Let’s Talk Religion

I’ve been watching the story of the county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to give marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Kim Davis has been heralded by the right as the poster child of religious freedom. This week, both Senator Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, two presidential candidates, headed to the jail in Kentucky where Davis was being held for refusing to do the work that the people of her county had elected her to do. She was released later and headed back to the office today.

It was also reported this week that a flight attendant, who has recently adopted the Muslim faith (yes, that is an entirely different story in and of itself, but do stay focused), is suing her employer. She has been fired for refusing to serve alcoholic beverages, since it defies her religious beliefs. Islam prohibits the use of any alcohol by practicing Muslims. Charee Stanley began working for ExpressJet three years ago and converted to Islam two years ago. It was not until this year that she claims to have learned that even serving alcohol is prohibited. The airline did try to make accommodations for Ms. Stanley. For a time, when a passenger requested alcohol, Ms. Stanley simply asked another flight attendant to make the transaction. It’s difficult to imagine that this was ever a problem. So then, one must ask, why did the airline suddenly fire Ms. Stanley? I suspect that there is more to this story than has been reported.

For the sake of clarification, I am absolutely opposed to homosexual marriage. When one understands the very definition and purpose of marriage, it becomes resoundingly apparent that this institution can only involve one man and one woman. The very idea of a homosexual relationship is abhorrent in my mind. While I am clarifying matters, I’ll confess that I do enjoy the occasional adult beverage. Finally, I do practice the Christian faith, but I do it just as badly as you do. Jesus is in heaven, you’re not him, and neither am I. With those points brought to light and my position fully disclosed, let me explain why both Mrs. Davis and Ms. Stanley are wrong.

The First Amendment to The Constitution provides an absolute guarantee of our God-given right of the freedom to worship God, or not, however we choose. The people of the United States are guaranteed the protection to attend worship services, to share their faith with others, to pray in public, and every other thing that has to do with their faith – so long as it does not violate the rights of others. In the USA, you can be a Druid and worship trees if you like. However, your freedom of your religious practice ends when you start worshiping the tree that I’m about to cut down for firewood. What “freedom of religion” does not allow is for you to force me to submit to your religious beliefs.

This explains why Charee Stanley needs to resign from her job. She understood when she was initially hired that one of the job requirements would be to serve alcohol to passengers. Just because she practices Islam does not give her the authority to force me to submit to her beliefs. If I want a Bloody Mary and she is unwilling to serve it to me, then she needs to find employment somewhere in which she will feel comfortable complying with all of the requirements of the job.

If a job requires that you do something you are not willing to do, why would you work for that employer? I’m opposed to publicly dancing in the nude, so I’m not going to work at the local strip club. I don’t think that marijuana should be legal, so if I find myself in Colorado and in need of a job, I won’t submit myself to a job in which I would have to sell the drug. This does not give me a right to sue either the strip club or the marijuana dealer. If you can’t meet the requirements set forth by the employer, for whatever reason, look elsewhere for employment. This is not a difficult concept to grasp. Ms. Stanley does not want to violate her Islamic religious beliefs by serving alcohol. Perhaps she should work as a ticket agent.

Kim Davis, as a government employee elected by the people, has been “hired” by the people to do a job with specific duties. How she feels about those duties should have been considered before she applied for the job. While there is no law requiring that Davis give out marriage licenses to homosexual couples (the Supreme Court does not legislate, they only offer their opinions on legislation), she has been hired to do the job of providing those licenses for people who request and pay for them. While Mrs. Davis’ situation is slightly different because it is a government job, the premise is the same.

So many conservatives, both Christian and non-Christian, have quickly ascertained that Ms. Stanley has no legal standing. Her Islamic beliefs should not be forced onto others. Why don’t those same conservatives also recognize that Mrs. Davis also has no standing and should not be permitted to deny a marriage license to anyone who meets the necessary requirements? Why is it not permissible for Mrs. Stanley to deny alcoholic beverages, while it is both permissible and lauded for Mrs. Davis to deny marriage licenses to gay couples?

The saddest part of this debacle? I honestly wish that our Supreme Court would have kept their stupid opinion to themselves.

~Temerity Dowell

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