Can Jesus Discriminate?

Disclosure: The author is an Atheist.

There’s usually chirping when religion and hiring practices bump against each other and Monday’s Ninth Circuit decision in favor of Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is a case in point.

The 2-1 decision came from a suit contending that World Vision had discriminated by firing three employees who had been with them for 10 years and who didn’t, “believe in the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity.”

The court found that since World Vision is a religious organization, it can hire and fire because its employees directly work within the purview of its ministry and the bulk of its monies go to humanitarian aid, not proselytizing.

A Profound Sense of Religious Mission
In World View’s case, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that, “World Vision has met its burden of showing that the ‘general picture’ of the organization is primarily religious.  World Vision is a nonprofit organization whose humanitarian relief efforts flow from a profound sense of religious mission.”

In other words, World Vision’s “religious” side and its “humanitarian relief” side are one and the same. Although why the three employees would join the organization knowing that and why the organization kept them around for 10 years before firing them is a bit of a mystery.

But then, what isn’t these days?

This case is fundamentally different from one a few years back in which Pat Robertson, and what was then known as his CBN University, ran afoul of discrimination laws.

CBNU operated a hotel that did not deny non-Christians guest rooms, but did hire and fire staff based on religious beliefs. They also had similar problems hiring and firing technicians and others working for what was then the Christian Broadcasting Network in non-religious jobs.

In their case, the court found that Robertson ran the hotel and TV network primarily to make money. Most of the money was used for investments in everything from South African diamond mines to stock, but some of it was used to support various religious and charitable pursuits. They lost the suit and eventually divested the hotel and university from Robertson’s personal empire.

Religious and employment discrimination is sometimes a tough thing. Minor differences between how money is collected and spent can have a profound impact on specific cases. It’s easy to take a one-size fits all approach and either say no discrimination or no paid staff. However, when these split hairs mean the freedom to practice religion, it’s a harder decision.

All too often, people on both sides – religious and Atheist – want to make religious freedom an all or nothing proposition. Those simplistic reactions do nothing to help either side of the argument and fuel an ever-growing schism between Americans.

Ersatz Hysteria
Today’s Park51 controversy is a great example. Some want Muslims stopped from building a community center (in fact, some even want them out of the country all together). Others see no reason to stop anything. Still others would be happy if all religions just went away, which I admit is sometimes a tempting, though hypothetical, thought.

All those joining the argument deserve to be heard and all of them have good points to make, but at the end, Park51 is a simple, local zoning case run amok. “Discussion” fell apart long ago and devolved into an ersatz hysteria on both sides.

Enough talking. Let’s just get on with things and stop dancing on the head of a theological pin. Ben Franklin said something about an entirely different topic, but that fits this subject in America today, “We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.

Let’s get back to hanging together on something. This whining is giving me a headache.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Can Jesus Discriminate?

Disclosure: The author is an Atheist.

There’s usually chirping when religion and hiring practices bump against each other and Monday’s Ninth Circuit decision in favor of Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is a case in point.

The 2-1 decision came from a suit contending that World Vision had discriminated by firing three employees who had been with them for 10 years and who didn’t, “believe in the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity.”

The court found that since World Vision is a religious organization, it can hire and fire because its employees directly work within the purview of its ministry and the bulk of its monies go to humanitarian aid, not proselytizing.

A Profound Sense of Religious Mission
In World View’s case, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that, “World Vision has met its burden of showing that the ‘general picture’ of the organization is primarily religious.  World Vision is a nonprofit organization whose humanitarian relief efforts flow from a profound sense of religious mission.”

In other words, World Vision’s “religious” side and its “humanitarian relief” side are one and the same. Although why the three employees would join the organization knowing that and why the organization kept them around for 10 years before firing them is a bit of a mystery.

But then, what isn’t these days?

This case is fundamentally different from one a few years back in which Pat Robertson, and what was then known as his CBN University, ran afoul of discrimination laws.

CBNU operated a hotel that did not deny non-Christians guest rooms, but did hire and fire staff based on religious beliefs. They also had similar problems hiring and firing technicians and others working for what was then the Christian Broadcasting Network in non-religious jobs.

In their case, the court found that Robertson ran the hotel and TV network primarily to make money. Most of the money was used for investments in everything from South African diamond mines to stock, but some of it was used to support various religious and charitable pursuits. They lost the suit and eventually divested the hotel and university from Robertson’s personal empire.

Religious and employment discrimination is sometimes a tough thing. Minor differences between how money is collected and spent can have a profound impact on specific cases. It’s easy to take a one-size fits all approach and either say no discrimination or no paid staff. However, when these split hairs mean the freedom to practice religion, it’s a harder decision.

All too often, people on both sides – religious and Atheist – want to make religious freedom an all or nothing proposition. Those simplistic reactions do nothing to help either side of the argument and fuel an ever-growing schism between Americans.

Ersatz Hysteria
Today’s Park51 controversy is a great example. Some want Muslims stopped from building a community center (in fact, some even want them out of the country all together). Others see no reason to stop anything. Still others would be happy if all religions just went away, which I admit is sometimes a tempting, though hypothetical, thought.

