Religion

Religious Freedom and the Great Faux-Rights Arms Race of 2014: Elizabeth Nolan Brown at The Week

A crop of current religious freedom cases are more predicated on wringing special protections from the state than legit struggles for religious liberty.

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Kevin Dooley/Flickr

I've got a piece up today at The Week about several new "religious freedom" lawsuits and the nonsensical battle for faux-rights that's been heating up in 2014. One of these cases involves U.S. Bank teller Polly Neace, who was fired after continuing to tell customers "have a blessed day" after the bank asked her to stop. "I was upset with the fact they were stifling me and not allowing me to act on my beliefs," she told a local news station. She's now suing for employment discrimination.

Neace's case is among a crop of current religious-freedom lawsuits more predicated on wringing special protections and allowances from the state than legit struggle for freedom from religious persecution or discrimination. A version of this has been popular on all sides of late. From my piece at The Week:

Everyone's fighting not for actual access to things — wedding photographs, emergency contraception, nursing jobs — but for symbolic state sanctioning of their access, without compromise.

It's tedious, this balancing of faux-rights. Freedom of religion simply cannot mean the right to behave in any manner so long as it's religiously motivated and still gain or retain a job. And luckily, freedom of association (and the free market) means that those devout believers who can't bear not to tell every passerby they're blessed can seek out a job where this is appreciated. A nurse vehemently opposed to contraception could go into any health care arena other than reproductive medicine. A woman who resents her employer's exclusion of birth-control coverage can seek more liberal pastures elsewhere. You have to give a little, take a little, as the great Jimmy Durante says.

Go here to read the whole thing. 

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  1. I like how these only become faux rights when the Wrong People try to exercise them.

    1. Thirded, seconded, whichever applies at this point.

    2. So, I guess you didn’t RTFA then.

      1. Yeah, I did. Here’s why I think its more about the Wrong People than some new explosion of faux rights.

        All the usual anti-discrimination stuff starts with the assumption that you have not hired/not promoted/fired somebody for the Wrong Reasons. These new faux rights start from the same place.

        Now, what are the Wrong Reasons? Well, they include, overtly and right there in the statute, religious discrimination. So firing somebody because of their religion is not allowed, right?

        Nobody thought claimed was a faux right as long as it was being enforced only to protect non-Christians from being fired for religious reasons. But, as soon as Christians make the exact same claim under the exact same statute, all of a sudden its a faux right.

        The only difference is that one of the Wrong People (a Christian) is claiming to have the same rights as one of the Right People.

        1. Uh,, ***WE*** all thought they were faux rights, RC.

          There’s nothing wrong with ENB’s article and I think you’re just bitching to bitch.

        2. Which part of that has anything to do with ENB’s article or the fact that she specifically called out multiple instances of “the right people” being dicks about the exact same bullshit?

          Or is she just not allowed to write about this ever because she wasn’t the first person to ever complain about anti-discrimination laws?

        3. Nobody thought claimed was a faux right as long as it was being enforced only to protect non-Christians from being fired for religious reasons. But, as soon as Christians make the exact same claim under the exact same statute, all of a sudden its a faux right.

          Balderdash! I recall tons of bitching from certain segments of society when groups like Orthodox Jews, Sikhs, or Rastafarians claimed discrimination over being fired for, often arbitrary, grooming policies revolving around hair.

          I’m always bewildered by the unwarranted sense of martyrdom that some American Christians seem to possess.

          1. I’m always bewildered by the unwarranted sense of martyrdom that some American Christians seem to possess.

            It’s hard out there for a religion that occupies only 95% of the positions of power and authority in a country.

            1. Perhaps a privilege check is in order?

            2. Really? Which entertainment or news conglomerates are headed by Bible thumpers?

        4. RC, who are you complaining about?

          1. Just to be clear, I’m only calling out ENB, instead of the special interest partisans, to the extent that she buys into the distinction being posited between “protection from discrimination” and “special privileges. There’s some ambiguity in some of her writing, perhaps.

            1. Sorry, not seeing it. Is it because she only used examples of Christians? She’s not being sufficiently diverse?

              1. That’s part of it. By only using examples of Christians, she is reinforcing the “Wrong People” idea.

                The other part of it is her discussion of “direct” discrimination claims, which in context doesn’t clearly indicate that these claims are just as faux as the examples she discusses.

                1. C’mon RC, that’s weak fucking tea.

                  I can see someone unfamiliar with Reason to take that position, knowing nothing about the organization, but you? Stop hyperventilating for Jesus.

        5. MM,

          There was a big uproar when the local muslims working at Targets in Sunny Minnesoda started refusing to scan things like bacon because they claimed that it was against their religion.

          A lot of people thought that it was absurd for Target to have to accommodate the muslims demands in these cases.

          So I’m calling a tepid BS on your claim that non-christians got away with this type of faux right abuse.

          1. Its not universal, but the grievance community that drives this discussion only gets worked up about faux rights when the Wrong People try to claim them.

            ENB’s article was perhaps not clear in pointing out that, if its a faux right for some, its a faux right for all. That’s the nub of my gripe with her article. My gripe with the grievance community is much bigger.

