By Allen Clifton | 8 September 2015
Words cannot express how absolutely sick and tired I am of people trying to force their religion into places it does not belong. The way I view faith and religion is simple: Keep it private, at church or other places of worship. There’s a reason why this nation was founded on the principle of freedom of (or from) religion. That way no person would ever have someone else’s beliefs shoved down their throat.
Now, in instances like what’s going on with Kim Davis in Kentucky, it’s fairly straight forward. She’s an elected official who’s refusing to do her job in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling and our Constitution. There’s no gray area with the situation in Kentucky. She’s completely in the wrong and has absolutely no legal right to deny gay couples their marriage licenses. The bottom line is, she either needs to resign or be removed from office.
But when it comes to the private sector, things do get slightly more complicated.
Take for instance a story that’s been going around concerning a Muslim flight attendant, Charee Stanley, who’s been suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve customers alcohol, claiming it goes against her religious beliefs. She has since filed a discrimination complaint against the company.
While I respect everyone’s right to have their own faith, I draw the line with stuff such as this. Her job requires her to fulfill certain duties, one of which is to serve passengers alcohol if they request it. If she doesn’t want to do that requirement of her job, then find a new job.
What’s next, Hindu servers refusing to allow customers to order beef products? What if a Muslim male working at the DMV starts refusing to issue driver’s licenses to women because he doesn’t believe women should drive? Should that be allowed?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people being allowed days off to celebrate certain religious holidays, or even garments such as a hijab being allowed to be worn by women. But when it starts reaching a point where employees are refusing to carry out required tasks of their job, claiming it’s “against their religion,” then I think we’ve got a problem.
Now, I know what some of you might be saying: Who cares, it’s just alcohol – what’s the big deal?
Well, where do you draw the line?
Take for instance a Florida nurse who sued a clinic that wouldn’t hire her because she opposed all forms of birth control and informed them during her interview that she would not prescribe it to anyone, even if they specifically asked for it. She claimed her “religious freedom” was violated when they didn’t hire her.
Are we now going to argue that doctors and medical professionals should be allowed to ignore medical science when it contradicts their religious beliefs? What if someone dies because they weren’t given proper treatment due to a doctor’s “religious beliefs”?
While serving alcohol and prescribing birth control are two completely different things, both individuals believe that they are within their rights to tell their employers (or potential employer) that they’re not going to carry out certain tasks a job requires because it went against their religion.
Let me reiterate, I’m all for respecting the religious beliefs of other people. But I absolutely disagree with these folks who claim that they should be exempt from carrying out certain duties of a job that are required by an employer.
This isn’t a matter of asking someone to “choose between their career and their religion.” It’s about people voluntarily choosing to work for a company, who are then deciding that they shouldn’t have to carry our specific tasks because it’s against their religion. Then, in cases like the nurse in Florida, businesses are being sued because they don’t want to hire employees who admit during an interview that they won’t perform certain tasks that are a requirement for employment.
If you ask me, we just need to keep religion out of government, school and work. Religion should be something that’s personal and practiced in the appropriate places. If you come across a job that requires you to do things that go against your religion – then get a different job.
Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column.
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