discrimination.

      1. He’s proven to be a pretty big piece of shit lately too.

        1. You wouldn’t see your boy Peyton Manning do that.

          1. This sentence is so retarded I’m almost tempted to think it’s too much even for the real libertymike.

    4. Yeah, but it’s really fucking funny to see their own tactics turned back against them.

      Karma, or irony, or something.

  5. Mr. Robert Dale Eschliman may I introduce you to your At-Will contract.

    1. Kinnath,

      I introduce you to the Civil Rights Act.

      1. Given current fortune 500 standards and practices, Mr. Eschliman can openly wear his crucifix at work, but he can’t go home and blather shit on the Internet that embarrasses his employer.

        1. Nor can he lecture his co-workers on the proper Christian life during work hours.

        2. bullshit he can’t. You have to apply a consistent standard. AP reporters weigh in on controversial things all of the time. They are never punished until now. AP will get killed in court.

          I get it that you guys hate religion and are happy with people discriminating against it. The Constitution and the Law as it currently stands looks at it differently.

          1. The Constitution and the Law as it currently stands

            are in direct opposition.

            1. The Constitution says that the government can’t force your employer to fire you based on your religion. It doesn’t say shit about your employer firing you based on your religion.

              1. II. What Discriminatory Practices Are Prohibited by These Laws? Under Title VII, the ADA, GINA, and the ADEA, it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including:

                hiring and firing;
                http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html

                1. Carol, are you agreeing with us or not? It sounds like you are trying to prove us wrong by showing law (not the constitution) that says private individuals can’t discriminate, but that is what kbolino and I were saying.

                  1. An employer should be able to hire and fire at will but unfortunately that isn’t what the law says. I think the guy is full of shit but he is protected none the less. I would say change the law but the chances of doing that are somewhere between slim and none. I am one of those icky people that says we should go by the Constitution, in which case he wouldn’t be protected, but I don’t think that there is a chance in Hell that will happen.

                    1. So basically you’re talking completely unrelated to kbolino’s point?

                    2. Sounds kinda like the exact same point to me, actually (that the law and constitution read differently on employment discrimination).

          2. When did the AP lose a suit for firing someone for holding controversial views?

            1. What difference does it make? That doesn’t mean they won’t lose this one.

              1. And the fact that not everyone who has ever written anything controversial has been fired doesn’t mean this is religious discrimination.

          3. I get it that you guys hate religion and are happy with people discriminating against it.

            You are talking to the wrong guy. That’s not me.

            In the current corporate environment where diversity must be celebrated, you can’t say gays are evil because butt sex is icky and you can’t say gays are evil because “god”.

            I guarantee you that his personal posts violated some current HR policy — not because he was spouting religious stuff, but because he was intimidating other company employees.

            The 1st amendment argument isn’t going to cut it.

            1. And I guarantee you that policy hasn’t been enforced before now. Sorry, having a policy isn’t good enough if you don’t enforce it consistently.

              Like I have said about six times now, unless you can show me where other reporters have been fired for expressing controversial opinions, AP is guilty here.

              1. You may be assuming that I think he deserved to get fired because I am explaining why he was extraordinarily stupid to post the stuff he posted when he is an upper-management kind of employee. That would be a bad assumption.

          4. Note the guy got fired for the same reason a guy would get fired for saying offensive things about women.

            Corporate HR departments are terrified about sexual harassment and hostile workplace lawsuits.

            The guy was a fucking executive. No way NR was going to ignore the guy.

            1. Why is what he said “offensive”. By your definition, the entire Christian religion is “offensive’. Again, you don’t like him. But that doesn’t make the firing legal or even moral.

              1. I personally don’t give a fuck what he said.

                But I am saying that a private business that hires LGBTQ employees and sells products to LGBTQ customers has the right to fire someone that posts messages outside work that insult LGTBQ employees and customers.

                And given the string of recent court decisions essentially making sexual orientation a protected status, the board is probably smart to chuck the guy out on his ass.

                And I don’t think his lawsuit has a chance to win.

              2. Comparing gay people and gay rights advocates to the Gestapo isn’t offensive?

              3. Note this is the outcome of bad law versus bad law. All it takes is one gay guy to go to HR and say he feels intimidated at work because the editor-in-chief posted in a public forum that gays are evil, and the editor is gone. Cause we know how this ground-breaking sexual discrimination lawsuit would turn out.

          5. The Constitution says nothing about this. Preventing government from imposing, supporting, or restricting religion has nothing to do with whatever the AP chooses to do with its employees.

      2. “Kinnath,

        I introduce you to the Civil Rights Act.”

        Apparently you didn’t get the memo that we don’t give a shit about the Civil Rights Act.

        1. we don’t give a shit about the Civil Rights Act

          The courts do.

