Patterico's Pontifications

12/15/2010

Unreasonable Requests For Religious Accommodation

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:02 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Now let me start by saying that in my life I have faced discrimination.  It pisses me off, then, when others are subjected to it.  I support fully laws like the ADA and certainly the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  I even support the notion that employers and government entities should be required to provide reasonable accommodation to the religious practices of employees, as required by law.

But some applications of this principle are ridiculous.  Let’s start with this example:

The menu selection at Theo Lacy [Jail] apparently didn’t please [Malcom] King, 38, when he was booked into the jail on drug charges in April.

They serve salami there. And that didn’t quite fit in with the fitness buff/gym clothes model’s lifestyle.

So King, who is also suspected of being in the country illegally from Liberia, asked for kosher meals.

That was not because of his religion, but because they were healthier – and the 5-foot, 8-inch, 180-pound King wanted double portions to maintain his physique, said his attorney, Fred Thiagarajah.

Judge Derek G. Johnson signed off on the high-protein double-portion kosher meals for King.

That didn’t sit well with the Sheriff’s Department – which pays for the food. Kosher meals are more expensive than the regular jail fare – and are reserved for those with a religious need.

The Sheriff’s Department interviewed King about his religious leanings in May. When asked what his religion was, he answered “Healthism.”

“He’s healthy so he said health and added an ‘ism,’” said Thiagarajah, who acknowledged to the county and a judge and to The Watchdog that it was a farce.

You get that?  This man, who was convicted of drug possession is a health nut.  Hey, if you want to stay healthy, why don’t you quit the drugs?

Oh, but it gets better:

Judge Johnson pulled King’s lawyer and the prosecutor aside and said he needed a religion to put down on the order to make it stick, explained Thiagarajah.

“I said Festivus,” said Thiagarajah. The order was granted – three non-salami meals a day.

Now a less risible case comes from the Department of Justice yesterday, which announced that it filed suit against the Berkeley (Illinois) School District for religious discrimination against a Muslim woman.  You can read the complaint here, via Volokh.

You see Safoorah Khan asked to take off time to perform the Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime trek to Mecca required by her faith.  So from the complaint:

By letter dated August 19,2008 and addressed to Dr. Joseph Palermo (“Dr. Palermo”), then Superintendent of Berkeley School District, Ms. Khan requested an unpaid leave of absence from December 1, 2008 to December 19, 2008 to perform Hajj, a pilgrimage required by her religion, Islam.

The school refused and she quit.  And now the DOJ is suing, asserting that this is discrimination, on her behalf.

(more…)

“God Was Standing in Front of Me”–Real Life Heroism at a Florida School Board Meeting (Update: Ginger Littleton Speaks)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:42 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

The video is a stunning, white knuckle real-life hostage drama.  I will try to get the video posted here later, but I suggest you go to The Blaze for now and watch it there.  What you will see is some real life heroism.

First the background:

A disgruntled 56-year-old man took over a Florida Board of Education meeting Tuesday, threatening members with a gun because his wife had recently been fired from the district.

Local station, WMBB News 13 in Panama City caught the entire incident on tape. With cameras rolling, the man, identified as Clay A. Duke, began his rampage by spray-painting a wall with the letter ‘V’ inside a circle, a symbolic reference to the move ‘V for Vendetta.’

Let me break in there.  Rampage isn’t, at least initially, the right word.  It was more like a hostage situation.  I mean look at the video yourself and tell me if you call it a rampage.

Attendees watched in shock as Duke pulled out a gun and ordered everyone except for board members to leave the room.

At one point a woman approached Duke from behind and tried unsuccessfully to disarm him with her purse.

As board members tried to talk him down, Duke ranted, saying “We’re broke” and “I’m going to die,” before opening fire and narrowly missing the district superintendent, Bill Husfelt.

Moments later Duke engaged in a shootout with security guard Mike Jones, and was shot once. Wounded, he turned the gun on himself and took his own life.

The first hero in this is Ginger Littleton, a woman who decided to sneak behind the man and smack him on the head with her purse.  I mean, it was not wise to attack a man with a gun so weakly, but it was certainly brave and more than a little scary to see it go wrong.  And I would be remiss not to point out that if Ginger had been carrying a gun, she might have ended the entire situation right then and there.  That should be remembered when someone screams that this incident justifies gun control.

The second hero, meanwhile, is Superintendent Husfelt.  That isn’t mentioned much in the coverage I have seen so far, but watch the video and just before the shooting starts, he says to the man that since he signed the forms firing his wife, his beef was with him and reasoning that therefore Mr. Duke should let everyone else go and just kill him.  And when Duke starts shooting, he is clearly aiming at Mr. Husfelt.  Indeed, when I first saw the video, I thought he was actually shot when the gunfire started.

