Showing posts with label Commerce and Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commerce and Religion. Show all posts

January 25, 2019

American Bible Society Tells Its Employees to Affirm No Sex and Go To Church or They Will Be Terminated


My first question is, what the hell are they doing working there? Ok, ok they need a job. So, Woulf the courts get involve to resolve the isssue? Im not curious to find out how will the Trumpie Supreme Judges will vote. Adam






(RNS) — Employees at the American Bible Society have until the end of this month to sign a statement promising that they will attend church and abstain from sex before marriage, which it defines as between a man and a woman.

Anyone who doesn’t sign the Affirmation of Biblical Community will be out of a job effective Feb. 1.

The new policy was introduced by the society’s board in December 2017, giving employees 13 months to decide whether to sign. While the statement essentially consists of conservative Christian beliefs, the effect of the policy will be to allow the society to terminate LGBT employees and unmarried heterosexuals who are not celibate.


Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. Photo courtesy of American Bible Society

So far 36 people have quit their jobs, only a slightly higher number than in previous years, according to Roy Peterson, the society’s president and CEO.

Those departures represent a little less than 20 percent of the society’s workforce. But several have explicitly resigned in protest of the affirmation, and more are expected to resign by the end of the month.

In a statement responding to questions from Religion News Service, Peterson said the affirmation policy “was introduced because we believe a staff made up of people with a deep and personal connection to the Bible will bring unity and clarity as we continue our third century of ministry.”

At least one board member may be a casualty of negative reaction to the new policy. Angela F. Williams, the CEO of Easter Seals, a nonprofit providing disability services, resigned earlier this month. She had served as vice president of the American Bible Society’s board.

Williams would not comment on why she stepped down, but her departure came a week after a former American Bible Society employee, Jeremy Gimbel, confronted Easter Seals on social media, asking why its CEO serves on the board of an organization that “discriminates against LGBT individuals.”

Easter Seals does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status, according to a 2014 policy manual.

“I feel like the world needs to know what this organization really stands for,” said Gimbel, a gay man who had worked for the American Bible Society for 10 years as a web services manager before quitting last year after the affirmation policy was introduced.


Jeremy Gimbel, a 34-year-old gay man who had worked for the American Bible Society for 10 years, quit after the ABS adopted a new affirmation policy. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Gimbel

He penned a blog post about the experience in which he wrote: “I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how it would feel to sit amongst my colleagues, some of whom I’d worked beside for almost 10 years, and be told by the president of American Bible Society that I was no longer welcome there. No longer wanted. No longer good enough.”

Another gay man who said his position was eliminated last month told of numerous vacancies and at least one department gutted.

“The people they have lost have hurt this company like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. He declined to be named because his severance package requires him not to say anything negative about the organization.

The policy cements a shift that began in the 1990s for the organization — founded in 1816 to publish, distribute and translate the Bible — away from its ecumenical roots toward a narrower evangelical identity.

Beginning in the 1990s, the American Bible Society changed its constitution to make it a ministry that undertakes “Scripture engagement.” Previously the charter said the society published Bibles “without note or comment.”

Last year, the organization scuffled with a group of academics who protested the American Bible’s Society’s recently acquired .bible domain name because it excluded any group with a scholarly or secular orientation from using the internet network address. Its policies prohibit any content that “advocates belief in any religious or faith tradition other than orthodox Christianity or Judaism,” barring those critical of religious traditions or views considered unorthodox by ABS.

Since the introduction of the affirmation policy, the American Bible Society has also moved ahead with plans to open a $60 million museum on Independence Mall in Philadelphia on the ground floor of its headquarters. The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, which is slated to open next year, will “demonstrate how the Bible has changed those who changed America,” said Peterson.

Local Projects, the group that designed the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, is developing the interactive exhibits, which include five galleries and a 3D immersive theater.

“The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center invites visitors of all backgrounds to discover the relationship and role of faith and liberty in fostering core American values and to discover what these values mean for themselves,” Peterson wrote.

The museum is expected to draw 250,000 visitors annually.


