Features

Who Would Jesus Fire?

The Religious Exemption That Allows Catholic Hospitals to Discriminate Against Employees

Who Would Jesus Fire?

Eroyn Franklin

  • comments (22)
  • Print
+ Enlarge this Image
PJ McQuade

Imagine that after years of work, you're abruptly fired from your job, seemingly without just cause, because you suffered a stroke. Or because you contracted HIV. Or because—the most heinous of workplace crimes—you decided to have a baby.

It would be illegal, right? As most people know, the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) broadly protects employees from being discriminated against on the basis of their age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, creed, color, national origin, military status, or presence of any sensory, mental, or physical handicap.

But what most people don't realize is that the law doesn't protect all employees. There's a hole in our state's antidiscrimination law—a giant, Jesus-shaped hole—that exempts religious not-for-profit organizations from honoring it. The exemption simply reads "'Employer'... does not include any religious or sectarian organization not organized for private profit." It's there to preserve our government from meddling in acts of religious freedom, such as the Catholic Church's right to exclude atheists and womenfolk from being ordained.

But the broad exemption has unintended consequences: Aside from church groups, it excuses religious nonprofits like schools, universities, hospitals, and even credit unions from honoring the antidiscrimination law. Moreover, it grants them the legal protection to discriminate in areas totally unrelated to their religious practices or ethical beliefs.

It also allows them to hypothetically fire security guards for being too old, doctors too black, or nurses too lesbian. And it appears that the state's largest religious hospitals, at least, are taking advantage of the exemption, as is their legal right. This isn't just a Washington State problem—lawsuits filed in San Diego, Cincinnati, and Springfield allege that Catholic organizations have fired women for being pregnant while unmarried, for using in vitro fertilization to become pregnant, even for engaging in premarital sex.

"These are not little church community groups we're talking about," stresses Dan Johnson, an employment and labor attorney in Seattle. "It's unfair for them to be able to claim religious exemption." As Johnson and other lawyers have argued, regardless of an organization's affiliation, there's nothing inherently religious about being employed as a janitor or a teacher, or about getting stitches in an emergency room. "They shouldn't be able to discriminate at will just because they have some roots in the Catholic Church generations back."

Several years ago, Johnson sued Providence Regional Medical Center Everett for gender discrimination on behalf of a nurse who claimed she was unfairly terminated from her job after taking maternity leave. Providence cited its religious exemption, and the court sided with Providence.

The Catholic-affiliated Providence Health & Services is currently the sixth largest health-care system in the nation and employs nearly 34,000 people in Washington, according to IRS documents obtained by the ACLU of Washington. Franciscan Health System, also Catholic, employs more than 9,000 people. PeaceHealth employs more than 13,000 people and also has loose ties to the Catholic Church. This makes them formidable employers: All together, these hospitals and their affiliates could soon control 47 percent of all the hospital beds in our state.

And again, these are employers with a legal loophole to discriminate against their employees.

The ACLU has tracked at least 10 lawsuits alleging employer discrimination against religious hospitals in the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals in the last decade. These lawsuits all share something in common: their defense.

"We have seen religious hospitals avoid their responsibility to treat employees fairly and without discrimination by successfully asserting in lawsuits that they are not covered by the state statute (or WLAD)," explains Sarah Dunne, an ACLU lawyer tracking such cases in Washington State.

In other words, religious hospitals don't deny that their employment practices are discriminatory, because they don't need to. They never have to be put in the position of denying discrimination, because they raise the defense that they are exempt from the statute right out of the gate.

Why don't ex-employees simply file discrimination lawsuits in federal court, you ask? One reason is that the WLAD offers broader protections than the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. For instance, federal law does not include gays and lesbians as a protected category, whereas the state law does protect sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Unless, of course, you're employed by a nonprofit religious organization like Providence.

"It is outrageous that an institution that seems to hold itself to high ethical standards would seek to exclude itself from the antidiscrimination laws," says Randy Gordon, a former state senator and lawyer who filed a discrimination lawsuit against Providence Regional Medical Center Everett last month in King County Superior Court. "But that's what we're seeing."

