Incline Left!

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Special Privileges for Theists?

number 666

So, this guy who worked in a factory in Georgia got fired because he refused a direct order to wear a safety sticker.

The sticker, which recorded the 666 days since the last accident at the factory, was the “mark of th beast” according to the worker, Mr. Billy E. Hyatt.

He is, of course, now suing the company for firing him on religious grounds.

Why is it that theists often get a pass for things that would get the rest of us laughed out of court?

Often religion is taken into consideration in prosecutions and sentencing where children have been neglected due to religious prohibition of medical treatment (or the substitution of faith healing for actual medicine).

This case, obviously is not so extreme, but why does religion factor into the equation at all?

If an employer tells you to do something that isn’t unethical, dangerous or illegal and you don’t do it, you should expect consequences.

BTW, I feel the employer acted stupidly over an apparent trivial matter, but that’s neither here nor there.  The defense of “I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to” isn’t improved by “because of my religion”.

I’m looking forward to how this case gets decided.

-Chris

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November 23, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. For one, the law is on the man’s side here: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to make accommodations for employees’ sincerely-held religious beliefs, so long as those accommodations don’t create an undue hardship for the employer. Nor does the law distinguish between mainstream and fringe beliefs. That law protects the non-religious as well as the religious. If an employer tries to fire you because you refuse to pray or wear a sticker that says “Yay Jesus,” you’re similarly protected. You would not be, as you say, “laughed out of court.”

    More importantly, though, I’m surprised that someone’s whose blog is titled “Incline Left,” and whose first page has a picture of Marx on it, would side with management on such a case. It’s a case of workers’ rights. Do you actually want to live in a world where members of the overclass have the power to force the poor to choose between their means of living and their deeply held convictions? A humane society should, as far as possible, allow employees to behave in line with their consciences. The fact than you (and, btw, I as well) believe this man’s particular belief is whacky is neither here nor there.

    Comment by Mark | February 12, 2012 | Reply

  2. Mark,

    Marx is on my page to illustrate a post about GOP economic policy being in line with some of his writings. He’s not enshrined in any way.

    But on the subject of this gentleman in Georgia, where does reasonable accomodation stop?

    Some deeply-held beliefs are simply crazy. People who insist on wearing tin-foil hats to block alien signals also have deeply-held beliefs.

    The man was aware of the exact date the safety record would hit 666, yet he chose to come to work and wanted to be treated differently than all of the other employees.

    You are correct, the 1964 Civil Rights Act does protect religious beliefs. How the commission rules on this matter remains to be seen.

    My point is that if I made a similar claim about a deeply-held belief that I had to wear a tinfoil hat to work because aliens were reading my thoughts or if I refused to do something because I felt, without good reason that the task or activity would further the goal(s) of religion — then I WOULD be laughed out of court.

    The only difference is that this man put the word “religious” in front of conviction.

    We treat religious thought, no matter how crazy, differently from other other thought. Why is this?

    This special treatment is seen again in the current debate over requiring contraceptives to be offered by ALL employers who provide healthcare for their employees.

    I am all for protecting the right of people to believe anything they want to, but shouldn’t reason enter into the equation at some point?

    Why should these employers get special rights not available to the rest of us?

    I do agree that the employer could have resonably accomodated the employee by letting him wear a special sticker that said “over two years without an accident” or somesuch.

    My view on this is not a struggle of management versus worker. It’s about equal protection under the law.

    -Chris

    Comment by wcward57 | February 14, 2012 | Reply

  3. we each have our opinion. and the courts will make there ruling. people may think i am crazy but i have proof that i went and talk to my supervisor to get the day off. also i asked to take a vacation day. i have proof of that too. i also have proof that the affadavides from the company are lies. I have proof to back up what really happen and the companies lies will be revealed in due time.
    since getting fired i have played on drop dead diva,what to expect when expecting,a korean film called papa and American Reunion. All this taking place before the world knew what happen to me. but for those that want to look down on me for standing up for what i believe to be 100% true. shame on you for belittling my beliefs. we live in America. we have the right to believe what we want. you dont have to belive like me or even belive in the Bible,thats your right because as the end draws closer and if i lived pleasing to my God and Savior Jesus. if i am rewarded with the promise land. i want remember anyone that dont make it. we are all on this boat of life together. all men being equal to choose what they want. its called free will. i will be judge for what i do and you the same.
    with power,love and a sound mind will we conquer that which makes us fear standing up for Christ. Don’t let the rooster crow because of you. i don’t want him to crow because of me.
    but i will close with anybody that knows me knows i walk what i talk. i stand up for truth. i confess Christ and love those that cross my path. God has not let me do without either. since this happen in 09 God has proven that he will take care of me, If God before you who can be against you. Even if this world rises against me I will not fell. I have favor of the Father only because of Jesus. i am nothing without him and i can do nothing without him. he is real he is alive. we all have the same choice. except or deny. i just decided to be one that excepts…

    Comment by just me | April 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Well, “Just Me”, no one ever questioned your right to believe whatever you wish.

      However, I do not get to have special treatment because I feel strongly about something at either of my jobs. I either do it or I face the consequences.

      By the way, you do not have the right to criticism.

      -Chris

      Comment by wcward57 | April 30, 2012 | Reply


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