Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Random Thought and "Rant"

There has been a lot of talk on the news channels, Twitter and other social media outlets about the recent Hobby Lobby ruling from the Supreme Court this past week and with it a lot of debate among people. Sometimes hostile sometimes not. I am not going to talk about that specific ruling or the ramifications of it but more on a situation that could and probably has happened and would love to hear what other people like yourselves think and whether you agree with me or not.

I love to debate and like to hear what your thoughts and your views are but I want to keep it civil. You might not agree with my view and I might not agree with yours but that is what America gives us. The right to believe what you want to believe in. It's the American way.

As a reference why I am writing about a potential scenario is that the Hobby Lobby suit "took away" certain "rights" when it comes to the health care for the employees of the company. Again, not going to go over that situation but you can Google it for more information if you like.

Here a potential and probable scenario considering I have heard and seen variances of it in the past :

1st and foremost everyone whether you like them or not we have a right to believe in whatever we want. Race, creed, religion etc can not be used against someone applying for a job and if it is, they can rightfully sue that company. This scenario is for someone that is applying for a job NOT someone that is already employed by the company. If they were already employed then the whole situation changes.

An Atheist ( someone that does not believe in God ) who for the sake of this exercise we shall name Francis is looking for a job and he has the choice of a few. Not just one but he can take any of them. It's his choice. We will use Red Robin as the company. Francis decides he wants to really work for Red Robin as he loves their food and will receive a 30% discount while working there. A job and discounted food, a win win in Francis's eyes.

At the time of his interview Francis is informed that Red Robin is a very religious company and that they believe in God and try to practice what the bible teaches them. During the employee's breaks and lunch many of them can be seen praying together or reading the bible among themselves. It is not mandated nor expected by Red Robin as they do not ask their employees to participate. It is an option not a requirement. During the interview Red Robin informs Francis of the common practices held at their facilities and that he is not expected to participate in any of them but he can do so at his own discretion. Francis informs Red Robin that he is an Atheist and he will not be joining in with his fellow potential employees. Red Robin respects his decision and offers him the job as they have and would never have a policy that states that Atheists can't work there. Francis happens to be the most qualified applicant and Red Robin wants him working there as they believe he will be an asset to the company.

Francis starts working at Red Robin and for the first 6 months he does a great job and he himself is happy that he chose to work there. A couple times during his tenure Francis is asked by his peers if he would like to join in a prayer group. He politely declines and they don't ask him again. A couple months go by and Francis is getting more and more annoyed by the constant bible reading and prayers that he witnesses during his breaks and lunches that he decides it is too much to take for him anymore. He feels that that his fellow employees by praying and reading around him are forcing their views onto him even though he himself is not involved in the group and it is making him very uncomfortable. Francis talks to his manager and is informed that they have every right to do what they do just as Francis has a right to be who he is and if was to read something about the non existence of God around other employees they would have to accept that as well.

Francis is not happy with that answer as he decides he is going to sue the company to make them change their practice and have them not allow them to have prayer meetings or anything religious as he is not comfortable being around that atmosphere. He believes that it infringes on his own beliefs and that he should not be subjected to the constant sight of prayer as he feels its being forced upon him.

So does Francis have the right to do this? I firmly say NO!
If he had worked there prior and then they started this he might a very small case for it but that is still a stretch in my eyes. He knew going in what company he was going to work for and the company knew what his beliefs are so why should the company change its practices and traditions for the sake of one person being uncomfortable? The company is OK with him not to believe in God so why can't he just deal with it? Should he?

I bring up this scenario as too many people nowadays feel uncomfortable in their surroundings and want others to change and not have themselves adapt or leave instead. I believe in the right to have your own beliefs and practices and you should not be hindered in life by your race, gender, beliefs or sexual preference and that everyone should be given a chance to do what they want. If they can't do it then they can't do it. Move on.

So is it fair for someone going into a work situation knowing full well that to potentially expect to be around something they don't like in their own personal life and then to cry foul down the road and turn around and say that their rights and beliefs are being infringed upon? If Francis is uncomfortable why does the company have to change? Just leave if you don't like it anymore. Why should the tax payers ( my pocket and yours readers ) have to foot a civil suit for a person that years ago would have been laughed out of the court? Just because times have changed, and to be fair a lot of good has come about in the past 20 years, doesn't mean that every little thing that offends someone has to be contested. There are a lot of things that bother me in this world. If I walk into a bar and want to buy a drink but there is smoking allowed ( I hate smoking ) do I have the right to say stop smoking while I am here as it bothers me? Isn't it my right to be comfortable when I am trying to enjoy something? We as Americans I believe have gone way too PC and try too hard to accommodate the few and which then forsakes the thousands and/or millions.

