Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Corporate America's Attack on Religious Values, Again and Again and Again

By Mitchell

Some days you just don't feel like writing much, and you wonder just where you're going to come up with an idea that'll get you to the keyboard. And then you open up the paper, and voila! there it is.

So after a long day at work I take a look at this week's edition of The Wanderer, and on page 3 there's yet another article about Corporate America's attack on moral values. This time it's the case of a computer technician for an unnamed employer in Orange County, California, who was reprimanded and demoted for having the temerity to have a bumper sticker on his car that reads, "Marriage = man + woman."

The employee's crime, according to his employer, was that the message was "offensive." This even though in the office, employees are allowed to have "personal, religious, and even political messages in their cubicles." And though he removed the bumper sticker, he was still reprimanded and demoted.

Thank God the employee got in touch with the Pacific Justice Institute, and affiliate attorney Laurie Messerly, who agreed to take his case. PJI "informed the employer that it was violating federal and state law and attempted to resolve the situation peacefully, but the employer refused to budge from its discriminatory position, and continues to ban the employee's pro-marriage message." [I'd imagine their answer was pretty haughty, as well.] Therefore, the case is going to court.

Now, if this employer worked for, say, the ABC Company, and had a bumper sticker that read "ABC Company Sucks," I might understand the company's viewpoint. But what stinking business is it of them what this employee has on his car? Why should they have this kind of control over what is essentially the personal life of the employee? I don't know how many different ways to talk about this, folks - it's the arrogance, the unmitigated gall of these tin-plated dictators who think they can run people's lives whenever they want. This is an issue that obviously has no effect whatsoever on the way the company does business. It's hardly what a rational person could consider "threatening." I'd be interested to know if the company would take a similar position against an employee with a bumper sticker that said, "Gays Are People, Too." You think?

I guess the real problem I have with this company, like so many arrogant companies in Corporate America, is that they've passed beyond the point of neutrality. Companies like to say they don't take sides, that all viewpoints are equally valid (try passing that one off on your boss at the next board meeting!), and that's why all "diverse" opinions are welcome. If that's the case, then the logical thing to do would be to either allow totally free expression, or ban all bumper stickers, as well as all types of personal expression within the office. But when they start picking and choosing, as this company has, then they're no longer neutral - they've become advocates for a particular point of view, one that has nothing to do with the performance of the company itself, and they state their intention to punish any employee that goes against that point of view, regardless of their job performance. I'll tell you, something's really gone haywire there.

If this were an isolated incident, that would be one thing. But, as regular readers of the blog know, it isn't. Corporate America counts on us being too meek, too scared, or too intimidated to do anything about it. Thanks to groups like PJI, they'll find out just how wrong they are.

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