          1. So? That doesn’t justify John’s moral stance that initiating the use of force is acceptable in this case.

  6. regardless of the first-amendment claims made, one must give the guy credit =

    “”the LGBTQXYZ… and the Gaystapo””

    …make for some genuinely awesome Cartoon Villains

      1. Don’t let any local law enforcement types see that; they’ll start insisting they need old TOW missiles or SP artillery of their own.

  7. Its about time.

    1. It’s about space.

  8. You can’t fire someone based on their religion. Religion is a protected class. If you can’t fire someone for their religion, then you can’t fire them for making statements consistent with their religion on their private blog. I don’t think you could fire a Muslim for blogging that everyone who doesn’t believe in Allah is going to hell. If you say you can, then religion is a “protected class” just so long as you don’t express any of your religious views at any time even in your private capacity.

    Understand, these remarks were made on his private blog. He didn’t do anything at work. Yes, in an ideal world, private employers should be able to hire and fire for any reason they choose. We do not however live in such a world. He has a very good case against his former employer for illegally firing him based on his religion.

    1. Given that freedom of association is not really a thing in America anymore it’s really a judicial toss-up as to if he wins his case or not. It’s hard to say what will come of this so if you are part of the anti-gay brigade why not give it a swing? I mean, you’re dicks and all, but, hey, go for it. This is America where nothing written down as a law precludes it from meaning anything else, including the exact opposite of what it says.

      If the principle that barring contractual agreement to the contrary anyone can hire, fire, work, or quit at their leisure was accepted then none of this shit would be happening.

      Also with these culture war stories it is fun to invert it and guess if the person writing about it would still hold the same position. I’m guessing ENB would, she seems a straight shooter, but mostly the people writing about it could give a fuck about the principles so long as they get the outcome they want.

      1. She would say they guy shouldn’t have a claim. But she wouldn’t deny the guy was being discriminated against like she does here.

      2. ENB supported that law keeping protesters some distance from abortion clinics.

        1. Nope, I didn’t, not ultimately. I did when I first read about the case (last year) but not upon reading more about it.

          1. Good for you for changing your mind. But why the hell did you support it in the first place?

          2. I’m aware. I read your HyR post (well, most of it).

            But it does show what your bias is when you’re ‘thinking fast.’ Not that I don’t have my own.

          3. …but not upon reading more about it getting hired at a libertarian publication with a different editorial stance.

        2. It’s kind of weird. I’ve read like three of her posts, and none of this surprises me. It’s like you read so much of this stuff every day, you just get a feel for it.

          Elizabeth Nolan Brown.
          Elizabeth Nolan Brown.

          “Lover, feminist, nutritionist.”

          *laughs ass off*

    2. Private blog is an oxymoron.

      Read the article:

      The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer’s business.

      1. Except Tonykins, it doesn’t pose any burden at all:

        1) A private weblog doesn’t impede the printing of articles by the newspaper a whit. As long as he shows up for work and pounds away at the keyboard and produces the number of words his editor asks for their operations are humming along just fine.

        2) Apparently the fright of losing customers is not an acceptable reason to discriminate against someone’s religious views. According to the EEOC.

        John is absolutely right that under the rules of the EEOC the firing was unlawful. It will be interesting watching what excuse judges come up with to justify the firing without gutting the EEOC. John says they can’t. I think they can and they will.

      2. The rule has to be consistently applied. It is doubtful it has.

    3. “You can’t fire someone based on their religion.”

      Says who? An arbitrary central authority? Who gives a shit? You’re using the exact same argument as the progtards did about the guy refusing to bake a cake. It has no moral standing.

      1. Says the law. If you don’t like the law, good for you. I don’t either. But that doesn’t change what the law is.

        1. “I don’t either.”

          Apparently you feel the need to support it.

  9. the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s choice.

  10. ENB is right on this one, except that she is too optimistic about the EEOC. Their Web page seems to contemplate some serious restrictions on employer autonomy. Yeah, the mention their “more than minimum” standard, but they also say:

    “Unless it would be an *undue hardship* [emphasis added] on the employer’s operation of its business, an employer must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices. This applies not only to schedule changes or leave for religious observances, but also to such things as dress or grooming practices that an employee has for religious reasons. These might include, for example, wearing particular head coverings or other religious dress (such as a Jewish yarmulke or a Muslim headscarf), or wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair (such as Rastafarian dreadlocks or Sikh uncut hair and beard). It also includes an employee’s observance of a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments (such as pants or miniskirts).”

    Again: “Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.”

    http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm

    1. And what’s an undue hardship?

      “An accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.”

      In short, the Obama administration rejects the idea of the *government* offering serious religious accomodations, but requires *private businesses* to do so.

      Or to put it another way, private businesses – if Obama had his way – would have no religious freedom rights, but they *would* be required to accomodate the religious demands of their employees.