Just a note from

A Long Tradition Of Gay Marriage

As churches struggle with the issue of homosexuality, a long tradition of same sex marriage indicates that the Christian attitude toward same sex unions may not always have been as "straight" as is now suggested. A Kiev art museum contains a curious icon from St. Catherine's monastery on Mt. Sinai. 
It shows two robed Christian saints. Between them is a traditional Roman pronubus (best man) overseeing what in a standard Roman icon would be the wedding of a husband and wife. In the icon, Christ is the pronubus. Only one thing is unusual. The husband and wife are in fact two men.
St. Serge and St. Bacchus

Is the icon suggesting that a
homosexual or same sex marriage 
is one sanctified by Christ?

The very idea seems initially shocking. The full answer comes from other sources about the two men featured, St. Serge and St. Bacchus, two Roman soldiers who became Christian martyrs.
While the pairing of saints, particularly in the early church, was not unusual, the association of these two men was regarded as particularly close. Severus of Antioch in the sixth century explained that "we should not separate in speech [Serge and Bacchus] who were joined in life." More bluntly, in the definitive 10th century Greek account of their lives, St. Serge is openly described as the "sweet companion and lover" of St. Bacchus.
In other words, it confirms what the earlier icon implies, that they were a homosexual couple who enjoyed a celebrated gay marriage. Their orientation and relationship was openly accepted by early Christian writers. Furthermore, in an image that to some modern Christian eyes might border on blasphemy, the icon has Christ himself as their pronubus, their best man overseeing their gay marriage.



June 26, 2018

It's Not Cake Nor Flowers But This Time is Walgreen's Pharmacist Refusing to Fill Rx Due To His Beliefs

A woman in Arizona made the brave choice this week, to make a very private loss — a miscarriage — into a public discussion, in the hopes that her story can save other women from what she went through at her local Walgreens. The pharmacist there refused to fill the prescription required to help her end her pregnancy, citing moral objections, even though her fetus no longer had a heartbeat.
Because of a previous miscarriage, her doctor was closely monitoring her, Nicole Arteaga explained on Facebook. But on Tuesday, two months into her pregnancy, he discovered there was no fetal development or heartbeat and said she could either have a surgical D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure at the hospital or take prescription medication at home to induce contractions. When she went to pick up her medication, the pharmacist refused to give it to her. “I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7-year-old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs,” Arteaga wrote. “I get it we all have our beliefs. But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over. He has no idea what it’s like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so. If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be.”
The prescription Arteaga was trying to fill was for Misoprostol, which is commonly used to terminate pregnancies, prepare the cervix for insertion of an IUD, or treat stomach ulcers. Pharmacists have been known to refuse to give women this medication, as well as prescriptions for over-the-counter emergency contraception pills, because of their anti-abortion beliefs.
Cosmopolitan writer Haley Potiker described the humiliating experience she had when trying to fill her Misoprostol prescription at a CVS in 2015. Her doctor had already administered a shot to terminate her pregnancy, and the medication was the next step she needed. Instead of refusing outright, the pharmacist said she needed to hear directly from her doctor.
“I started demanding my prescription back, which took a minute and eventually ended in tears,” Potiker recounted. “She finally tossed the slip of paper onto the counter and walked away without a word.”
Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota all have laws specifically allowing pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Other states have broader laws that allow health care providers to refuse certain types of services but prohibit them from preventing customers from accessing it elsewhere. And in California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin, pharmacies are required to provide patients with their prescribed medication.
At a Walgreens in New Mexico last year, a woman was trying to fill her daughter’s prescription for Misoprostol before she had an IUD inserted, and the pharmacist refused. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the mother and daughter are suing the pharmacy Religiouschain for violating their human rights under the state’s law, on the grounds that “Had (she) been a man with a valid prescription for the same medication, the prescription would have been filled.”


September 10, 2017

Trump's Justice Dept. Defending Anti Gay Baker in Court~Another Let Down for the LGBT Community



Focus Features’ historical drama about an interracial couple that found themselves at the center of a Supreme Court case, “Loving,” was recently No. 1 at the indie box office.




