RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATION GONE NUTS?
Maybe a better title for this post would be “One Small Step for a Catholic, One Giant Leap for Catholicism.” EEOC just reported that the VA excused an employee from attending a simple training program on LGBTQ cultural awareness. The employee said that even being in a room where tolerance for needy, sick and wounded gay veterans was to be discussed clashed head on with his Catholic faith. (Check out Kendall C. v. VA, EEOC No. 2019004162 (2019)).
The fact that VA did not fire him on the spot is a win for intolerance, if not hate, for that one Catholic. (Of course, very soon the four conservative Catholics on the Supreme Court will be able to enforce their faith’s alleged contempt for the LGBTQ community, among others, by ruling that they have no protection from discrimination. That will be the giant leap for Catholicism and the other evangelicals whose god allegedly has commanded them to be bigots. At that point, this religious group will be able to call the LGBTQ folks hurtful names, post lists and pictures of them so everyone will know who they are, and even fire them without any penalty. Bigots will even be able to advertise someone is gay without any proof that the person is gay. Senator McCarthy would be so proud.)
What seems odd about this employee’s contempt for the sick veterans who do not share his personal view of sexuality is that the Catholic’s Pope has taken precisely the opposite position toward the LGBTQ community. Apparently, the VA does not demand one hold a position consistent with the faith behind which they are hiding.
It is disappointing that the VA granted this employee his religious accommodation. (Actually, it is way more than disappointing.) From what we can gather from the case his core issue was being in the same room with LGBT speakers/instructors. He was willing to take the course online, presumably because of the zero likelihood an online course would require him likely touching a LGBT person. But VA’s decision is not surprising given who runs government these days nor the implicit endorsement of intolerance and hate that they brought with them.
Perhaps next week we will read about a Jewish VA staffer refusing to assist uncircumcised veterans, or a USBCSA Shaker refusing to help a veteran who practices intercourse, or a Sihk employee declining to work on a veteran who cuts his hair, or a devout Aghori staffer asking permission to eat parts of any veteran’s corpse who dies on the VA premises. Returning to the medieval practice of letting religion control our government and society is going to be a real eye-opener.