    2. The AP is going to lose this case. ENB just assumes they will win because she doesn’t like this guy’s views and his happy he was fired. Libertarians often forget that free exercise of religion is an actual no kidding right protected by the Constitution and religious affiliation is a protected class under the CRA just like race or sex.

      1. Mmm, I don’t believe it’s the AP that’s part of the suit. It looks like ENB referenced them for an example.

      2. I would legalize religious discrimination, but yes, I don’t see how *under current* law this case is any worse than other cases where employers have been required to make accomodations.*

        Check out this recent story:

        “BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A Jasper, Ala., nursing home violated federal law when it refused to allow a Muslim employee to wear a hijab (the traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn by Muslim women) on the job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed June 30. EEOC v. Shadescrest Health Care Center, ND Ala. Case 6:14-cv-01253-SLB (June 30, 2014). The agency also contends that Shadescrest fired the employee in retaliation for filing a complaint with the EEOC.”

        http://www.jdsupra.com/legalne…..rel-03278/

        *Forgetting about the 1st Amendment issues, and if bakers don’t have 1st Amendment rights, why should the media have any?

        1. The law is what it is. And if this guy were Muslim and were suing, Reason wouldn’t cover it much less lampoon him.

          It is disappointing to see Brown, who I normally like, being the same beltway douche bag culture warrior the rest of the Reason staff is.

        2. Jasper is the southern tip of hillbilly country. They might’ve refused to allow the hijab for her safety.

      3. I couldn’t care less whether he was fired or not. I’m just saying it’s totally within the realm of reasonable expectations to ask journalists at non-ideological publications not to go around blathering in public about their political and moral beliefs. It doesn’t matter if those beliefs are religiously motivated or not; if not publicly stating controversial beliefs is part of your job, it’s part of your job. If stating those beliefs is so important to you, find one of the many jobs for which this isn’t a requirement.

        1. Agreed, but you may have to go against the EEOC. See above, and also this:

          Under new religious-accomodation guidelines of the EEOC, “customer preference will *not* constitute undue hardship under any circumstances, even if they have a “more than de minimis” impact on the employer’s business.”

          http://www.natlawreview.com/ar…..checks-and

          If customers require your cocktail waitresses to have short skirts, too bad if they have a religious objection! Will the media be able to wrangle some kind of exemption?

        2. “non-ideological publications”

          They have those?

          1. Damn you, Gilmore.

            1. I must be shopping at the wrong supermarket.

              Does she mean, like Cosmo?

        3. I almost forget how to do this, so I’ll just quote it.

          “…at non-ideological publications.”

          Holy crikey.

          Of course, they should be able to fire his ass if they want, but that little clause was so rich…

        4. I’m just saying it’s totally within the realm of reasonable expectations to ask journalists at non-ideological publications not to go around blathering in public about their political and moral beliefs. It

          Sure it is, except that AP has never done that before this guy. It may be reasonable, but that doesn’t make it reassonable to only apply to one class of person.

          For example, it is reasonable to fire people who come to work late. It is not reasonable however to fire a black employee for being late while doing nothing to white employees who are. That is exactly what is happening here. AP reporters make political statements all of the time. AP only decided to enforce this “reasonable rule” when the Christian guy asserted political views.

          You are wrong about the merits of his case. He has a very good one and the facts are pretty clear that he is being discriminated against because of his religion.

          1. Sure it is, except that AP has never done that before this guy.

            I’m gonna pull the cite card for that. I’m sure the AP has fired reporters for their views before; there might be a pattern to those firings but I’m sure this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

            Just because this one made the headlines doesn’t mean it’s the only time.

            1. If they can show that, they have a shot. But all he has to do is show cases where other reporters made statements and were not punished and he wins. That is a pretty easy task.

              1. 1) This wasn’t AP; I was just using it as an example.

                2) I put some examples below of this happening, and these were ones I found just from 2 minutes of Googling.

                1. And I can turn on the TV for five minues Elizabeth and hear reporters making all kinds of political statements. It is what most of them do.

                  And lastly, your examples are just of people claiming that was the case not where the employer said that was the case.

              2. But all he has to do is show cases where other reporters made statements and were not punished and he wins.

                You of all people should know the law is never adjudicated so simplistically. You’re projecting here, John. You want this guy to win as a fuck-you to all the lefties who used the same arguments to win cases in the past.

                Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t play the tit-for-tat game. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The CRA is an unconstitutional law that stomps all over the freedom of association.

                Under different circumstances, you would see libertarians making the same arguments about the CRA, yet you would not find them objectionable.

                You have a horse in this race, and liberty is not it.

                1. You of all people should know the law is never adjudicated so simplistically.

                  Yes it is. This is how employment discrimination cases are litigated. They hinge on issues like “do you have a legitimate business reason for doing this’ and “have you applied this rule consistently in the past”.