"A couple walks in a bakery. They are getting married and want something special, they heard this particular bakery is pretty good. The baker takes a look at them, put his order pad down and says "I can not bake you a cake!" The puzzled couple are perplexed and asked him,  why not? 
He looks at them with contempt and says "I don't bake, I don't do work for a biracial couple. It offends me and my beliefs of separation of the races. I followed the book of ________ and it forbids me to do work for some one who has broken their ethnicity and mixed their genes by getting married"

If this were to happen there is no question that the baker might even be arrested depending on what locality. What would be the difference between a biracial couple getting married and a gay couple? 40 Yrs ago in many parts of the South helping a biracial couple in their wedding would be one of the worse things a white baker could do, (He would have his business burnt to the ground).
Not today because the Supreme Court reversed itself and saw it as pure, simple discrimination by using faith or religion to do something that was wrong and illegal.

This is as simple as two same sex partners getting married or joining the service. It was going to be gloom and doom they said (Queen of the South as I call him Sen. Linsey Grahm said it more than once on ending DADT) but it's been years on both occurrences and straights still get married without a thought of how a gay couple's marriage might affect them and in the military gay service members have excelled themselves. Have not rape one single soldier, the same cannot be said of straight Marines and Navy Personnel as cases brought forward by enlisted and commission female soldiers have said in sworn testimony.

You would think the same would be true for refusing a gay couple service in a public, licensed establishment. But these people have not given up. May be it would take them to pass on and be replaced by newer generations and then everybody would ask, two water fountains one for whites and one for blacks or worse yet one saying for whites only and no water fountain for blacks n the vicinity? No cake for a couple getting married?? How low?~~~~~~~

NPR.org:

On the campaign trail last year, after a tragic attack on an Orlando nightclub left 49 people dead, Donald Trump went out of his way to thank the LGBT community, vowing to protect them from violence and tweeting, "I will fight for you."

Years earlier, in an interview with a magazine that reaches a large gay audience, Trump told The Advocate that he supported gay people serving in the military.

If he were in charge, Trump said in 2000, "sexual orientation would be meaningless. I'm looking for brains and experience. If the best person for the job happens to be gay, I would certainly appoint them."

Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are pointing to those remarks again this week after the Trump administration filed court papers siding with a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration because he said it would violate his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case this fall.
 
High Court To Hear Case Of Cake Shop That Refused To Bake For Same-Sex Wedding

"The Justice Department has already made its hostility to the rights of LGBT people and so many others crystal clear," said Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union. "But this brief was shocking, even for this administration. What the Trump administration is advocating for is nothing short of a constitutional right to discriminate."

To the Justice Department, however, the case known as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission turns on its analysis of the First Amendment, and the cake-maker's rights prevail.

"The government may not enact content-based laws commanding a speaker to engage in a protected expression: An artist cannot be forced to paint, a musician cannot be forced to play, and a poet cannot be forced to write," acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote in his court filing.

Public accommodations laws that bar discrimination by many businesses in Colorado and elsewhere serve an important purpose, but they, "like other laws, must yield to the individual freedoms that the First Amendment guarantees," according to a statement from Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam. "That includes the freedom not to create an expression for ceremonies that violate one's religious beliefs." 

Top Lawyer For Civil Rights At Justice Department Leaving After Roughly 6 Months
That point of view is backed by more than 80 congressional Republicans, who are filing their own brief with the Supreme Court. One of them, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, appeared at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday with the owner of the Colorado cake shop, Jack Phillips.

But for LGBT advocates, the Justice Department's stance in a dispute where gay rights clash with religious liberty marks the latest in a series of disappointments. 

In July, the president abruptly announced via Twitter that he wanted to bar transgender people from serving in the military, the apparently surprising top brass at the Pentagon. That same month, the Justice Department signed a court brief arguing that current anti-discrimination laws do not protect people on the basis of their sexual orientation in the workplace. In February, his administration revoked Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom and locker room access for transgender students. 

No One in National government is more homophobic and actively anti gay that vice president Trump elected, Mike Pence

"The brief filed yesterday is just the latest example of how Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Jeff Sessions have placed a target on the backs of LGBT people in order to score political points with a shrinking base of supporters, and, for Pence and Sessions in particular, to impose their religious views on the rest of the country," McGowan said.