        6. They were always faux rights. Progressives are just massive hypocrites in the that they want faux rights for themselves, but not for everyone else.

        7. More boilerplate socon butthurt, RC Dean. Once upon a time you had useful things to contribute to the conversation, now you’re just part of the background noise.

          1. It would be one thing if I were a SoCon, Tonio. I’m not.

            What I am is an opponent of special privileges for “protected classes”, and other violations of freedom of association.

            1. What I am is an opponent of special privileges for “protected classes”

              You mean like:

              The right for Christians to wish someone a blessed day against the objection of thier employer.

              1. I don’t think they should be able to make that claim, but I don’t think anyone should be able to make an anti-discrimination claim against a private employer, business, or person, period.

                1. So we are all 100% agreed. Private employers should be able to fire anyone for any reason they want.

                  Problem solved. (Did we need 148 comments for that?)

      2. Thank you FN.

        I explicitly made this about people on all sorts of sides trying to claim faux rights. So unless MM thinks just about everyone is the Wrong People…

        1. Thank you for taking the time to drop by the comment section in these parts. As for the comments at the TheWeek, thank you for not wading into that hot mess; of course you’re smart enough to know better…

      3. This highlights it nicely:

        Neace’s case is among a crop of current religious-freedom lawsuits more predicated on wringing special protections and allowances from the state than legit struggle for freedom from religious persecution or discrimination.

        “Protection against religious persecution and discrimination” is precisely nothing more and nothing less than “special allowances and protections”. Its only protection against discrimination when the Right People are making the claim. It becomes special protections and privileges when the Wrong People make the claim.

        If a Muslim, atheist, or whoever brings a complaint because they violated corporate policy by refusing to say “Have a blessed day”? Why, they are just seeking redress for discrimination.

        But, if a Christian brings a complaint because they were fired for violating corporate policy by saying “Have a blessed day”? Well, that’s special protection.

        1. Just to be clear, I’m only calling out ENB, instead of the special interest partisans, to the extent that she buys into the distinction being posited between “protection from discrimination” and “special privileges. There’s some ambiguity in some of her writing, perhaps.

          1. Where is this passage about “protection from discrimination”?

            1. In the italicized passage just above. I paraphrased “freedom from religious persecution or discrimination” in the context of current anti-discrimination law.

          2. Protection from discrimination is a special privilege IMO.

          3. I have to concede, this is pretty convincing. If you’re designating one group doing action X as struggling “for freedom from religious persecution or discrimination” and another doing the same action X as seeking “special allowances and protections”, it’s kind of hard to avoid the “right people” conclusion.

            1. Let me make clear, I think the company should be able to fire her because FYTW. But, the rules don’t agree with me on this. The rules are that companies aren’t allowed to discriminate. I think those rules are really, really, stupid. But, if we’re going to have stupid rules, then let everyone choke on them. Let their proponents get a big, steaming, dose of those rules themselves.

        2. There’s a big difference between not wanting to do something your company demanded of you, and continuing to do something after they asked you to stop.

          1. There’s a big difference between not wanting to do something your company demanded of you, and continuing to do something after they asked you to stop

            Hush now! Don’t you know there’s a War on Christmas?

            1. War on Christmas

              Had Christmas not already been one of my least favorite holidays, the introduction of the War on Christmas bullshit would’ve pushed it over the top.

              1. How can you not like Christmas, Ebenezer?

                1. The only thing it has over Thanksgiving is ham.

                  Just lots of bad Christmases. If/when I start my own family maybe I can make Christmas not suck. Until then it’s in the same basket as my birthday and New Years Eve.

                  Give me Thanksgiving, Easter or Halloween any day.

                2. Doesn’t everybody hate Christmas music?

                  1. With the exception of a very, very few pieces, yes.

                  2. Doesn’t everybody hate Christmas music?

                    I like the Carol of the Bells from Home Alone, or if it’s done by a bell choir. and I like the old caroler songs, We Three Kings and whatnot.

                    Koreans seem to think Wham!’s Last Christmas is the *height* of Christmas music, and the restaurant below my apartment played it on infinite loop on their patio speakers for the entire month of December. Some of my sanity was lost that year.

                    1. I love everything about Christmas. Except for all that religious stuff.

                    2. That’s funny, because I came very close to asking you if you hate Christmas because you gave somebody your heart, but the very next day they gave it away.

                      In theory I like the holidays; in practice my family is dysfunctional enough that I always find them stressful. 🙁

                    3. In theory I like the holidays; in practice my family is dysfunctional enough that I always find them stressful. 🙁

                      Christmas is particularly fraught. As long as nobody remembers that one of my aunts tried to implement a “go around the circle and tell everyone what you’re thankful for” *tradition* five years ago, Thanksgiving has zero family stress.