                  Fuck you. You don’t know shit about how these cases work. If you did, you would understand that this guy has a good case. You only don’t because you are typical Atheist who magically becomes retarded whenever the subject in any way involves religion.

                  1. Yeah, there’s nothing about that which is ambiguous. Lawyers are not known for driving Mack trucks through the holes of laws created by such clear wording as “legitimate business reason”, especially as pertains to businesses which produce such concrete products as news reporting.

                    you are typical Atheist

                    Facts not in evidence

                    who magically becomes retarded whenever the subject in any way involves religion.

                    It has nothing to do with religion. His employer (not the AP apparently) could have fired him for being black, for being a transexual lesbian midget, for being a lizard person in the employ of the Illumaniti, or simply because it was Fire Somebody Tuesday.

                    I would still take the same position.

          2. What if his blog DOES damage the reputation of this newspaper, and circulation tanks?

            1. Sucks to be them. If they allowed other reporters to make controversial statements, they forfeited the right to enforce it selectively now.

      4. Please, John!

        First, we have zillions of examples of political/moral considerations prompting judges to overrride clear language of statutes or the constitution. For example, the third circuit’s decision to ignore stated congressional intentions and the plain language of the statutes to claim that PACA authorizes subsidies to the Federal Exchange, to the law covering religious exemption to social security (discriminates against religions founded after 1950).

        Moreover, their defense won’t be that he was the wrong religion, that his comments in public – though consistent with his religious beliefs – were likely to cause them to lose customers and thus be costly in the form of lost income.

        1. The “he was the wrong religion” defense is, granted, nearly invincible. It convinced ENB.

      5. ” Libertarians often forget that free exercise of religion is an actual no kidding right protected by the Constitution”

        No we don’t. We just understand the difference between protection from being thrown in jail by government and protection from being fired from a job.

        1. “We just understand the difference between protection from being thrown in jail by government and protection from being fired from a job.”

          Precisely.

        2. Then stop allowing your biases to prevent you from understanding the difference between explaining what the law is and thinking the law is good.

          1. You’re doing a lot more than explaining what the law is. Your the one who opened up with this nonsense:

            “why is he in the wrong and not the employer? Even if they can legally do this, why are they right to do so? If the guy was good at his job, isn’t it pretty narrow minded and shitty to fire him for something he said in his private capacity? Or do you believe that anyone who objects to homosexuality does not deserve to even hold a job?”

            It’s your stance that because this time you have the backup of guns from government, you would be perfectly in the right in imposing your will by force. You’re every bit as immoral and reprehensible as the progtards, and that’s why you will be argued against vehemently on this thread. Not because we don’t understand “the difference between explaining what the law is and thinking the law is good” but because you are going way beyond that. You are taking a moral stance that initiating the use of force is justified in this case because you have arbitrary words on a piece of paper and an army to back you up.

            1. Wow you are fucking stupid. I mean really Alan, you are amazingly fucking stupid.

              I think this guy’s employers were dicks for doing this. I also think they violated the law in doing so. Neither of those two things are inconsistent with my belief that it should not be illegal for them to fire him, no matter how stupid I or anyone else thinks their reasons are.

              Seriously, just stop it. You need to put up a better effort here.

              1. No, you have clearly stated already that you believe an immoral law should be enforced. So you should just cheer on the law enforcement officers next time they break down someone’s door in a no-knock raid to enforce drug laws.

                1. Alan, lots of laws are immoral. If the standard is “if you think it is in any way immoral, it shouldn’t be enforced” no laws will ever be enforced. Whatever the standard for a law being so immoral it should be the subject of civil disobedience, the CRA doesn’t reach it, even though it is a bad law that should be repealed.

                  Moreover, people benefit from this law every day. Why should this guy not be able to unless the law is repealed?

      6. …and religious affiliation is a protected class under the CRA just like race or sex.

        That’s the only part that’s really important in this case. It’d be nice to think this type of lawsuit might make people reconsider whether having protected classes in employment is a good idea in the first place, but I doubt it. We just need to protect the right classes. We’re always one more law away from a perfect society.

  11. In this case, maintaining a neutral public attitude toward hot-button issues was central to Eschliman’s job.

    Because reporters are fired all of the time for expressing political opinions. Really Elizabeth? Did you write that with a straight face? Unless you can show me where reporters were disciplined and or fired for expressing political views, that will not to cut it as a legitimate business reason. And you should be ashamed of yourself for claiming it could.

      1. None of those are AP. At best you show other news organizations don’t discriminate. That doesn’t help AP here. Further, those cases are where he guy being fired says that was the reason. Show me where AP fired a reporter who made statements about a controversial topic.

