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Another Group That Wants It Both Ways
2005.03.12 (Sat) 17:47
It seems that the Salvation Army wants to have their discriminatory cake and eat it too. As reported via the Wall of Separation (the blog of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State):
In 2003, more than a dozen workers at the Salvation Army in New York City filed a lawsuit against the group's new practice of discriminating on the basis of religion....
The workers are challenging attempts by the Salvation Army to require employees to divulge information about their faiths, including the churches they attend and their religious leaders. This hostility to minority religions was accompanied by a change to the mission statement. All job postings and job descriptions now state that the top goal of the social welfare operation is "to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination." The previous mission statement was "to empower each person who enters our doors to live with dignity and hope," and contained no religious references, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Protections against discrimination were removed from the handbook and an effort was made to compile a list of homosexual employees.
Instead of denying the charges, the Salvation Army has defended itself as a religious organization.
The Salvation Army has decided to clearly declare themselves to be a religious organization. As such, they can choose to disallow non-Christian members, and people who do "non-Christian" things (like the homosexuals they are now conducting a witch hunt to find).
While we think this is incredibly narrow-minded and discriminatory, and while this certainly means that we wouldn't give as much as a penny to the Salvation Army, our bottom line is that they are allowed to do this. They can have their discriminatory cake.
But here comes the "eat it, too" bit.
[The Salvation Army is] claiming exemption from civil rights laws even though they are heavily funded by tax dollars and some clients are required to use their services by court order.
And there's the foul. We've said it about the Boy Scouts, and we'll say it about the Salvation Army; if you want to be a religious group and get the "benefit" of being exempt from certain civil rights laws, then you no longer have any claim to public funding. Period.
Of course, like the issue with the Boy Scouts, it seems that the government does not agree with this common sense issue:
As in many civil rights cases, attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights division joined the case. Oddly enough, they joined in support of the Salvation Army instead of the employees accusing the group of discrimination.
There are a lot of issues lately in which the "official" position of the United States has caused us to be embarrassed by our government. "We" have lobbied in the United Nations against all forms of human cloning (including therapeutic cloning), and "we" have tried to get the rest of the world to agree that abortion is wrong. Internally, "we" have sided with government display of the Ten Commandments, and this is just one more example of how our government continues to ignore common sense in order to further religious dogma.
Sometimes it's hard to understand why more people don't recognize these obvious issues.
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[ Filed under: % Bush Watch % Civil Liberties % Government & Politics % Religion ]
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