Gordon's client is a soft-spoken former marine and surgical technician whom we'll call Humphry. He'd worked as a surgical tech for six years, including a year at Providence Everett, when just before Christmas in 2010, Humphry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and HIV. (I've changed his name to afford him some privacy, given his medical status.) Humphry did the noble thing and immediately notified his employer, Providence Everett, that he was HIV-positive. To be clear, he volunteered his private medical information because he felt it was the responsible thing to do. He had glancing contact with patients, but his job mostly consisted of setting up surgical instruments, passing them to surgeons during surgery, and maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room (during which he was suited up in double gloves, a mask, goggles, and a smock).

Humphry appeared to be a model employee. Before revealing his HIV status, the 48-year-old "had no disciplinary action taken against him for any reason" at Providence or at any of his five previous employers, according to his lawsuit.

But that soon changed.

Humphry explained to his bosses that his viral load was in the "undetectable" range, meaning transmission is very unlikely. But after revealing his HIV status, he was immediately reassigned while the hospital drafted new protocols for his job, according to the lawsuit. Humphry was only allowed to resume full-time operating-room duties nine months later, after agreeing to a set of onerous job accommodations, including repeated, unnecessary HIV tests. And those private medical tests were apparently fit for public discussion: "Every day I would hear something [from my bosses] about my viral loads. This was all being done before other employees and other staff," Humphry says when I reach him by phone. "Everyone eventually found out I was HIV-positive. They treated me different for it."

Asked about this allegation, Providence spokeswoman Melissa Tizon says, "While we are saddened by his medical condition, his claims against Providence are simply untrue. During the legal proceedings, we intend to present the facts, which show he was treated respectfully, professionally, and fairly during his employment with Providence. In addition, employee confidentiality is a responsibility Providence takes very seriously, and our case will demonstrate that the management of our Surgery Department was very careful to respect this individual's privacy."

Two days after returning to the operating room in September 2011, Humphry received his first-ever reprimand for not wearing safety goggles. He felt singled out.

"I wasn't working, I was teaching," Humphry explains. "There were others in the room who weren't wearing goggles and who weren't [reprimanded]."

Providence declined to comment on this allegation.

Four days later, Humphry was suspended for "failing" to provide his bosses with his viral load numbers. But as the lawsuit states, "In fact, Humphry had dutifully obtained the appropriate testing for viral load the day before, which showed a viral load in the 'undetectable' range." His results were available via a simple telephone call to his treating physician. However, the lawsuit states, "Despite Humphry's request that Providence do so, and authorization to communicate directly with his physicians, [Providence] refused to call his physician to confirm the numbers." Instead, the lawsuit alleges that his bosses insisted Humphry have his blood tested again, within four days, at Providence's own Employee Health Services, and that Providence suspended him until the results were obtained. The Providence blood test confirmed Humphry's continued "undetectable" viral load.

Later that month, a routine job hazard struck: While working a late shift in the operating room, Humphry pricked his finger with a needle through his double gloves. He says he immediately alerted his colleagues of the minor incident. He then removed himself from the surgical field, "scrubbed again, re-gowned, re-double-gloved, and called his direct supervisor," according to his lawsuit. The supervisor ordered him to finish up with the last patient of the night, including helping transfer the patient from the operating table to a gurney and wheeling him out of the operating room. Humphry says he never touched the patient ("At no point did Humphry have any contact, direct or indirect, with the patient," the lawsuit states). Nevertheless, Humphry's supervisor then instructed him to have his blood drawn yet again at Providence's after-hours lab. He once again complied; the results were once again "undetectable." Then he could go home.

But before going to work the next day, Humphry received a phone call telling him he was suspended without pay. As he explains, while he'd followed his supervisor's instructions to the letter after pricking himself, he'd failed to comply with one of his stated job "accommodations" that demanded he get released for return to work by the Employee Health office before re-scrubbing, re-gowning, and wheeling his patient from the operating room. Only problem was, the incident occurred at around 7 p.m., and the Employee Health office had been closed for at least an hour.

In other words, Humphry explains, he didn't comply with that directive because he couldn't. But that didn't seem to matter; logic didn't seem to matter. (Providence declined to comment on the allegation about the Employee Health office being closed.) After he had worked as a surgical tech for years without a single employer complaint, Providence Everett managed to cite Humphry for three violations in 21 days after his HIV status was revealed. They fired him.