                      Also I dominate at Easter Brunch, which only went badly the one time my dad kept saying “hey we’re going to church as a family” and I kept repeating “and brunch will be ready when you get back from the church that explicitly told me not to participate”

                    4. What would happen if you tried to go to this hillbilly whackjob church? Would the preacher have you thrown out?

                    5. What would happen if you tried to go to this hillbilly whackjob church? Would the preacher have you thrown out?

                      No. I’m still friends with the pastor’s son, and his wife is always upset with me for never coming by to visit. The pastor and I are cordial if I see him around.

                      Ultimately the pastor was right on what he, semi-privately, called me out on, but that was the end of me going to church to appease my folks. They left it alone for years until that one Easter and were flustered when I actually told them what had gone down. Just to be clear, the pastor didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ in this case, but I did end up feeling specifically unwelcome to participate in service there.

                    6. What turned me agnostic/atheist was having a mother who, when she couldn’t blame anybody for something bad that happened (eg. dropping and breaking a drinking glass), would blame God and scream that he was punishing her for not going to church. Until the one time when something happened, and she screamed that she had gone to church regularly, and God was still punishing her.

                      Not that she was really blaming God, just loking for an excuse for one of her fucking screaming fits.

          2. I don’t know that there really is, Mad Scientist. Both are violations of corporate policy that lead to firing.

            1. You don’t see any difference between me telling my employees that they have to greet every customer with a religious salutation, or me telling my employees to keep their religious salutations to themselves?

              1. Not really, no. In both cases, you are prescribing, based on religious content, what they can and can’t say to customers.

                Its just as much a burden on a religious person to be told they are prohibited from using a religious greeting, as it is a burden on a non-religious person to be told they are required to use a religious greeting.

                1. Its just as much a burden on a religious person to be told they are prohibited from using a religious greeting, as it is a burden on a non-religious person to be told they are required to use a religious greeting

                  I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous. Considering that there are common religiously-neutral greetings currently in our language (e.g., Hello), it is nowhere equivalent. With the notable exception of Islam, I am aware of no major religion that requires its adherents to greet others in a particular way. Whereas, requiring a non-religious person to use a greeting of a creed they do not believe in is an imposition on their freedom of conscious.

                2. The burden is not comparable at all. In one case you’re instructing someone to perform a religious function they may not agree with. In the other, you’re asking them to keep their religion to themselves. The second case is no different from telling them not pin up centerfolds in their cube or to stop jerking off into the water cooler.

                  The first case is more akin to telling your secretary if she wants to keep her job she has to blow you every afternoon.

                  1. or to stop jerking off into the water cooler.

                    You would be the worst boss ever.

                  2. I don’t think sexual acts and required greetings are equivalent or even appropriate as a comparison.

                    Chik-Fil-A, I think, makes their servers say, “my pleasure”. So what?

                  3. Mad–I don’t have a problem with either scenario.

                    Here are the requirements of the job. Feel free to quit/not to accept our offer, if any of this makes you uncomfortable.

                    A mainstream retail business would have to be first class idiots to religous-fy their front of house staff, but hey, it’s their party.

        3. Or employers are allowed to choose not to associate with anyone bringing their religion to work. Strangely, I seem to be able to make it through the day without telling everyone I interact with that there is no God and their religion is a pack of lies.

          1. As long as employers are also allowed to choose not to associate with anyone who doesn’t bring the religion of the employer’s choice to work, I’m good.

            1. I’d be happy to know about the bigots that only hire within their religion. They are idiots and I should avoid them at all costs.

              1. Christian book stores, Christian schools, churches, mosques, synagogues. Lots of small businesses dedicated to certain religious values. I personally know of a Christian moving company, and a Muslim company that makes really nice cabinets and other carpentry. I never considered any of them to be bigots, just dedicated to certain values.

                1. When I took the bus regularly from Albany to Dartmouth College, I had to change buses in Rutland VT. Back then there was a “Christian” bookstore right next to the bus station in Rutland. I never worked up the courage to go in and ask them where they kept their rosaries.

                2. Eh, I was hired as a teacher at an evangelical christian school as an openly agnostic, openly gay guy. I think we all knew I wouldn’t bring it up and would teach the curriculum as appropriate. One of my students did recognize me as being hung over and asked if I’d been at The Dolphin (local gay bar), but other than that it was never an issue.

                  I realize that’s purely anecdotal, but make of it what you will.

                  1. Was that an attempt to taunt you? Pretty weak, if it was.

                    1. Was that an attempt to taunt you? Pretty weak, if it was.

                      Ha, no. He was a precocious kid and one of my favorite students. I have a soft spot for smart, bored, unmotivated kids. I’d known him for years since he was friends with my little brother. He was trying to get a zinger in the way buddies do, not trying to hurt my feelings or get a rise out of me or anything.

                  2. Hung over? I had a teacher actively workin’ the cocaine every few classes my senior year of HS. He eventually got busted banging a junior with a nice rack and dubious taste.

                  3. My first hangover was when I was studying in Russia, on an excursion to Valaam. I had too many drinks on the boat, threw up, and was hung over in the morning. Our teacher, thankfully, was cool about it.

                    And then I threw up again on the island, and some little old lady told me which direction the medical clinic was. I didn’t have had the heart to tell her I knew fully well what was wrong with me.