        Come on Elizabeth, I expected a better effort. It is not like you are Suderman or something.

        1. This guy didn’t work for AP either.

          1. They didn’t work for the Iowa Daily News either. The cases don’t help their cause.

            1. Newton Daily News, jeez

        2. Hey now…

          why do you diss on Suderman? The O’Care beat is a serious piece of work. He does a good job with it.

          1. Yea, I wouldn’t wish that beat on my enemy.

        3. You asked me to show instances of this ever happening. Here are 8 I found in two minute of Googling.

          1. And even those cases are not clear. All of those were cases that the fired guy claimed it but the employer didn’t say that. The only thing that would help the employer here is examples where they were clear that was why they were punishing a reporter.

            And beyond that, your examples don’t help this employer

  12. Speaking of cartoons,

    has there ever been any consensus on the exact center of gravity of the Onion’s Editorial Cartoonist ‘Kelly‘ (he of the weeping Statue of Liberty)

    1. Sorry…

      I was saying, it seems that no one has precisely decided how much of his (Kelly’s) material is a righty -making-fun-of -leftys-view-of-the-right, or a lefty- making-fun-of-rightwingers-own- sense-of-humor … and its the very confusion about it that makes it interesting in the first place…

      as satire, i think his stuff is great in how it mocks the conventions of modern politics and shows how silly and shallow most of these issues are in contemporary debate. Very GenX. Of course, that’s just me projecting.

      Regardless, the weeping statue of liberty is a priceless thing.

    2. Completely forgot =

      Tim Cavanaugh did a piece for the LA Times decoding Kelly for all of us, about 7 years ago…

      “Ward Sutton’s “Kelly” cartoons for The Onionare 24-carat fool’s gold. Their wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels layers of lampoon and self-reference make it nearly impossible to tell the dancer from the dance.”

      basically, satire of editorial-cartoon language itself. As tim put it in the title “hacking hackwork”

      1. I have never gotten “Kelly” either. Perhaps, at some point, extreme self-consciousness and self-reflection just leads to a muddled mass, which is how I’ve always chalked it up, rather than trying to find intellectual meaning out of it. At some point, IMO, intellectual clarity becomes important, and dissonance and doubt just leads to a mass of incomprehensible shit forced upon the reader.

        But that’s always been my take on him. I love that you brought it up, though, as it has always bothered me.

        1. Maybe, instead of pulling a “Kelly,” I should be more direct instead of gussying it up.

          To put it in simple drug terms, he’s a bad trip.

  13. “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo”

    Such compelling prose. It’s a shame that this episode could cheat Eschliman out his deserved Pulitzer.

    1. I always liked the now-obscure term “Homintern.”

  14. In another current case, a Florida nurse who opposes contraception and refuses to prescribe it is suing after being told she doesn’t meet the requirements for a job that involves a good deal of counseling about and prescribing contraception.

    I was assured that nothing like this would ever happen and that any claim people would use RFRA type laws to files suits like this was just my anti-Christian paranoia.

    1. If you don’t like protected classes, tough shit. The day we repeal the CRA, these laws should go with them. But if we are going to have them, then you are going to have to go fuck yourself and understand that even people you hate are entitled to legal protection.

      1. But if we are going to have them, then you are going to have to go fuck yourself and understand that even people you hate are entitled to legal protection.

        Do you really believe this? I have a “gay marriage because equal protection” bridge to sell you…

        1. Gays are not a protected class. If they become such by law, then yeah, we have to live with it. So yes I do believe it.

          The one thing worse than having a CRA, is having a CRA and ignoring it when the group that it protects is someone we don’t like.

          1. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is not framed in terms of “protected classes”. It prohibits discrimination “on the basis of” certain factors.

            Creating protected classes may have been the effect, but if we are talking about fidelity to the law, that is not how it was written.

            1. The law is how the courts interpret it. You dodn’t like the way the courts interpreted it. Good for you. That doesn’t change the effect of that.

              And even as written, you can’t fire someone because of their religion and that includes firing them for expressing their religious views.

              1. You can’t have it both ways, either it’s “protected classes” or “on the basis of”.

                Religion is a basis, not a class. Members of a specific religion can constitute a class, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that “Christian” is not likely to be among the protected classes, in much the same way that “white” and “male” aren’t either.

      2. Interesting to see john jump on the “if you disagree with me you’re a bigot!” Bandwagon

        1. It is not interesting to see you miss the point. I never said anything like that. I said some of the people on here let their dislike of religion prevent them from thinking rationally about the issue or understanding what the law says.

          But don’t let that stop you from burning that straw man.