Lawyers for the hospital haven't yet filed a response to the lawsuit (they have until the end of March to do so), but Providence spokeswoman Tizon says: "As an equal opportunity employer, we do not discriminate against employees with any kind of disability, including those who are diagnosed with HIV, and we make appropriate accommodations to support these individuals in performing their job duties. While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we absolutely disagree with the allegations in the complaint... The former employee in question failed to follow protocols to protect against the transmission of HIV in the operating room, potentially putting patients at risk. These protocols were based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations and guidelines. Because patient safety is our number one priority, we had no choice but to end his employment."

It seems likely that Providence will reference its WLAD exemption in its legal response, as is its right under state statute. But Gordon sees another path to victory for his client. In his view, Providence Everett perceived Humphry's HIV status as a disability, and as part of the hospital's bargaining agreement with Humphry's union, UFCW 21, the hospital agreed not to "discriminate or condone harassment in any manner, in conference with applicable laws, against any employee by reason of race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or sensory, mental, or physical handicap." In other words, Humphry's lawsuit alleges that the hospital broke a union contract.

"Humphry acted with the highest level of integrity, he informed his employer that he had HIV, and they proceeded on a pattern of tormenting him and firing him," says Gordon. "His career has been destroyed." Their lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, among other things.

"During the legal proceedings, we intend to present the facts, which show he was treated respectfully, professionally, and fairly during his employment with Providence," responds Tizon.

Gordon may be able to successfully demonstrate that his client was discriminated against. But that wouldn't change the law that exempts religious institutions from antidiscrimination laws. Without a ruling from the state supreme court, a proactive effort from legislators to change the law, or a come-to-Jesus-NO-REALLY moment on the part of religious hospitals, fleet-footed discrimination against various protected classes will still be possible.

The Washington State Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of the religious nonprofit exemption. Luckily, there's hope: In May, the state's highest court is scheduled to hear the case of Ockletree v. Franciscan Health System.

In 2010, Larry Ockletree suffered a stroke while working as a security guard at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma (an affiliate of Franciscan Health System, or FHS). As a result, he lost the use of his left arm. His job wasn't physically strenuous—he manned a desk in the emergency room, where his duties included checking ID badges and issuing name tags to visitors. But the hospital refused to allow the security guard to resume his duties.

Lawyers for Ockletree, who is African American, filed a lawsuit alleging that he was discriminated against based on "his disability and race." The argument presented in this case is one that I've heard repeated among labor and employment lawyers—namely, that the broad religious exemption conflicts with the Washington State Constitution, Article 1, Section 11, which addresses religious freedom. It states: "Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state."

Further, Article 1, Section 12 of our state constitution states that "no law" shall grant any citizen, group of citizens, or corporation special privileges or immunities not enjoyed by all citizens or corporations.

In other words, our constitution states that you can't flex your religious freedoms if they infringe on everyone else's peace and safety. Citing religious freedom for firing employees who've had babies or suffered strokes—when these employees' jobs have no religious purpose or practice—arguably does just that.

Nevertheless, FHS moved to dismiss Ockletree's claims in federal court, citing its religious exemption. Here's where it gets interesting: The US District Court for the Western District of Washington then bumped the case to the Washington State Supreme Court. In doing so, US District Court judge Ronald B. Leighton stated that Ockletree's employment had "nothing to do with any religious purpose or activity" and that the "discrimination Ockletree claims... was wholly unrelated to FHS's religious purpose, practice, or activity." And while he stated, "I have a suspicion that most federal judges would say that WLAD, in this respect, as applied, is unconstitutional," Judge Leighton said that our state court should rule on whether the exemption violates our state constitution before the federal courts take up the issue.

If Ockletree prevails in the state supreme court, then all religious nonprofit organizations in the state will be subject to the WLAD and unable to discriminate against employees—that is, unless FHS, a religious nonprofit, can raise a First Amendment defense.