        4. But, if a Christian brings a complaint because they were fired for violating corporate policy

          Then they were violating company policy.

          1. And my point is that these trigger outrage over “faux rights” depending mostly on the identity of the person bringing the complaint.

            In some ways, having a policy that requires “religious discrimination” is worse than having it happen just ad hoc.

            1. not for libertarians, it doesn’t.

              1. No, it doesn’t. But we’re talking here about the current Total State regime for enforcing goodthink.

                If that regime were truly content and plaintiff-neutral, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Its the attempt to make content and plaintiff neutral that has set off howls of “faux rights”.

                1. Like Hazel said, WE AS LIBERTARIANS have always said these are faux-rights.

            2. Pretty sure a Muslim saying “Allah be with you” or whatever would find objectors in most parts of this country. Also pretty sure it would lead to the same outcome if he didn’t stop. Ditto an atheist saying “There is no God” or some such. Businesses tend to be conservative in not wanting to offend anyone, and the best way to do that is by being as bland as possible and not take stands on potentially controversial issues.

              If this were on a college campus, your point would have greater weight.

        5. So you seriously believe that it’s the editorial policy of Reason magazine to favor private workplace religious discrimination complaints from Muslims and atheists?

          Really?

          That’s your position today?

          Just trying to make sure, before I decide you’re some kind of fucking retard.

          1. And he still hasn’t cited a source for that contention.

          2. So you seriously believe that it’s the editorial policy of Reason magazine to favor private workplace religious discrimination complaints from Muslims and atheists?

            Nope. Scroll down, if you would, to a clarification of what I’m trying to say.

    3. “I like how these only become faux rights when the Wrong People try to exercise them”

      For who? Some of us are consistent. When the issue about the gay wedding cake thing came up, was that just because the “wrong people” tried to exercise them? What I find disturbing is that a lot of the people who were up in arms about that are now apologists when the “right people” do it. Two wrongs make a right in some peoples’ minds apparently.

      1. Except the gay wedding cake framed the issue of what are allowable rules. I think it’s idiotic to forbid either discrimination. But, once you say its okay to forbid discrimination, why do you get to say one can be forbidden and not the other?

        1. Doesn’t that go both ways? After all religion is protected under federal law while sexual orientation is not. I don’t remember anyone here saying then that sexual orientation should be protected as long as religion (as well as race,sex,etc.) is.

          1. Here? No. The folks here tend to be a little more rational than average. But, the folks here don’t make the rules, do they? And we saw how the Colorado gay wedding cake case turned out. So, maybe in addition to retaining the teller, her bosses should have mandatory sensitivity training.

            1. My point is that even before that ruling, nobody here would have used that logic to defend protection for sexual orientation, so why should anyone here use it now?

              1. “so why should anyone here use it now?”

                Because it’s now the status quo of what is considered legally acceptable. Once a society decides it’s okay to ban such behviors, it isn’t clear to me that it should be spared the aspects it doesn’t like.

                1. It’s been that way long before the recent cases over bakers and gay people. Discrimination based on race, sex, and religion has been illegal for 50 years. How do you somehow come to the conclusion that these recent cases, which don’t even apply to the entire country, were the defining moments?

                2. “Once a society decides it’s okay…”

                  I don’t accept the fact that there’s such a thing as collective decision making. Again, two wrongs don’t make a right. I don’t see any reason whatsoever to accept a wrong being committed simply because one was committed in the past. We see courts point to precedence all the time as an excuse for all sorts of atrocious things. People here who really believe that it’s wrong to coerce somebody to employ another person should advocate breaking the cycle, regardless of what’s been done in the past. For instance, that other people have been put in prison for violating drug laws is no reason to advocate that another single person should ever be put in prison in fairness to those who have suffered in the past.

                  1. “I don’t see any reason whatsoever to accept a wrong being committed simply because one was committed in the past.”

                    Except it’s not a wrong in the past. It’s a currently existing wrong. Premised on the same set of assumptions. What you’re arguing for is the maintenance of a logical contradiction. Personally, I don’t care to see either side enjoy that contradiction.

                    “People here who really believe that it’s wrong to coerce somebody to employ another person should advocate breaking the cycle, regardless of what’s been done in the past.”

                    That isn’t at all clear to me. As I note above, the “breaking the cycle” you reference is allowing one side to dictate employment/commercial policy, but not the other. If you think it’s wrong to allow people to dictate others’ employment/commercial policies, I can’t see where allowing those doing so a free pass on their behavior does much to disincentivize them.

          2. Actually, to avoid the appearance of snark, I’ll clarify. Of course, I think her bosses should be able to fire her. But, the reason I think they should rests on the idea that I believe they have a right to engage in behavior that can reasonably be called discriminatory. But, this isn’t a belief that seems to be commonly shared. The belief is that its okay to ban discrimination. Okay. Well, this is discrimination. Whether that discrimination serves a profit motive or the religious proclivities of an economic actor is beside the point.