If something truly is illegal and infringes on your rights by all means stand up and fight but lets use common sense and chose our battles.

In my view and opinion Francis is 100% wrong and the company should not have to change for him. Some readers might think I am exaggerating but there have been documented incidents that Atheists have had issues with religious billboard advertisements and fought to have them taken down as they should not be subjected to seeing those. Don't the religious groups have the right to put them up?

What say you?

Would love comments and debate but please keep it civil. If you have no comments and chose to read this all the way through thank you for taking the time. It is appreciated.

God Speed everyone and have a happy and safe holiday weekend !


  1. What does this have to due with the Hobby Lobby case?

    I would pose this, what if your boss (company owner) is a Scientology - who have a firmly held belief against the use of psychological medications. Due to this recent ruling does that mean they have the right to refuse to cover those medications for their employees since they do not believe in their use?

    How about if your boss (the closely held company that you work for) is owned by a devout Muslim. Does that mean they would be allowed to impose sharia laws on their employees when it comes to medical care?

    Or, if the religion is a Christian Scientist - who, for the most part, are opposed to the use of all medications. Does that mean they can exclude all of their employees from coverage for medications?

    I think those are the real implications of the Hobby Lobby case. As Justice Ginsburg implied, this ruling opens up a big can worms.

    BTW, the Hobby Lobby case does not pertain to the employee and their rights versus their employer, but to the ownership and their right to impose their religious views on their employees benefits. In other works, their closely held company now has civil rights.

    1. Doesn't really pertain directly to the case but the attitude of rights is in the air and made start thinking about other situations that are out there. Hobby Lobby situation falls in the problem that they are halfway up stream with the new laws.

      Again, I agree that no one should impose any of their beliefs on their employees. If my owner was a Muslim or some other religious belief and if he would try to impose it on me then I would have an issue and it would have to be addressed.

      The situation I brought up is that if both parties know what they are getting into why is it ok to have a problem with what you were ok to begin with? I have read up on a case where an Atheist had an issue with a billboard that a Catholic church put up and fought to have it taken down (which he won) because he was offended to seeing it everyday on his way to work. Why couldnt he just drive around another corner? Why must the church change?

    2. Please provide a link to the article about the billboard... I can't see a scenario where advertising like that could be forcibly taken down... there are religious billboards literally everywhere

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Here is one in reverse actually. I believe the Atheist should have been able to keep it up.
      Need to find the other two I know of

    5. In this case it wasn't taken down due to the force of law... the billboard company chose to take it down likely gue to the a potential threat to their business... no doubt it should be allowable, but that doesn't mean that the billboard company is required by law to put it up

    6. Agree that the billboard shouldnt be forced to put it up but if someone paid for it and in this instance the Atheist went through the proper channels then he/she should have been able to keep it up. I believe in God but if I saw that I would not like it up there but I know this is a free country and they are allowed to voice their opinion. I dont think I or the small group that opposed it should be allowed to force someone to take down an opinion/view.

      Here is another example that I just thought of. I went to the Castro district last year as the wife and I wanted to watch an Italian movie at an old timey theater. As I am sure you know Castro District is homosexual dominated area. If I was an anti gay person would I have the right to go into that area and say change your ways as it offends and bothers me? Even though it has been that way all this time? I chose to go into that area, they did not ask me to come there so don't I have to conform to their "views" and not the other way around?

  2. As for the scenario you bring up, it's quite clear in case law that, unless you are a religious organization, you cannot force an employee to have your same religious faith. On top of that, employees can clearly chose to practice their faith, or not, on their free time while at work (like during breaks). Just because an employee would prefer to not hear or know about it isn't relevant. He/She isn't having it imposed.

    1. It shouldnt be revelant but it happens. I worked at a place where the break room was a community area and some people like to play video games, watch sports etc but someone wanted to read in private but showed up last to the room most of times and then decided to complain. Everyone had to cater to that one person. Never went to a court or anything but where do we draw the limit to catering to people?

    2. As with anything, you cater when you have to or when it's advantageous to you. Maybe that employee was a top dog at the company and threatened to leave if he didn't get his way. Or maybe folks misconstrued his request that folks be a little quieter in the breakroom as a demand when it was just a somewhat forceful and impolite please. Or, maybe the boss is the passive aggressive sort of fellow who is just the accommodating kind of person - too afraid to tell the reader to F off.