But that's unlikely to help former employees of religious nonprofits like Humphry, if in fact it's proven that Humphry's been discriminated against. He says he's suffered from depression since losing his job (and most likely his career). He's applied for roughly 200 jobs in the last two years. Despite countless interviews, no one has offered him work. He speculates that prospective health-care employers can discern his medical status based on the HIV medications he lists on job applications. "I'll be 51 this month, and this is the first time in my life that I've been unemployed," Humphry says. "It hurts." recommended

 

Comments (22) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Wait -- Christians acting like douchebags?!

Well now I really have heard it all.
Posted by ctmcmull on March 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
2
So...Christians LOVE! to bring up Leviticus when talking' bout S-E-X [te-he] because it has all the rules about sexual relations and stuff that Jesus never said. Let's review a few more rules from Leviticus:

19 “‘Keep my decrees.

“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals." YOU MEAN LIKE MIXED BREED DOGS?

“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. YOU MEAN LIKE MY BACKYARD VEGGIE GARDEN?

“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. YOU MEAN LIKE COTTON/POLY BLEND HOSPITAL SCRUBS?

27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. LIKE EVERYONE, EVER?

28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. OR NOT!!!

What's the point of this? The point is that if religious institutions want to blatantly discriminate against people and fire them based on their "Christian ideals," then perhaps they shouldn't pick and choose which ideals to which they are adhering so strictly. And when the one Christian who reads this comment correctly points out that Leviticus is Jewish law, they have made my point for me and I will thank them for doing so.
Posted by twiggn on March 27, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Shibari-san 3
Personally I think it should be illegal for religions to discriminate. If they get protected, people should most certainly get protected from them.
Posted by Shibari-san http://youtu.be/IHnGMV8yOEQ on March 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM · Report this
4
NEXT: Will Catholic hospitals be required to allow visitation rights to same sex spouses when their policies only allow "immediate family"?
Posted by Paddy Mac on March 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
5
@3: Thank you! I wholeheartedly agree.

Here's hoping the for-profit hospitals and institutions run by the insanely corrupt go broke. There's a glaringly obvious reason why nurses are outside picketing St. Joseph's in Bellingham.

Posted by auntie grizelda on March 27, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
6
Can someone please list the Hospitals where it's safe to go for assistance? I don't ever want to be admitted somewhere where my family can't see me because of what someone else thinks happens to you when you die.
Posted by Loraxx on March 28, 2013 at 5:27 PM · Report this
ScienceNerd 7
While I'm sure it's somewhere, Loraxx there under the plus sign @6 has a point. A list of places not part of The Inquisition would be nice.
Posted by ScienceNerd http://stanichium.tumblr.com/ on March 28, 2013 at 6:37 PM · Report this
8
Thank you big time for this story. I am in the process of changing docs and I never occurred to me to ask a clinic if any of their personnel had AIDS.

Posted by billwald on March 29, 2013 at 8:16 PM · Report this
9
University of Washington. C'mon over...we're a fully secular organization. Alas, Swedish has merged with Providence as is the trend for struggling medical centers in need of cash...
Posted by tempo36 on March 29, 2013 at 10:07 PM · Report this
10
What a mess. The law AND the article.

You wasted 3/4 of the article's "analysis" based on what one lawsuit's defendant is LIKELY TO claim in their answer?

"It seems likely that Providence will reference its WLAD exemption in its legal response, as is its right under state statute."

Likely to? Couldn't you use another case where it was ACTUALLY done if it's so common?

Protip: If you're going to pass a law (WLAD) offering broader protections than the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, maybe try and write the law properly.

After all, I'm sure the public has NO PROBLEM at all having their HIV pos surgical tech experience the "routine job hazard" of a needle prick while handling their instruments. Because EVERYONE is as ethical as Humphry right?

A one arm security guard? No problem. Of course that would disallow the job to even my APARTMENT BUILDING concierge who must be an ACTUAL certified security guard, not a clerk.

Yes HIV and strokes hurt. Operating enormous businesses properly with common sense controls is hard too. What hurts worse is moron politicians drafting laws WRONG for an entire state.

Oh and lawyers throwing in stupid allegations of race discrimination in a disability case is not helpful either. Or did Ockletree turn African American from the stroke?