            1. And as I said above, that’s been the case for 50 years. Why were you not arguing in those threads that if race, sex, religion, etc. are protected, and have been, then sexual orientation should be too? That’s the logical conclusion of your argument. I don’t know why you seem to be arguing as if sexual orientation was the first thing to ever be protected from discrimination. In some states, it’s still legal to discriminate on that basis, unlike the other categories I mentioned which are federally protected.

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m going to give a free ‘Book of Mormon’ to every customer and see what my employer says. Great way to test things. If my employer complains, I’ll just say that I’m exercising my religious rights. I stay at Marriott hotels enough that I’ll have an endless supply.

  3. In the name of gay rights, the state must compel Christian bakers to serve same-sex wedding cake!

    I didn’t realize ENB was a homophobe.

    1. That’s West Virginia. Luckily the law enforcement professionals didn’t fear for their lives when confronted by the vicious pitman.

      1. Pittsburgh is the capital of West Virginia. Besides, Washington County is a few counties south of Pittsburgh.

        1. Well, the people in the WV panhandle certainly feel that way, but increasingly less so as you move further south.

    2. In other Yinzer news:

      Stupid Western PA accent will doom Giants season

      Add this to the long list of adjustments Eli Manning has to make this summer: Understanding what the heck Ben McAdoo is saying.

      The new offensive coordinator is from Homer City, Pa., about 50 miles outside of Pittsburgh, and he sounds like it. Mix that accent into the New Orleans drawl Eli Manning grew up hearing and it’s a match made somewhere other than linguistic heaven.

      1. New Jersey is, arguably, linguistic hell.

  4. Good piece, Elizabeth. Employment being a form of long-term reciprocal exchange, the employee has no more right to have that relationship continue to his benefit than the employer does to his employee continuing as his employee for all time.

    That said, it is stupid to boycott a business or refuse to work for someone for something as innocuous as a mildly religious salutation — and it is right to consider firing someone for such to be excessive, as well. Moreover, it’s not a good way to live: one of the advantages of the mass market has been that it allows for people to do business with one another without agreeing with or necessarily even liking one another. This tendency of the market has greatly reduced conflict, and taking it away for the purpose of a French-style sanitizing of religious expression from the public square would work against this tendency.

    1. I wonder if someone actually complained about the “blessed day” woman. As an athiest, I still think you’d have to be kind of an asshole to bitch about that.

      As a libertarian, I think the business has the right to enforce its policies.

      1. ^This^ Well-put for a flightless water fowl.

      2. I find the “blessed” thing a bit jarring.

        The place where it’s most rampant, ironically, is the Federal bureaucracy, where it really doesn’t belong.

        But I agree that complaining about it is pretty assholishness.

        1. I doubt anyone complained. They probably told her to knock it off because it might be impolite to do so, she dug her heels in and made up an imaginary MILITANT ATHEIST to blame it on. Because that’s what all atheists do all day, look for Christians to complain about.

          1. Oh no, I have no doubt that someone complained.

            SHE’S FORCING HER RELIGION ON ME!!!1!

            1. I’m sure that’s what the atheists in your head tell you, JW. Try interacting with some real live atheists and maybe you’ll learn something and stop spouting self-discrediting nonsense.

              1. Or, you know, JW was just being funny.

              2. You do realize that your’re talking to an apathist, right? I already gave you a non-atheist example.

                I know too many people who are simply hostile to religion, exclusively who are leftists, who may or not be atheists, I have no idea, really. They’re just intolerant and easily riled up assholes.

              3. To be fair, you can actually find atheists like that on reddit.

          2. They probably told her to knock it off because they thought it was fucking annoying.

            I’m sure the other tellers got tired of hearing it all the time.

            1. I’m sure the other tellers got tired of hearing it all the time.

              Yeah, if anyone complained it was a coworker. Customers, especially at a bank counter, generally just want to get through and get on with their lives.

        2. Yeah, I’d never complain to a private employer about that, as annoying as it is. All you’re going to do is pump up the christians’ martyrdom complex, so I suck it up. Moral high ground and all.

        3. It is pretty weird.

          Oddly, I find “God bless” more normal, despite it arguably having more theological content than “Have a blessed day”.

      3. I wouldn’t give 2 shits about it, but the jewish wife-unit would get her panties all up in a lather over it.

        Me? I’d probably wish her something Satanic, just to be a dick.

        1. If someone told me “have a blessed day” I’d probably just think they were Wiccan.

          1. The sort of Wiccans who would greet people with “Blessed Be” are actually very similar to Jesus freaks. Crystal magic and prayer aren’t that far apart.

          2. Ha. I wonder if they’d get it if you replied “blessed be”.

          3. Isn’t that “blessed be” or something like that?

            May the Morrigan be unable to find you, Sugar Free!

            1. It’s like I never refresh at all.

        2. Never argue with your wife; just dicker.

      4. I actually would be bothered by that.

        The woman is a bank teller, and one expects banks to exhude a certain air of unflinching rationalism.

        I want the tellers to be severe women with a bun and a pair of glasses and a calculator, not an air head who feels compelled to declare her faith in God every time she opens her mouth.

