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Religious Discrimination in Oklahoma City

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by Kingarthurhk, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

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  2. AKRover

    AKRover 10MM Fanatic

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    I saw this and it's an outrage. However, this kind of thing happens because as Christians we tend to turn the other cheek instead of standing up for ourselves. This is as much religious discrimination as it would be to tell a Muslim they can't pray in accordance with their religion. Captain Fields needs to stand up for the rights of all Christians. If we don't stand up this is exactly what happens.

    Captain Fields deserves to be commended for standing up for his beliefs.
     


  3. High-Gear

    High-Gear

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    How is this a problem? Our State requires diversity training. I've had to have training with Jews, Muslims, Hindu's, and other cultural groups. No one said he had to convert, just represent the agency as a professional. I am required to attend community events where there is an invocation, should I be able to refuse because I couldn't tell the Christians they were wrong? When in uniform I am required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, even though I object to the "under god" section, however I do it because I am representing my agency! Should soldiers be able to protest such things? No? Then neither should this officer.

    I think he took a stand for the wrong thing, refused a direct order, set a poor example for his subordinates, and will have to pay the price.
     
  4. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Not Enough Gun

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    The nature and venue of the event seem like they should be the determining factor in this instance. The defense that he wouldn't be allowed to proselytize is stupid, unless he is able to do so in the normal course of his duties. If he can't witness to someone while giving them a traffic ticket, and has no objection to that, then his objection here doesn't seem to hold much weight.

    On the other hand, if the event does have a religious nature and is taking place at a mosque, requiring attendances smacks of government endorsement and that's clearly forbidden. If it is a "meet the community" sort of thing, there's doesn't seem to be anywhere near as much an issue. Unfortunately, the article in the OP doesn't really make it clear what was involved.

    Edited to add: I missed it, but the article does make clear what was included. From the article, "a promotional flier for the event cited in the suit states the event would include meetings with Muslim community leaders, a tour of the center's mosque, talks on Islam, as well as a 45-minute prayer service." In my mind, that last part makes the event impermissible as a required activity for a government employee.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  5. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

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    Sorry, I agree with Animal on this one. No government employee, or anyone for that matter, should be compelled to attend a worship service. They were to be taught about Islam, and then subjected to a 45 minute prayer service. This is clearly a First Amendment violation. This is the state colluding with religion by forcing people to attend a religious service. This is the sort of thing that has led to attrocities throughout history. Once the state puts itself in the business of religon, it has crossed the line.

    I suspect you would find it equally rephrensible if your employer demanded you attend a Bapttis Church, and particpate in the worship services. Worse yet, when you have government entity acting under the color of law.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  6. High-Gear

    High-Gear

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    I don't think they were being required to participate in the prayer service, just observe. I have been required to attend religious services. As a member of the department honor guard I routinely attended funerals where there was plenty of prayer. I have been required to attend other civic events where there has been an invocation. I have been required to attend a Boy Scout meeting and make a presentation, even though that group openly discriminates against atheists.

    There is a huge difference in attending an event as an observer so one can learn about a groups culture, and learn about the building should there be an active shooter event (like in WI) and being forced to participate in the religious service.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  7. AlexHassin

    AlexHassin

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    what does this guy never runs across non christians other times on duty? does he normaly proselytize?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  8. Woofie

    Woofie Disirregardless CLM

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    The captain should have quit his job long ago. The people he arrested throughout his career were not fine upstanding citizens subscribing to "his" faith. Did he get to preach to them while in uniform?
     
  9. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    Actually, I'm with the captain on this one. As an atheist, I would not have wanted to be forced to attend a religious service as well (be it muslim, christian, catholic, whatever) in an official capacity.
     
  10. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    To be fair, the captian stated that he did not have a problem going in to a mosque if it had been in response to a call for help or to perform an investigation or similar official police duties. This was just a poorly executed attempt at public relations. I would have objected to being forced to attend a muslim service as an athiest as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  11. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

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    I, also, must come down on the side of the Captain, as long as active participation was required. I would dig in my heels like a stubborn old mule at being forced to participate in any worship service.

    If all that was required was attendance, and not participation, the waters become a bit muddy, I've attended weddings, funerals and several church functions in support of friends without participating in the actual rituals.

    His argument that " I have a duty to proselytize my faith to people (who) don't subscribe to my faith. I can't do that in uniform. And so therein lies the conflict or moral dilemma I face." is just so many buffalo bagels. He can't proselytize his faith while representing the PD at any time so why would an official function be any different?
     
  12. Woofie

    Woofie Disirregardless CLM

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    I'm at work and don't have time to read through too thoroughly, but was the captain being required to participate in religious services or just to be present at the event? If the department expected him to participate then I agree with you.

    But I didn't notice anywhere that it was stated he had to pray with them;it sounds like they just wanted a police presence for the event. Attending "Law Enforcement Appreciation Day" at a mosque no more invites a religious discussion than it does when one of our more prominent local churches holds the "Night Out Against Crime" and the police show up to show the kids and old people that cops are the good guys.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  13. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    As a former christian, I do understand the principle that the captain was trying to express (admittedly poorly). His religous faith would require him to not give the appearance of condoning any other religion. Simply attending a muslim prayer service could be construed as an implicit endorsement. So, yes, I feel he was within his rights to decline. Although, perhaps not quite for the same reasons as he articulated.