      I couldn't answer your specific scenario since it sounds more like an issue of interpersonal relations that something that would eventually make its way to the courtroom.

      You know what I mean?

    3. I see exactly what you are saying and I know some people get catered to (dont remember that person title or rank). Was just using that as an example where if you take that possible rank or title out that we cater way to much to the one person out of the many. We should as a people think of all others feelings and thoughts per se but even if that one person is uncomfortable that shouldnt signal we have to change everything to fit that one persons "issue". But all things should be considered and then move on from it.

  3. BTW, the smoking analogy is flawed because that is exactly what has happened. An restaurant/bar cannot decide to be a smoking establishment. So, private business owners who smoke and want to cater to smoking clients cannot do so. They are required by law, in CA, to have no smoking in their building. In other words, others have deemed it allowable for others to say, "Isn't it my right to be comfortable when I am trying to enjoy something?" and force a private business to follow their rules.

    1. I know of two specific bars in the South Bay area, Torrance to be exact, that are openly a smoking bar which is close to me. Do I have the right to go in and say you guys need to stop smoking while I am here instead of going 3 blocks away and get a drink somewhere else? Why do they have to cater to me? Why cant I just go somewhere else?

    2. Yes, under CA law you can - unless it operates under a loophole.

      For instance, there's a bar in Costa Mesa (The Goat Hill Tavern a once frequent jaunt of mine) that operates under a loophole. Half the bar is under a building and the other half is an open patio. It has an open wall on one side that leads to a covered patio. So, you can smoke in that area (which is half the bar) but not in the area within the building.

    3. Unaware of that. Thank you for educated me on that part.
      The one I am referencing though I know is breaking the law. It has been there at least 20 years and the bar is enclosed with no windows and is no bigger than 1000 sq ft.

    4. yhea... then they are breaking the law... unless there's some other loophole out there that they use... I know hooka joints exist due to a loophole and I think the same is true for cigar bars and private clubs that operate as a public business

      BTW, you would likely need to complain to the police or city board of health... if the owners/employees are ok with, which it sounds like they are, then they would probably just laugh at you and kick you out.

    5. I agree they are breaking the law.
      I am just wondering out loud why should the bar and the many patrons of the bar cater to my needs if I was to complain? Just because the law is on my side what gives me the "right" to bring it up? Yes its the law but cant we as adults adjust if something bothers us? We compromise in marriage and relationships why cant we do that in other aspects in life? If there were no other options I can understand for making a stand at this particular bar but there are so many outlets to get your drink.

  4. Matthew, great post. I normally try and stay away from conversations/debates because it can get a bit fiery. However, I do agree with your stance, especially in a scenario like the one you brought up.

    I may only be 20, but I do have my own opinions, whether or not the "adults" try to disregard them because of my age. It seems that people these days expect others to conform to their ways, and if they don't they make a huge deal out of it.

    I am also a non-smoker, and I do not particularly like being around smokers. But, if I decide to go to a park for a picnic or something and somebody is smoking, I am not going to ask him to stop or move. However, if I was relaxing in the park and a smoker comes next to where I am sitting, I may ask him to move. I feel that I have a right to clean air, but I also know that the smoker has the right to smoke, especially is a public place that allows smoking. I understand that people won't always be willing to move if I asked, and that I may need to simply move somewhere else if it bothers me that much. There are always assholes (for lack of a better term), but I will still respect their rights even if they don't respect mine.

    I tried to word that in a way so it made sense, so hopefully you understand my point. Now I am wondering if it is even legal to smoke in parks, at least in some parts of CA...

    Overall, I believe people have the right to make their own choices, so long as it does not impede on another person's rights. The opinion I have on the restaurant or smoking scenario may not work for every case, but it should be something people understand at the least.

    1. It actually is not legal to smoke in parks nor bars even though I reference it in my entry. But if you saw one of my responses I know of two bars down here that caters to smokers even though its not legal but why should i be allowed to walk in there and tell them to stop as it bothers me? I dont think I can.

      Like you in a park, you were there first so they should respect that and vice versa. If I was in a non smoking bar I would complain and I actually have. Go down to that smoky bar if you need to smoke.

      I might not agree with peoples opinions or beliefs or habits but unless it is illegal im not going to say anything. Everything has to be on a case to case basis per se but we waste too much energy and money on stuff that shouldnt even be brought up.