February 20, 2014

The Old True and Tried Tactic of Religious Hardship


                                                                          


Wether you wear a white collar, blue collar or a religious collar if you discriminate people you are a bigot and a hater for equal rights for humans and civil liberties for the same.  What people sometimes don’t think about is that the worse discrimination in this country and the world,( but for the sake of argument we’ll just stay local) is been born and sustained with the milk of religious intolerance and deadly discrimination. 

The tactic of using religion which is supposed to be fair, wholly and equal in the site of god is been very successful. Everybody wants the right to believe and rally behind their religious believes.  It’s no surprise that the enemy of equality would use religion to close the door on just that, equality and fairness. You would think that the church (meaning any religion) would be the first one to defend the rights of individuals but the truth is that it is usually the last. 

How can this be? Simply because  the church is sustained by the contributions of the faithful. Without that there would be no church. So we come down to the lowest common denominator which is money. The church is going to be the last bastion of unfairness because it would need that most of it’s members to be on board as not to suffer from running the business’ and contributions belonging to the church. Fairness towards others for the church to start seeing the light starts with numbers and percentages.profit and loss statements.  That is why not even a pope that talks nicely about gays and lesbians  like Pope Francis has this in itself has no mechanism to make instant changes in the church. One day the pope says we should treat Gay and lesbians with love and the following week right from the vatican the archbishop from Uganda is calling for life in prison for just being gay.  If this was not so then when the current pope made all those positive statements about gays and lesbians and even about gay unions then voila! it would have happened. 

The truth being that the catholic church is less advanced on the gay union issue than protestant churches. As vocally negative that the protestant have been, there has also been a fast change in them. We already have many denominations of protestant churches marrying people even before it was legal under their states’ law. Why the discrepancy?

Volume of money. You have a world wide centuries old bureaucracy with a lot of money to collect to support all their endeavors which go well beyond churches. You have with them regular real state, education, nursing, health care, hospitals and even government. They are involved in every facet of our lives and government even though our constitution makes a separation line the actuality of it is that is an imaginary line that can violated at will by the church.  Whenever some politician or statesman should complaint about that line and that the church is violating it, then we get the voices saying we are committing the sin of not letting them practice, their real state, schools, hospitals, bakeries, factories, etc., etc. and religion.  All these busineneses for which they pay zero taxes to the government.  

The incredible thing is that they get away with it. Actually their nickel is beginning to stop dancing as well as it did; particularly when you come to gay rights. The same happened with slavery, women voters and the civil protections enacted under President Johnson and his great society dream along with MartinLuther King. It took many years, even after the civil war that blacks did not get many rights and most of the rights they gained they lost during reconstruction. But eventually their argument became mood and made no sense. I mean it never made sense but people’s perceptions change of what was fair. Once the majority of the people change their perception on any issue then the issue changes. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness never changes because is an ideal and a goal. But the perception of the people of wether they already have attained it for themselves and or everybody is based on those people’s perceptions and sense of fair play ( I call it the fair play du jour).

With court victories everywhere from Virginia to Utah, LGBT rights activists seem to be winning the fight over same-sex marriage. Yet even as same-sex couples celebrate hard-won victories, conservative activists in states all over the country are pushing back – sponsoring legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against same sex couples.

“This is a deliberate strategy as gay people are getting greater rights, to take away those rights and be able to discriminate,” says Eunice Rho of the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can have marriage, but you have no right to the privileges that come with that.”
Last week the Kansas Senate put the brakes on legislation previously passed by the state House that would have allowed businesses to refuse services or employment benefits if it would involve “the celebration of,” or that would “solemnize,” or treat “as valid” any “any marriage, domestic partnership,” or “civil union” that “would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.”
The bill would also allow individual government employees with such religious objections to refuse to provide government services–the Republican president of the state Senate, in expressing opposition to the bill, suggested that could include cops and firefighters. The government would still be required to find someone else to provide those services, but a private employer would only have to do so “if it can be done without undue hardship to the employer.”

The use of the phrase “sex or gender,” Rho warns, means that the letter of the law suggests even straight people whose marriages don’t conform to an individual’s religious beliefs could find themselves being discriminated against.
News of the Kansas bill has provoked a national outcry, but what’s happening there is not unique. Similar proposals, not all as broad as the one in Kansas, have been put forth or are being considered in other states, includingOregonTennesseeOhioArizonaIdaho,NevadaUtah and South Dakota. The language of Oregon’s proposed ballot initiative, for example, is limited to wedding celebrations, while the Tennessee bill is almost identical to the one in Kansas. 