    As a current atheist, I would have had a problem with it as well. It's one thing if I choose to attend a wedding or funeral that contains religious components on my own time. That's my choice to make, but to be required to attend an actual service as part of my duties? I can't imagine that going over to well with any other profession. The only reason it is not as clear cut here is the obvious public relations aspect to police work, but that does not negate the individual rights of this police captain.

    Asking for volunteers was appropriate. Changing it to a mandatory requirement when no one volunteered was highly inappropriate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  14. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

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    I dunno Gecko, my job requires me to attend certain functions and groups that are very religious in nature, an example is funerals. When an inmates close relative dies, he may be granted a furlough to attend the service, two security staff must accompany him during the entirety of the time he is absent from the facility.

    Another example, since I work at a drug and alcohol treatment program and they use many methods of helping these inmates, including AA's dependance on a "higher power" I am confronted by all denominations of Christianity and various other religions from paganism to Satanism on a daily basis. Sometimes I am required to attend these services in my capacity as a security officer. Since I am not forced to participate, and no one in authority has ever ordered me to either "find God" or be silent about my Atheism (I do that willingly, since I think stating my objections to religion would undermine the good work the facility does) I do not feel that my rights have been violated.
     
  15. Woofie

    Woofie Disirregardless CLM

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    I understand that the captain didn't want ot be there, but I can't see how his rights were violated if he wasn't required to participate in the service. He can't preach while on duty anyway, so his location is irrelevant. If he were required to work an event at a church, he still couldn't spread his faith.

    Does the department attend functions at the request of other groups? If so the mosque has every right to have that same courtesy extended to them. If no one volunteers, then someone has to be voluntold or the department and city are left open to legitimate discrimination lawsuits.

    The thing is, the captain wasn't even required to be there personally. He refused to delegate the task to a supervisor and officers, and it sounds like that's where he got in trouble.
     
  16. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    Yeah, but these things go well beyond actively preaching. His location is not irrelevant. His presence gives the implication that he condones islam. Clearly, he doesn't. It's not quite the reason he cited, but I can see a valid argument from a christian worldview as to why he would not want to do this on religious grounds. Would you require a hindu to attend a function at a beef slaughterhouse? Would you expect a jew to attend a service in a mosque or a muslim in a synagogue?

    This is a very good point. Which is why the best thing for the department to do is to politely decline all invitations to any religious facility. Secular events only would be the best for all involved. "Voluntold"ing leaves the dept and the city to EEOC action and hostile work environment lawsuits.

    Well, I actually admire him for not requiring someone else to do something that he himself was not willing to do. I don't agree with his religious beliefs, but at least he's not a hypocrite.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  17. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    Context is everything. In the example you cite, you would clearly be there to guard the prisoner. In the captain's instance above, the context was that his presence was an implicit endorsement of the actual event.

    Again, that's you in your official capacity. The captain clearly stated that if he was responding to a call or performing some other typical official duty as a police officer then he would not have an issue entering a mosque.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  18. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

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    In this context and in his own words he was being compelled to attend, not participate:


    If my understanding is correct, he would not be forced to participate, only attend what would be considered an official function in his capacity as a high ranking officer.

    IMHO that's the same context as what I am required to do.

    In his own words his problem wasn't that he was required to attend, his problem is he wants to "proselytize" his faith and he can't do that "while in uniform". I have to ask, whats the difference in not being able to do that at a Mosque, and not being able to do that at a traffic stop, or a crime scene?

    If not being able to proselytize in uniform is such a moral dilemma for him, he should never have put it on.
     
  19. High-Gear

    High-Gear

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    Gecko,

    Ive been required to provide security for the Phelps clan. My presence in no way endorses their views. It is my duty.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  20. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    Keep in mind, I'm only playing devil's advocate here (kinda ironic actually). It might be a fine line, but knowing what I do about the christian worldview (having held it so long myself) I can see why he fealt the distinction was an important one. And, in an EEOC action it's his perception of being compelled to violate his religious beliefs that will matter in the end.

    Well, I already said that he did not phrase his objection well, but I think what he meant is that his required silence (and the absence of any other official reason for him to be there) would constitute an implicit endorsement and christian teachnigs are clear that you should never leave doubt where you stand when confronted with a dilemna like that.

    I would say it would be the reason why he was there. Being present to investigate a crime would not carry any sort of implicit endorsement of the location in which the crime took place (e.g. a mosque). Everyone would know why you were there and that it was unrelated to your personal beliefs. Same with a vehicle accident. If you're investigating why the mosque bus hit a telephone pole, nobody is going to be left with the impression that you endorse islam.

    If you are sitting in a muslim prayer service doing nothing else other than participating in a "police appreciation" ceremony (even if you skip the religious components) then I can see how that would leave others with the impression that you endorsed that event. And his religious beliefs would be to never leave that sort of doubt present.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012