          1. How is stating that multiple people here hate religious people not accusing them of being bigots?

            1. They are bigots because that is what they are. Their disagreeing with me doesn’t make them bigots. Their inability to think cogently about the law is driven by the fact that they as a general rule don’t think straight when it comes to religion. The bigotry is an explanation. It is not to say that they are necessarily bigoted for not understanding the CRA. Maybe they are just stupid. Only they know the truth. I was just being charitable and assuming they really were not that stupid and this is just a blind spot for them.

              1. Substitute “racist” for “bigot” and change a few others words and this could have been posted on a left-wing site about conservatives

    2. That case involves a federally funded health care center and the nurse claims they want her to do abortions, which if true would violate the Church Amendment, which has been in force since the 1970s.

      As the nurse’s law firm puts it, “Federal and state law make it clear that being pro-abortion cannot be a prerequisite for employment, nor can federally funded facilities force nurses to assist with practices that could lead to an abortion.”

      http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/?CID=78491

    3. I was assured that nothing like this would ever happen and that any claim people would use RFRA type laws to files suits like this was just my anti-Christian paranoia.

      This isn’t an RFRA based lawsuit you abject retard.

  15. John, the reason you are a laughingstock is that you are constitutionally incapable of hiding your biases. All of a sudden your on the “people can’t get fired because of their protected status!” bandwagon? Since when? Should that apply to gays? Or do employers of gay people have the right to fire people for whatever reason they want?

    1. All of a sudden your on the “people can’t get fired because of their protected status!” bandwagon

      It is called the Civil Rights Act. Religion is protected just like race and sex. You really are the most profoundly ignorant person on earth. There isn’t a single subject that you are not dangerously ignorant. You are like the world champion of idiocy.

      But more than anything you are hateful. You hate so many people and really yourself and it drives your entire view of the world. All you see here is someone you hate and want to suffer and preferably die and so you know which side to take. What a dreary horrible person you are.

      1. Are you seriously trying to tell me you have been on the side of the CRA and not on employers’ rights to fire for whatever reason this whole time? Please do correct me if I’m wrong.

        1. No. I am telling you that the CRA should go, but until it does, it should be enforced as it is written and not waived just because we don’t like one group or another. But since you are as dumb as Alan_S, you didn’t understand that point and took it as me endorsing the CRA.

          1. Said this already further down:

            Just because a law exists, doesn’t mean that you have to support the enforcement of it. By your logic, you should adamantly be supporting the enforcement of drug laws.

          2. Here is how religion is treated under the CRA, since you’re so interested in following the letter of the law.

            This guy’s vocal bigotry created an undue hardship on the employer and violated his employer’s policies.

            Imagine a different scenario. The employee was fired for being outspoken for gay rights on a blog. How would you feel then?

            1. Tony you are an idiot. You still have to consistently enforce the rule. And further, “our customers hate you” doesn’t count as a burden. That is not what the rule means. But since you are functionally illiterate, I don’t expect you to understand that point.

              1. So according to the AP’s employment requirements and your interpretation of the law, anyone employed by the AP can rightly be fired for expressing political opinions on public fora, unless those opinions are about how gay people are evil?

    2. Or do employers of gay people have the right to fire people for whatever reason they want?

      They don’t. But they should.

      Not that complicated.

    3. Tony writes =

      “Tony|7.24.14 @ 4:51PM|#

      …the reason you are a laughingstock…”

      and somewhere a pig has broken the sound barrier.

    4. The reason John is a laughing stock is the same reason you’re a laughing stock. Notice how you’re arguments are mirrored. Blue Tony meet Red Tony.

      1. Gee Alan, I am sorry you are both too stupid to understand the issue and also lack even the creatively to effectively snark.

        Seriously, do you do anything on here well? Red Tony, did you think hard to come up with that one? If you are not smart enough to counter my points, just try shutting up. It is easier that way.

        1. If you are not smart enough to come up with an effective counter-argument beyond ad hominems, you should just try shutting up. Just because a law exists, doesn’t mean that you have to support the enforcement of it. By your logic, you should adamantly be supporting the enforcement of drug laws.

          1. Just because a law exists, doesn’t mean that you have to support the enforcement of it.

            No one said you had to. And I am not making an Ad homonym attack. I am attacking you personally. My disdain of you has nothing to do with my opinion of your views. I am saying your stupid because your points are stupid. I am not saying your points are wrong because you are stupid. That would be ad homenem. You can’t even get that right.

            1. I am not saying your points are wrong because you are stupid. That would be ad homenem. You can’t even get that right.

              LOL

            2. “I am saying your stupid because your points are stupid”

              No I believe you just said “You’re stupid” and left it at that.

              “No one said you had to.”

              “No. I am telling you that the CRA should go, but until it does, it should be enforced.”

              You are taking a stance that it should be enforced.

            3. Homonym?

              *HATE SPEECH!*

              “Ad Homonym” would suggest you are attacking words that mean different things but are spelled the same?

              “The Poles are stubbornly inflexible!”