“We think it’s overly broad, and encourages a variety of businesses and service providers to discriminate against married same-sex couples,” Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project said of the bill proposed in that state. “That’s why we call it the ‘Turn the Gays Away’ bill.” That bill waseffectively killed Tuesday afternoon, days after losing a crucial Republican sponsor. 
With public opinion swiftly moving in favor of allowing same-sex couples to get married, conservative activists have refocused their efforts on enshrining or bolstering exceptions to anti-discrimination law when it comes to religious belief and sexual orientation. They see the issue as one of religious freedom, protecting believers’ right not to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies or celebrations, and not to be forced by the state into doing so. Crucially, they believe that as far as services are concerned, proposals like the Kansas legislation are narrowly tailored to allow individuals not to participate in events related to same-sex unions if they have religious objections.
“It would apply not to all public accommodations, but only those involved in celebration of a marriage or domestic partnership/civil union, and it would carve out an exception for those who have sincerely held religious objections,” said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh of the Kansas legislation. “It would be limited to situations where there’s a solemnization of the marriage, the actual ceremony, or the celebration, presumably the reception to honor the marriage as such.”

LGBT rights activists however, say the Kansas bill as written, and many of its counterparts in other states would go much further, allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians in all spheres of public life. The distinction is important, because it’s the difference between the law stating that a photographer or caterer can refuse to take pictures of or provide food for a same-sex wedding (which LGBT rights supporters also find objectionable) and say, a restaurant refusing to serve a same-sex couple. An exemption for churches and other religious institutions is one thing–businesses that want to participate in the public marketplace shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate. 

LGBT rights supporters point to a phrase in the Kansas legislation that states individuals can refuse to provide services “related to, or related to the celebration of,” same-sex marriages in the proposal. If the drafters simply meant to allow discrimination in services related to weddings or wedding celebrations, they say, the first “related to,” which appears to refer to the unions themselves and not the ceremony or celebration, wouldn’t be necessary.

“I think you can read these laws broadly to allow discrimination in places of public accommodation,” said Caroline Mala Corbin, a law professor at the University of Miami.
In the case of the Kansas legislation, an employer could also deny an employee with a same-sex spouse benefits meant for married couples based on the employer’s religious beliefs, unless federal law says otherwise. In states like Kansas, which don’t have statewide laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by private employers, LGBT rights activists fear these proposals will allow gays and lesbians to be treated as second-class citizens.

Proposals similar to the one in Kansas have been advanced by national and state-based conservative organizations. As Al Jazeera reportedin Arizona, Idaho and Tennessee, the legislation is being backed by affiliates of the DC based group Focus on the Family, the religious right organization founded by James Dobson. Another, the American Religious Freedom Program, helped craft the bill in Kansas. The American Religious Freedom Program is part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a DC based think tank run by Edward Whelan, a former Reagan administration official who writes on legal affairs for the conservative magazine National Review.

Conservative activists  insist they are not trying to recreate a system of old timey discrimination along the lines of sexual orientation.
“The core purpose is to protect clergy, faith communities, individuals from being compelled by law or government to participate in a wedding ceremony,” Brian Walsh, executive director of the American Religious Freedom Program, said of the religious freedom bills. “I just don’t know anybody influential in the religious freedom arena who thinks that you should giving people some type of pocket veto not to provide services to people based on their sexual orientation in general public accommodations.”

While conservative activists frame the debate as one of potential state coercion of religious believers, the truth is that government is involved either way–either in enforcing anti-discrimination laws or in laws that would protect religious believers who don’t want to provide services or employment benefits to same-sex couples. This is about more than just gay and lesbian rights. As with the lawsuit against the Obama administration’s mandate that insurance companies cover birth control, it’s just the latest chapter in a crucial debate over which freedoms we want to protect.

“These religious objections have existed for decades if not longer, there were religious objections to civil rights laws in the 60s, there were religious objections to equal pay for women,” says Rho. “This is not a new tactic.”
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher
and  Adam Serwer from MSNBC

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