All those joining the argument deserve to be heard and all of them have good points to make, but at the end, Park51 is a simple, local zoning case run amok. “Discussion” fell apart long ago and devolved into an ersatz hysteria on both sides.

Enough talking. Let’s just get on with things and stop dancing on the head of a theological pin. Ben Franklin said something about an entirely different topic, but that fits this subject in America today, “We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.

Let’s get back to hanging together on something. This whining is giving me a headache.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Sharron Angle’s Black Day at Tonopah

People of Nevada, I feel your pain. I get it. Really I do. It’s not like Harry Reid has been worth much as Senate leader and I’m sure he’s sucked just as bad as your personal Senator. But fer Chrissakes, couldn’t you come up with someone to run against him other than Sharron Angle? Someone respectable, you know smart and cultured – I’m thinking Rush Limbaugh.

Angle is so spectacularly bad as a candidate and – well, let’s face it – quasi-sentient being that she actually makes The Grizzly Whisperer™ look like a genius. If you elect this woman to anything, much less the US Senate, your license plates will have to say, “Welcome to Nevada, the Moron State” as a mater of truth in advertising. And that’s saying something when you’re up against the competition from Texas and Arizona. I mean those people are real pros.

An Idiot That Keeps on Giving
Nary a day goes by that Over-Sharin’ Sharron doesn’t do or say something stupid. Reporters should only ask the questions she wants to hear and write stories that only she can approve. She thinks God called her to run for Senate, proving once again that God should hire a much better class of PR flaks for his domain. She doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state and accuses Democrats of being in violation of the First Amendment Commandment. Gadzooks Nevandans!

I’ve always believed that to be a success in life you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but use a personal yardstick to compare yourself to what you are capable of.  Angle clearly has some sort of weird metric mojo going on when it comes to her personal yardstick.

Case in point : She denies it now, but back in 1992 she came out foursquare against the scourge of black. Not black as in African American (although she doesn’t seem like a BFF of them either). Not black as in Black Friday. Not even – to employ a Nevadaism – blackjack. No, Sharron Angle is against black…the color. Specifically, the color of football jerseys at Tonopah High.

It’s evil. It’s close to sacrilege she said of a move to change the school’s jerseys to red. So evil in fact that she agitated to have the change repealed, the jerseys seized and put under lock and key, and the kids who bought them left holding the bag because the school wouldn’t reimburse them.

I suppose we could infer from this that Sharron would lead the charge against all sorts of other “colorism” too.

The Amish Are Evil
Priests and ministers would have to exorcise their black vestments. Amish folks would have to wear hot pink (because we all know what raving, hell-raising devil-worshipers they are). Black Flag insecticide would be verboten and the Oakland Raiders banned from the football field – although some would think that an improvement.

I’m used to politicians saying and doing stupid things. It is what they do and you can expect a certain amount of that from the sheer volume of hogswallop they spew. Talk enough and you’re bound to look like a goob occasionally. It’s an occupational hazard. But I’m aghast to say she easily snatches the Scepter of Stupidity from Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Even the unholy Troika of  Trolldom, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and all the Fox News blondie bubbleheads rolled into one, run a distant second.

So people of Nevada, take mercy on the rest of us. Harry’s worthless, but at least he’s emasculate. Sharron is so stupid she might even figure out how to be dangerous – although I admit I may be giving her mental powers more credit than they deserve. Don’t elect this pinhead. We already have enough trouble as it is. Good God, Newt Gingrich might even make a comeback and that would be worse than a lifetime supply of Glenn Beck reruns!

Elect Sharron Angle and it will be a black day for us all.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Do You Have Faith in Faith-Based Initiatives?

Evangelicals seem to be odd man out this political season. Their much-vaunted voting block isn't concrete-solid this time around. McCain courts them with little success, even after gratuitously changing his official religion from those darn liberal Episcopalians to the more palatable and conservative Baptists. Obama's working the liberal evangelicals with daily mentions of his faith and a new evangelical plank - faith-based initiatives.

La Bama isn't talking the moribund photo-op that God's Main ManTM kicked off to lefty howls and Congressional reticence. No, he'll give it a shiny new name - the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships - and elevate it to the moral center of his administration. I'm not clear where the moral center of his administration is and whether jamming "neighborhood" into the title makes it taste any better to the opposition. We'll see.

It was lead balloon time when Obama raised the flag. The liberal rank and file did not salute. Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State summed it up, "I am disappointed that any presidential candidate would want to continue a failed policy of the Bush administration. It ought to be shut down, not continued."

He's right about Bush policies being daft and there are legitimate concerns about the integrity of the firewall between church and state. However, Obama argues there's a great humanitarian need out there and the nation needs all the help it can get to fill it.

There's more...

Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 172

The floods in the Midwest have continued and I include some information where I can in the Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin sections. Best of luck to all readers in the hard hit areas.

This week I return to an issue I discussed before: Republican cronies litterally killing our troops with no government oversight. This week Democratic Sentor Bob Casey is demanding an investigation of the electrocutions due to bad wiring that have been plaguing our military bases managed by a Hallibruton subsidiary. More below.

There's more...

Diaries

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