        1. I want the tellers to be severe women with a bun and a pair of glasses and a calculator

          Your fetish aligns with my interests and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

          1. Is that a sister publication to Strict Librarian Quarterly?

      5. My guess is yes, someone complained. ‘Have a blessed day’ is something I hear mostly from African-American women at various retail points.
        I take no offense in this statement because I AM blessed everyday by not facing the further (voluntary) taxation of church authority.
        But I could see some bigot getting butt-hurt by this expression and taking it to management.
        In the end, I defend the policy of the business, however detrimental it might be to itself.
        I wouldn’t expect a lot of ‘whites’ to be working for ‘Ebony’, at least not quota levels.

        1. My guess is yes, someone complained. ‘Have a blessed day’ is something I hear mostly from African-American women at various retail points.

          And they really do want you to have a blessed day. Or so I’ve always told myself. I can’t imagine getting somebody in trouble for saying something to me that doesn’t impact my life and that they view as being a kind thing to say.

            1. So not overtly religious.

  5. The problem is the “everybody is special/elite” mentality. As a nation we have decided that two groups of people truly are special:
    1. Those who go to war for us. They should receive extra rights like “hire first” and free healthcare.
    2. The disabled, those who from birth or through life are at a distinct disadvantage.They should receive financial help and we as a society should bend over backwards to allow them access to what those with perfect health would have.

    After that:
    The federal government, state government, businesses, and the like should be able to discriminate. The reality is you can have freedom of choice, which has the side affect of discrimination, or you can have a moral policing which destroys freedom.

    Church/religious organizations should be allowed to be given government subsidies through a 501c3 designation.Should be given the same status as an Indian Reservation or something of the like.
    People should be allowed to vote if their state will or will not allow gay marriage.
    A business man should be allowed to choose who he does business with or for based on any set of personal beliefs or bigotry.

    1. Uh, my own argument is that church/religious organizations should have the same right to 501(c)3 status as Americans United for Separation of Church and State and other “nonprofits.”

      1. The problem with that is what comes with government money (501c3 is a subsidy) is the authority for the government to set the rules, specifically of speech. A leader/Pastor of a 501c3 can not speak openly of any political views held personally.
        Organizations like churches should be taxed. They shouldn’t even be acknowledge by the feds, with the exception of being property holders. No take breaks for contributors either.

        1. 501(c)(3)s, I would contend, have on the whole done more service to the public than the taxpayer-subsidized welfare and public-uplift programs which progressives so heartily support. Taxing 501(c)(3)s would be to say, “we believe that the work done by our tax-funded social programs is more important than the work done by our nonprofits, so that we should take money from the latter and give it to the former.”

          As for political endorsements by nonprofits, that was legal before 1954* until a Senator named Lyndon Baines Johnson banned such endorsements – coincidentally, nonprofits in Texas were at this time criticizing Senator Johnson. A funny coincidence for which nonprofits ever since have had to suffer.

          *execpt if the political advocacy got so disproportional to the other activities of the organization as to legally constitute lobbying, a separate and fascinating question.

        2. The problem with that is what comes with government money (501c3 is a subsidy

          Now there you’re thinking like a true liberal! “It’s OUR money, and you get to keep what we ALLOW you to have.”

  6. Sorry. Should say churches should NOT be allowed…

  7. and it is right to consider firing someone for such to be excessive

    When you work for me on my time, and I’m paying you to interact with the public and represent my business as I want it represented, you will look and act as I tell you to look and act, or you will be fired.

    1. Yeah, I mean, no matter what she was saying, they told her to stop and she didn’t. Not following directives of your bosses is a pretty typical trigger for firing.

      1. It’s amazing that this is even a discussion. WTF? When did I start taking the crazy pills?

        1. Please, we live in a world where this happened.

          1. Well, she’s just psycho scum.

            I’d toss her out on her wrinkled ass and change the locks.

            1. Unfortunately, the cops would choose to interpret that as violating tenant laws. If I were Mr. Bracamonte, I would have had one of my children call the police and describe in great detail how Ms. Stretton touched him “in the private place”.

              1. Apparently she’s already on the vexatious litigator list, so good luck to her getting into court.

              2. HM, then she would have free housing (in a cage) and three squares (sort of) a day. WIN WIN!

      2. Not following directives of your bosses is a pretty typical trigger for firing.

        And it is almost universally present in the kinds of discrimination cases that are not being flagged as “faux”.

        1. Is your complaint that ENB is not appropriately Cathy Young-ing this subject? because I frankly have no idea what the fuck you’re on about. If you want to point to evidence on your particular complaint about this particular author, please do that. Citations and references, please.

          Otherwise, what she said here is 100% true and you have no cause for complaint.

          1. Is your complaint that ENB is not appropriately Cathy Young-ing this subject?

            I don’t think so. The Young style is to say that, well, everybody has a point. My gripe with ENB is that her article tilts more to the Wrong People don’t have a point, without taking the next step that, if they don’t have a point, then nobody does, even the ones bringing “direct” discrimination claims.