Posted by allegory on March 30, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
11
I always find different peoples ethical views entertaining. So you don't want those Christians forcing their views on you? Did you ever ponder the thought that by making them provide abortions you would be forcing your views on them? Forcing a hospital, doctor or nurse to participate in a medical procedure they consider murder? It doesn't matter that you don't, but that they do. Most likely this is not something you have thought about, but then it isn't about them, its about you, your views, your inconvenience. I hate to burst your bubble, but the world doesn't revolve around you, or me for that fact. There are a lot of other people around who don't share your point of view or mine. If you want an abortion, go where they provide it. If you want birth control as part of your benefits working for a religious organization that is against birth control just doesn't seem like a good idea, stick a crowbar in your own wallet and pony up. Don't try to force someone who is morally against something to provide that service to accommodate you. If you don't like Catholic or Christian views or policies, then don't patronize their businesses, don't go to their hospitals, don't work for them. It's that simple.

One of the large software publishers out here had a moral turpitude clause in their employment contract. Moral turpitude is a legal concept in the United States and some other countries that refers to "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals." The example my business law professor provided us in college was a 35 year old man sleeping with a 17 year old girl. Now that isn't illegal here, the age of consent is 16 in Washington, but it could be considered an act of moral turpitude. Had one of their employees done that, that software company could fire someone on those grounds, and that is despite it not being a religious organization and it not being illegal.

Religion, in case you have forgotten, it protected by the constitution. A religious organization may have a morality clause or who knows what else in their employment contract. Look at what you are planning to sign, be it an employment contract, mortgage documents, whatever. If you don't understand what you are signing, guess whose fault that is? If you don't want to subject yourself to that kind of scrutiny or those kind of morals, don't work for them. Last time I checked, deciding to work for a prospective employer was "your" decision if they offer you the job. Getting pregnant outside of the bonds of marriage may not be a big deal to most secular organizations. It is to a lot of religious organizations, because they most often expect their employees to behave according to biblical standards. If you don't like that, don't work there! Or at least abide by their rules until you can find something else.

With regard to the security guard, I know several who work at one of the malls in the area. If they lost use of one of their arms they would get removed from the site. The reason being, they must be CPR certified to work that site. I can't speak for you, but I don't know anyone who can do CPR with one arm.

And an HIV positive surgical tech assisting in an operation on me would be an "absolutely not." It is not that I am prejudiced, a friend of mine died of AIDS back in the early 90's and I have no problem being around people with AIDS or HIV. I just don't want to take the chance of going for a surgical procedure knowing that a simple mistake during the operation could infect me with a lethal disease, regardless of their viral load.

Why don't people take into consideration anyone else's views, beliefs or rights other than their own. It seems it is only about their inconvenience, their rights and their beliefs. But then that seems to be the order of the day, if you disagree with someone you are intolerant, a bigot, a racist or choose your favorite pejorative. "Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate." - Rick Warren
More...
Posted by stevepg on March 30, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
12
Although the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, corporations are not people. Or at least they shouldn't be. To talk about a Catholic organization and how they shouldn't have to provide certain services is bordering on lunacy. A church? Sure. But when you have such giant entities like HOSPITALS, you should be required to start providing service in accordance with science, not religion.

We say that religion is protected by the constitution. But where do we draw the line? In the old testament it's said that we should stone people for certain "crimes"...but we clearly don't allow that under religious exemption do we? We have people who've claimed that their religious beliefs allows them to marry and have sex with children. We don't allow that either. But religion can be used to justify withholding legal, at least under present law, medical care? It can be used to fire you when you'd otherwise be a protected class?

Where do we draw the line? Can my religious employer ask to see my bank statement to make sure I'm not buying anything they consider morally, ethically or religiously objectionable? They seem to have the right to decide what I can do with my health insurance. Surely that means they can fire me for buying birth control with the money they paid me right?
Posted by tempo36 on March 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
13
One of the huge problems with organizations like Catholic hospitals and laws like this is that they pick and choose who they discriminate against. And that is decidedly not ok. They pick and choose who is a good enough Christian and who isn't. A woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock is a clear target, but a man screwing around before marriage will never be fired. How is this right? How can they blatantly ignore entire sections of the Bible as they please and thump them when it suits their needs?