  16. A hilarious, bastard, offspring of way that anti-discrimination laws violate freedom of association rights.

    This is just the flipside of the anti-gay-marriage bakery and photography cases.

    If were going to force bakers to bake cakes for gay weddings, on anti-discrinination grounds, then it follows that newpapers must be forced to employ Christian gay-bashers. It’s only fair.

    Unless, we’re going to be like Tony and be total hypocrites by essentially advocating to institutionally discriminate against people with religious beliefs he doesn’t like. In progresso-land it’s legal to fire a person because you don’t like their religious beliefs (just SOME, specific, religious beliefs though), and it’s mandatory to ban someone from commerce because of their religious beliefs. But it’s illegal to refuse to serve someone a cake.

    1. Religion is treated differently from the how-you-were-born minority classes in US law. It is protected, but you are able to fire someone if their religious practice causes more than a minimal burden on operations. I think that’s fair and sensible. We can’t have people collecting paychecks saying their religion requires them not to do any work. And being a public bigot, even if you claim it is a sincerely held religious belief, can clearly negatively affect operations for some businesses.

      So in jurisdictions where customer-based civil rights law applies to gays, the right of gays to be free of discrimination in places of public accommodation does indeed trump the right of business owners to discriminate against them–the same application given to racial minorities (which is only fair).

      Religious belief is just not as protected, and if you want my personal opinion we accommodate it more than enough already. I wonder if my commute would be less polluted by ugly churches if they weren’t tax-exempt.

      1. Religion is treated differently from the how-you-were-born minority classes in US law. It is protected, but you are able to fire someone if their religious practice causes more than a minimal burden on operations.

        In practice that means it is virtually impossible to fire them. You know just enough to be dangerous Tony.

        1. What the gay marriage cases have elucidated and what, I think, is relevant here, is that it’s not enough to claim that your antigay bigotry is sincerely held religious belief. Religion is not a universal shield from consequences for discriminatory or disruptive behavior. People played the religion card in discriminating against blacks too. It doesn’t always and shouldn’t always trump.

          Let’s be honest, religion is mostly a substitute for thought and decency.

          1. Let’s be honest, religion is mostly a substitute for thought and decency.

            Now see, this right here is an example of “a typical Atheist who magically becomes retarded whenever the subject in any way involves religion.”

            See the difference?

            1. Well, at least it would be, if I was quoting someone other than Tony. He doesn’t “magically become” retarded, that is pretty much his natural state of being.

              1. Damn. Now the squirrels make me look retarded.

            2. That would imply he’s not retarded when the subject is something other than religion…

            3. Religion had its run. It’s well past time for maximum mockery.

      2. oh, ho, suddenly, religious belief is just not as protected … just not as important is sexual orientation.

        That’s AWFULLY CONVENIENT, Tony.

        1. I didn’t write the law. Actually it is more protected than sexual orientation federally, at the moment.

          1. Exactly. Up until now, religion was at least equally protected.

            Now, as soon as it’s convenient FOR YOU, you don’t think it should be equally pretected. You think it should be less protected then the protected class that YOU (conveniently) happen to belong to.

            1. Of course I want sexuality to be just as protected as race and sex. Don’t you?

              1. But you don’t want to extend the protection to religion – conveniently for you, because that would cause you the inconvenience of having to treat people with beliefs you don’t like as equals.

                1. I am fine with how current law treats religion (on civil rights–not tax exemption). Which does not extend so far as as to allow people to claim religious exemption at the expense of their employers or anyone else. You should be fine with that. I’d think you’d be fine with employers not having to state their reason at all when they fire people.

                  1. I’m totally fine with it. What I object to is that you want more protections for a whole bunch of other groups that happen to be groups that YOU LIKE.

                    You’re a fucking hypocrite. Protections for me, but not for thee. As soon as it comes to someone that you would like to discriminate against, you think it should be legal.

  17. Question =

    did weigel get ‘fired’ from Reason for his insufficiency of actual Libertarian bona fides?

    or did his contract just not get ‘renewed’? Did he choose not to take the red pill?/drink the goat blood/accept initiation into the infernal league of the Koch/Hydra-alliance?

    1. I think he just got a better job offer.

      1. I still prefer the fictional counter-narrative.

  18. I have to disagree with the reasoning here. At least in part. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned, his employer should have been able to fire him because FYTW. But, as we can see with the case of the Colorado baker, the government believes it has the right to compel people into economic relationships in the name of preventing discrimination. It doesn’t matter whether that discrimination plays any particular role in the satisfaction of coerced party’s interests or goals. Just that there was discrimination. So, who’s to say that discrimination on the basis of religion is somehow more okay than discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We’d have all been a lot better off if we’d just said people should be free to enter or not enter into voluntary contracts at their own discretion. But, if we’re throwing that out, I don’t see why some parties should be spared.