      3. Okay, but would everyone be saying this if the boss’s directive was to tell a Sikh to “take off that goofy headrag”?

  8. So, tolerate others and don’t try to force them to accommodate your beliefs and personal preferences? That’s crazy talk.

  9. You can’t expect people to play by your rules only when it hurts them, and by the prog rules only when it hurts them.

  10. A nurse vehemently opposed to contraception could go into any health care arena other than reproductive medicine.

    But she couldn’t quit and open her own business and have employees, because then, according to progressives, she should be forced to pay for her employee’s contraception.

    Thus the glaring contradiction. According to progressives, employees don’t just have a right to not be discriminated against, they have a positive right to force their views upon their employers.

    1. It all makes sense if you stop viewing employment as a voluntary transaction, and instead as oppressor-oppressed wage slavery.

      1. So according to progressives, the nurse could escape from oppressive wage slavery and become an oppressor, whereupon she would still be forced to violate her beliefs, anyway.

        1. Yes, because then she’d be The Man and no longer worthy of protection.

          1. But she’s not worthy of protection as an employee either. because that would be violating the rights of her patients. So basically, Christian conservatives aren’t worthy of protection, is what it amounts to.

            This is what positive rights inevitably result in.

    2. A nurse vehemently opposed to contraception could go into any health care arena other than reproductive medicine.

      And Sandra Fluke could have gone to any university other than Georgetown.

  11. People who tell me to have a blessed day give me the willies. I’m always worried they’re about to tell me about the rapture or something.

    1. Someone I see at work regularly responds to “How are you today?” With a waved hand in the air and a whoop of “SUPER-BLESSED!”

      I find it charmingly eccentric, but I’ve spent enough time around Pentecostals that that stuff seems pretty normal.

      1. Don’t you think he looks cute in that hat?

    2. being creeped out about someone using a religious phrase is irrational and weak-spined. So what? At the end of the day, there was no harm caused. No one touched you, no one stole from you, so fucking what. If you don’t believe the same religion as them, ok, let them carry on their beliefs and keep on trucking. I think Islam is a Christianity rip-off and a channel for fascism, but if a Muslim was to tell me “Peace be with you” or some bullshit, I wouldn’t bat an eye because SO WHAT

      1. Did I offend a cultist? GOOD.

        1. not a cultist in the slightest, and idk if I can even BE offended. But I think someone getting creeped out over an innocent greeting/salutation, you are a pussy. Straight up.

          1. Sure you’re not offended. Cool story, bro.

            1. really not. Just laugh at weak little pussies who get their feelings hurt when a geriatric wishes you well.

  12. I should admit that I became a Pope of my own religion just because I intend to abuse the shit out of faux rights like these.

    My church has only one hard and fast rule: Tithing! You must give us 10% off the top. Everything else is negotiable.

    Other highlights:

    52 saints. This guarantees a long weekend whenever you need it.
    Altar girls. The priest abuse scandals won’t be nearly as bad if the victims are all cute 16 year old girls. Most people will be far more understanding of my clergy’s weaknesses.
    Cafeteria Style Belief Plans Like I said, no hard and fast rules. Sit down with your priest and you two can hammer out a legal document that clearly defines what accommodations your employer must make for you.

    1. 16 is legal in many states.

    2. I want more feast days. America only has three. I want one at least every month.

      I think the easiest way would be a syncretic adoption of other religion’s feasts, like Diwali or Eid al-Fitr.

      1. Easter confuses me already. No more moon holidays please.

      2. Let me check my tithing records…..

        Yup, you are all paid up! Hear ye, hear ye. There is a new papal bull decreeing that Diwali, Eid al-Fitr and any other feasts he may remember in the future are now considered Holy Feast Days and Sugar Free does not have to come to work (and must also be paid for his normal time too) on those days.

        See how great this can all be if you just remember to tithe?

        1. I want the feast of maximum occupancy.

    3. I forgot this one.

      Choose your own sacrament Sit down with our priest and he will provide you with a document that explains to the police that [pot|coke|heroin|booze|meth|peyote] is a sacrament to you that you take for religious reasons and they must respect that. If it worked for the Native American Church and peyote it should work for you.

      1. Ironically, the RFRA came about because it didn’t work for the Native Americans.

    4. No sacred prostitution? Your religion sucks.

      1. You are just mad because the Vestal Virgins wouldn’t honor your Pope Jimbo Credit Card during your last visit.

        Why was it declined? Because you are two months behind in tithing! I don’t care that your basement needs all new rape cages, pay me.

      2. No sacred prostitution? Your religion sucks.

        Can somebody get Warty a temple mount?

  13. Just to be clear, the Obama administration is taking the consistently wrong position on this point.

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would *force* private companies to accomodate religious minority views regarding, eg, dress codes:

    “if the dress code conflicts with an employee’s religious practices and the employee requests an accommodation, the employer must modify the dress code or permit an exception to the dress code unless doing so would result in undue hardship.”

    http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/#dress_code

    But if an employer wants to tell its employees, “buy your own birth control, we won’t buy it for you!” the Obama administration, until the Supreme Court stepped in, would likewise want to suppress that employer.