If they, as a Christian organization, are going to use the Bible as their basis for firing people, then they need to make sure that EVERYONE at their hospital is above reproach. Short of this, they cannot claim exemption from anti-discrimination laws. Or they shouldn't be able to.

Now, as far as asking a Catholic doctor to perform procedures/prescribe medicine that go against his beliefs, said doctor needs to only practice on other Christians. And in that case the christian hospital probably shouldn't be open to the public. A hospital and it's staff has a duty to its' patients first. If it is going to be a public hospital, they must behave like one and treat the patients accordingly. A patient in an ambulance cannot control where he/she is taken; it is not that person's fault and they should to be punished by a doctor claiming moral objection.

Don't be a doctor if you are too big of a douchebag to perform your duties. It's as simple as that. If you are going to be a doctor, be a doctor, not a fucking priest.
Posted by twiggn on March 31, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
jeffsd 14
Why would you not fire a security guard for being too old? What good is a guard that is too old to perform his duties?
Posted by jeffsd on April 1, 2013 at 8:20 AM · Report this
15
The public policy issue here is that the State of Washington subsidizes these hospitals by allowing them access to guaranteed bonds issued by the State of Washington for construction of new hospitals & clinics, such as the new Providence Everett Hospital
Posted by No more public subsidy on April 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
John Horstman 16
@14: If he can't perform his duties, it's a legitimate reason to fire him, irrespective of his age. The point is that age is not indicative of individual ability, even if there are differences between age groups' averages; if one is concerned about ability to perform a job, regulate and measure that directly. Don't use proxy measures that may or may not be valid in any given case.
Posted by John Horstman on April 2, 2013 at 8:27 AM · Report this
17
just as Edith said I can't believe that anybody able to make $6400 in four weeks on the computer. did you read this website Snap11.comisthe webpage
Posted by akorina444 on April 2, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
seattlejenny 18
Employees of Catholic hospitals are not necessarily Catholic. I work at one and I don't know that many. I see lots of different kinds of Christians, quite a few Muslims and many non-religious, like myself.
A lesbian couple that I know had their baby at Swedish and had a terrible nurse that was horrible to them, while wearing a large crucifix. My Swedish story happened before it got bought out by Catholics. There are tons of anecdotal stories about being treated poorly at the hospital, any kind.
This article even hits close to home, having had recent exposure to HIV at work. Could I get fired? But what does that have to do with being Catholic?
We know that there are horrible people out there that will discriminate. Sometimes they are managers that violate HIPAA/privacy. This is correlation not causation. It really has nothing to do with being a Catholic hospital. Makes for embarrassing writing. I really want to agree with you but you just don't have it here.
And by the way, he was probably supposed to go to the Emergency Department if the employee health office was closed. If he resumed patient care before doing so he might have been in violation. I really feel for the guy and wish him well.
Posted by seattlejenny on April 3, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 19
It will be many years before this loophole is closed. In fact, it may never be closed.

America is a deeply religious country. Our national religiosity comes and goes in waves, or at historians call them, Awakenings. The name itself is ironic, since these Awakenings feel more like a retreat from the principles of the Enlightenment and a decided step toward the Dark Ages.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaiden's Tale is not too far off the mark of where we might go if the current Awakening continues to flow. Even if it ebbs, it is doubtful that the retreat would be enough to abolish discrimination in the name of faith.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 3, 2013 at 7:39 PM · Report this
Texas10R 20
Remember, not very long ago, when so many of the Christian right could muster only the most specious of reasoning to support their odious bigotry?

[All together now]

"No 'special rights' for gays!"

How far we have come, and still so far to go.
Posted by Texas10R on April 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
21
To: #10. I Just wanted to point out, I am a licences security guard and we only have to do written work to pass or test. I work In an 300 unit apartment building and they don't even care if your licensed they just call you a Concierge. Mind you I am in Canada, but I would be surprised if they are required similar or no training.
Posted by NTuneR on April 4, 2013 at 11:40 PM · Report this
22
Isn't it always the case you hit submit then notice a typo.

This: ...pass or test.

Should be: ...pass our test.
Posted by NTuneR on April 4, 2013 at 11:47 PM · Report this

Add a comment