    1. You are exactly right Bill. But don’t confuse people like Alan_S with your facts and reason and explanations. That is just straight up Red Tony Shit there.

    2. Maybe we should make it illegal to refuse to buy a house in a neighborhood that has people with a different skin color.

      We could have a regulatory body to enforce this and mandate that you make offers on the first house that meets pre-defined criteria by you. Of course you would have to register with the government as a home seeker first, and specify what your criteria and price range are in advance, so we can check.

      1. By the standards of the day, why not? Granted I think it would be batshit crazy. Just like I think this guy’s suit and the suit to make the baker prepare a gay wedding cake are batshit crazy. But, I don’t see how, once we’ve made batshit crazy the order of the day, we can convince ourselves we can pick and choose our batshit crazy.

  19. Everyone disagreeing with this article actually believes that employers should be able to fire people for whatever right? Because why do I get the feeling that if this weren’t a fucking Christian antigay asshat you guys wouldn’t bother getting into the details of US civil rights law?

    Where is the libertarian site? The one without the fundies?

    1. Needs more self-flagellation.

      which raises the eternal question = why, if not to perpetually engage in these useless tete-a-tetes with John, Tony, do you bother lurking here, *all day every day*?

      You make it seem like you’re imprisoned in the libertarian bastille and your computer is only able to access *Reason.com* and nothing else.

      1. I have a staff.

        1. Ooh, A Wizard!

          You might as well have a special wall built for you to bang your head against, since you’re so devoted to the effort.

          1. You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.

    2. I’m not disagreeing with the article. I think this is a hilariously ironic outcome of the whole anti-discrimination movement. Not to mention an exposure of the sheer hypocrisy of it all.
      Fuck this guy, and fuck the people who sued the bakers and the photographer, and fuck anyone who thinks they have a right to force people to associate with them.

      Try being a decent human being, and you might find out that there are plenty of people who will WANT to accociate with you, and you’ll want to associate with them in return. Wouldn’t that be better than forcibly injecting yourself into relationships with people who hate you?

      1. “Try being a decent human being”

        Hazel…

        You’re talking to Tony

      2. If that’s all it took in the real world to make participation in the commerce of one’s society free and equal, fine and dandy. To the extent that how you were born disadvantages you, we either need civil rights law to rectify the situation, or we need libertarians to shut the fuck up about how raw capitalism is the fairest possible system.

        1. Its so wonderful how bigger government manages to ‘rectify‘ things so effectively.

        2. We don’t need government to rectify the situation. There are forces in society other than law that can remedy social injustices, without creating other injustices in the process.

          1. You just repeated yourself. If that were true, and it’s not, we wouldn’t need the government intervention. Society by itself far more easily perpetuates minority disadvantage than fixes it.

            1. Really, if that were true how the fuck did the civil rights act ever pass?

              If a movement is powerful enough to vote politicians into office to use force against people they don’t like, they are more than powerful enough to use social persuasion, which would be the more honorable and decent thing to do.

              1. The Civil Rights Act passed over loud objection by people including those still flapping their mouth holes about it today. The good thing about federal policy is that it makes racist fuckheads act fairly. We’re both saying that if there were no racist fuckheads, civil rights law wouldn’t be necessary. Yeah. Let’s meet again when there are no more racist fuckheads.

                1. The Civil Rights Act passed over loud objection by people including those still flapping their mouth holes about it today.

                  Southern Democrats?

                  1. Yes, and their ideological descendants, all Republicans.

                2. We’re both saying that if there were no racist fuckheads, civil rights law wouldn’t be necessary. Yeah. Let’s meet again when there are no more racist fuckheads.

                  Yeah, in order for the world to be fair, there have to be ZERO racist fuckheads in it.

                  It’s not good enough for non-racists to be a majority, even an overwhelming majority, we have to actually drive them into extinction.

                  Because we need to demonstrate how morally superior we are, and they are easy targets now that they are in the minority.

                  It takes no bravery at all to come out against racism. Just as it takes no bravery to join a crowd stoning an adulteress.

            2. But government is just the things we do together, right Tony? In a democratically representative society, of which you a firm believer lest we forget, how could a just and beneficent government arise from the democratic will of an institutionally biased society?

  20. An individual’s “right” to practice their religion however they want while simultaneously holding any job they want does not trump an employer’s prerogative to run their business as they see fit or necessary.

    I agree with this. But, if the government is going to say that the “right” of people celebrate a same sex wedding trumps the the an employer’s prerogative to run their business as they see fit or necessary, I don’t see how you can honestly get around it. Personally, I don’t think the government ought to be claiming either. But, once you’ve crossed that border, I don’t think you can say same sex couples get that standard while people whose religion preaches bigotry don’t.

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