And finally the security guard who shot Duke is a hero, too.  From the Blaze article:

In this video, you’ll see Superintendent Bill Husfelt consoling Mike Jones, the safety officer who shot the gunman, now identified as Clay Allen Duke.

Jones was not injured by any gunfire, but was taken to Bay Medical Center with chest pains. He is listed in stable condition.

And if you watch the video they are referring to you will see that Jones is actually pretty upset about the whole thing.  Speedy recovery, sir.

Finally, my instinct is to leave politics out of a thing like this.  But you might remember this the next time the left tries to use the violence occasionally committed on the right against as proof of the illegitimacy of conservative ideas.  Check out his facebook page.  He complains about how the rich screw the poor, has pictures from V For Vendetta and even links to media matters and indymedia.  All of which doesn’t prove anything about the left, except that you can find violent idiots on all points in the political spectrum.

Update: The superintendant thanks God for saving him.  No kidding, dude:

The Bay City Schools superintendent who calmly confronted the gunman who threatened to shoot him during the meeting said God protected him when Clay A. Duke opened fire

“It could have been a monumental tragedy,” Superintendent Bill Husfelt said late Tuesday, wearing a sweat shirt and pajama bottoms, surrounded by his family. With a Christmas tree as backdrop, he said, “God was standing in front of me and I will go to my grave believing that.”

It is probably uniquely meaningful to him now to be celebrating Christmas.

And we hear from Ginger Littleton:

Before he started shooting, member Ginger Littleton, who had left the room as ordered, sneaks up behind Duke as he stands next to the long, beige desk where the board was sitting and whacks him on the arm with her large, brown purse made of an alligator-like material.

“In my mind, that was the last attempt or opportunity to divert him,” she told The Associated Press.

Duke, a large, heavyset man, got angry, turned around, and she fell to the floor and board members pleaded with her to stop. Duke pointed the gun at her head and said, “You stupid b—-” but he didn’t shoot her, she said. She’s not sure why.

“He had every opportunity to take me out,” she said.

You also learn that the hero security guard, Jones, used to be a police officer, but had never shot anyone before.

You can see more of the event in this coverage from Cnn, highlighting when he painted the “V for Vendetta” symbol on the wall, and a better view of Ms. Littleton’s heroism.  And you can see a fuller version of the moment he began shooting to just about the end, here.  Mind you, in case you are worried you are about to see a snuff film, it doesn’t go that far.  What you see is that the man starts shooting all around at the school board, and then is apparently shot, and collapses.  But you do not see him kill himself moments later.  And there is no blood that I saw, even from the gunman’s wounds.  It is not graphic, just scary, especially because it was real.  And I think it is worth watching because when you see it,  it makes the superintendant’s claim of divine intervention really plausible.  It’s not impossible to be that bad a shot, but it is still pretty amazing that out of seven shots, all of them missed.

And please note the updated title.

Update (II): In the comments I was reminded of the heroism displayed at Ft. Hood.  You can read what I wrote about it, here.  The money quote:

From the missed warning signs to this gun-free idiocy, it is clear that our military bureaucracy failed those soldiers in Ft. Hood, not only failing to protect them but positively impairing their ability to protect themselves.  Their heroism is an indictment on that bureaucracy.

It still makes my blood boil to know that those soldiers would have been better able to protect themselves in downtown Ft. Worth, than at Ft. Hood.

Update (III): Ginger Littleton speaks to Fox and Friends in this video.  Its more than a little awkward toward the beginning, but she losens up toward the end.  The money quote?  When discussing when her attempt to stop the gunman failed, and he called her a “stupid bitch” she says:

At that moment, believe it or not, I thought that was probably a pretty accurate accounting of me right this minute. Because I had a plan A, which failed, but I didn’t have a plan B.

And she is a member of the school board, which begs the question of why he spared her but tried to murder everyone else on the board.  When asked why she thinks she was spared, she gives the obvious answer.  Because she is a woman.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Is It Wrong to Joke?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:07 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Now, first, this example of vigilantism is just plain wrong.  But my personal question is, is it wrong to joke about it?

But let me give you the background.  A father in Germany learns his seventeen year old daughter is dating a fifty-seven year old man and… well, let’s let the UK’s Metro explain:

German dad castrates daughter’s boyfriend with bread knife

After learning that his 17-year-old daughter was having a relationship with the older man, Seifert went to the town of Bielefeld to speak to the police.

Having learnt that they were powerless to help him, the enraged father decided to take matters into his own hands.

Police said: ‘The man recruited two work colleagues at his factory and then went to the house of the victim.

‘The man was forced to remove his trousers and, fully conscious, he was castrated. The severed testicles were taken away by the perpetrator.’

So I am sure Patterico would not approve of this kind of misconduct, because it is taking the law into your own hands.  And I agree.  But I couldn’t help but think, “if they ever let this man out…  do you think we could give him Roman Polanski’s home address?”

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


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