    1. Incidentally, ENB cites other provisions of the EEOC standards to the effec tthat “accommodating religious practices isn’t necessary if “doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer’s business.””

      Yet the quotation I gave shows the practical gloss the EEOC gives to its own standards. In the dress-code context, “the employer must modify the dress code or permit an exception to the dress code unless doing so would result in undue hardship.”

      It appears to me that the EEOC standards are harsher vis-a-vis private businesses than ENB allows.

    2. It’s entirely consistent. Capitalists must be controlled, since it’s currently politically infeasible to directly control all capital. The pro/anti religion thing may seem inconsistent, but the anti-employer (e.g. anti-capitalist) angle is the same for both.

  14. Neace’s case is among a crop of current religious-freedom lawsuits more predicated on wringing special protections and allowances from the state than legit struggle for freedom from religious persecution or discrimination.

    So they’ve seen the tactics effectively employed against their interests and rather than playing the principled game and focusing on preservation of their rights they’ve opted to fight fire with fire. (albeit I disagree with the tactic being employed both against them and by them).

    Predictable consequences are not unintended.

  15. Alright, I can tell I’m not being clear here:

    My main gripe is with special privileges for protected classes. I note that these were never flagged as faux rights until the Wrong People (Christians/conservatives) started trying to obtain the same protections as the Right People.

    ENB is doing OK so far, but my gripe with her is that she never quite calls out the entire enterprise as a faux right, that even “direct” discrimination claims (which she distinguishes) are still a faux right.

    She also puts a lot of emphasis on claims by Christians/conservatives as being faux rights. There is a certain lack of balance there, as equal weight is not given to functionally identical claims by the Right People.

    My ire is directed about 90% at the system, and 10% at ENB. OK?

    1. Of course, that’s a popular game for all sorts to play these days. In the name of gay rights, the state must compel Christian bakers to serve same-sex wedding cake! In the name of gender equality, Obama must make bosses cover birth control despite moral objections! Everyone’s fighting not for actual access to things ? wedding photographs, emergency contraception, nursing jobs ? but for symbolic state sanctioning of their access, without compromise.

      It’s tedious, this balancing of faux-rights.

      1. Alright, 95% directed at the system, 5% directed at ENB.

    2. No, I believe you were quite clear. I just happen to respectfully disagree with your premise that “these were never flagged as faux rights until the Wrong People (Christians/conservatives) started trying to obtain the same protections as the Right People” for reasons noted upthread.

      1. I’m being a little overbroad, Heroic One.

        I should have said “These were never flagged as faux rights by anyone except libertarians until the Wrong People, etc.”

        And, I find ENB’s discussion of direct discrimination claims, as distinct from this new crop, as positing a sub rosa distinction between the usual claims that nobody but us complained about, and this new crop. More a lack of clarity that a lack of libertarian purity, I’m sure, but to me there really is no defensible distinction.

        Its a special privilege, either way.

      2. Well, yes, but they were rarely or never flagged as faux rights by the Right People, and I think they are the predominant targets of his ire.

    3. I think you’re not getting something here. I don’t think that anyone *except* libertarians is calling these things faux rights.

      And libertarians are saying they are faux rights for everyone, but what we’re doing is using this example to demonstrate the absurdity of these rights TO liberals/progressives. ENB is arguing with the other side, giving them an example of how these right would work when applied to people they disagree with.

      I.e. “if you’re going to support these kinds of anti-discrimination rights, they are going to have consequences like THIS. “

  16. How about simply eliminating the concept of protected classes altogether?

    1. But, but, but freedom means forcing others to do things!

      How can you be free if you can’t use force?

    2. I, for one, am all in favor of that and am therefore happy to see the country buried in chickenshit complaints of “discrimination” until people get sick of the bellyaching and toss out the whole protected class hogwash.

  17. Oh the comments…oh my.

    1. The comments here, oh my.

      1. Meh… they get far worse on abortion threads, do they not?

        1. and ones about Israel or immigration or gay issues lol

  18. as the great Jimmy Durante says said

  19. I would suggest to all of the above commenters, who think the case starts and ends with a woman simply saying “Have a blessed day,” to read just a tad bit further.

    You all seem to think there is only one side to the story (the one you prefer to hear), when you should know that in any lawsuit there is two sides.

    If you would simply click on the link Elizabeth provided, you would see that the bank claims she has gone further. From the article:

    “”Did you just take the Lord’s name in vain?” and then proceeded to talk to him about salvation.”

    So, she was asked to stop, and she refused. Strike one. She reprimanded a customer about something that had nothing to do with business. Strike two. And finally, she started to proselytize. Strike 3.

    Its amazing the amount of “faux” libertarians we have here, believing their faux religious rights have been threatened.

    1. The vast majority of commenters on this article are against this woman’s actions and support the business’s decision.

      1. I’m not seeing it. Most of what I read falls in the category of, “what’s so bad about a greeting, and the bank overreacted.”

        1. Read harder.

            1. I need to read “harder” and “less stupidly?”

              Yikes.

  20. Needs moar CHRISTFAG

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