Firing Atheists

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There was a story in the news recently where someone was allegedly fired for being an atheist.

I can understand -- and agree with -- people who find that to be distasteful. But this was a private business. As best I can tell, the First Amendment guarantees us the right to discriminate against other people's views, through the implied right to free association.

As the Court has put it, "the freedom to join together in furtherance of common political beliefs ... necessarily presupposes the freedom to identify the people who constitute the association, and to limit the association to those people only." And of course, there is absolutely no reason why I cannot consider my business as an association to further my political beliefs, even if it is merely an auto body shop or a farm.

As such, I fully support the right to fire atheists, and anyone else, for any reason, with two exceptions: women, and ethnic minorities. I hope someday even those antidiscrimination laws will be unnecessary, but given our history of institutionalized discrimination, I believe such policies are good ones, for at least another generation or so. But firing atheists? Christians? Muslims? Jews? Fatties? Gays? Straights? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I believe firmly that is your civil right.

If you're not convinced ... well, wouldn't you want to be able to fire people like this, the fun-filled folks from God Hates Fags? (Their Bush is a Fag Pimp movie is particularly inspired, and God Hates the World is indistinguishable from parody.) I sure would want to fire them. And don't tell me "well, that's just firing people not for their religion, but how they express it, or because they are hateful, or intolerant": that's just shifting an arbitrary line. I could say (but wouldn't, as I don't think it is true) that Muslims are inherently intolerant, or that atheists are not smart enough to see the truth. It's entirely subjective at that point.

There's no reasonable legal guideline to follow for what beliefs are good or bad: so, either you can fire people because of their religious beliefs, or you can't. And if you can't, then you can be forced to hire people who think "God Hates Fags" and that the Creator is bringing judgment upon us all for allowing gays to freely walk among us.

While I am on the subject of gays and workplace discrimination, Congress is working on a bill to ban workplace discrimination of people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. I am absolutely against this, mostly for the reason I mentioned above. The only reason I support protection for women and minorities is because of our long national history of institutionalized discrimination, and for another generation or two, I strongly believe that this is an effective way to help combat the social problems created by that discrimination. I see no such justification for antidiscrimination laws for gays, fatties, or even people of alternative religious beliefs. As such, I cannot support such restrictions on our First Amendment liberties.

I don't like the idea of firing because of religion or sexual orientation. Other than working at an explicitly religious or political institution, I would never fire (or not-hire) someone merely because of their religious, cultural, or political views. Indeed, I know many atheists and gays and others whom I would hire in a second if I had the opportunity. But I dislike more the idea that the government would dare tell us we are not allowed to fire because of religion, because that is a simple and clear violation of our civil liberties. This country is plenty big: go somewhere else.

Yes, it sucks. I would hate to be fired from my job because of my political or religious views. And I would likely be quite angry at the company for it. But it's not the government's place to tell them they can't do it. The First Amendment prohibits it.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on May 8, 2007 1:18 PM.

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