Evangelical extremist fires employee for not attending bible study classes

Some Americans may be aware that since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, the religious right has ramped up its crusade to force the evangelical religion into all segments of society beginning with public schools and state governments. It is probably not as widely known that there are also evangelicals who are forcing their brand of Christianity down the throats of Americans at their places of employment. It is likely less well known because employees are reticent to complain about employers forcing religious compliance because doing so will result in losing their jobs.

One Oregon man is the rare exception and is doing more than complaining; he is suing his former evangelical employer for terminating his employment in construction because he refused to attend mandatory bible studies. It is the ultimate example of what is likely on the near horizon now that Trump has given the religious right unwarranted and unconstitutional authority over the people.

The 34-year-old construction worker in Albany Oregon, Ryan Coleman, filed an $800,000 lawsuit against Dahled Up Construction Company because the owner, Joel Dahl, terminated his employment after Coleman refused to attend any more bible study classes. Shortly after beginning his construction job last October he realized his boss required all employees to attend Christian bible classes during work time as a condition of continued employment.

Mr. Coleman, who is not a practicing Christian, informed his new boss that he was uncomfortable attending Jesus lessons and that it was illegal for him to require employees to study the Christian bible. The boss was not going to bend and insisted that to keep his job Coleman would have to come to Jesus class. Since he needed a job, Mr. Coleman said that he believed he had no other choice and suffered forced bible study classes just to keep his job.

That began in October of last year. Fast forward to April 2018 when Mr. Coleman had enough Christianity forced on him and told his boss by phone that he had a constitutional right to refuse being forced into religious studies. That was too much for the evangelical to take and he summarily terminated Mr. Coleman’s employment for not coming to Jesus. The termination prompted Coleman to file the lawsuit alleging that Dahl discriminated against him due to his non-Christian religious beliefs.

Coleman said that because he is half Native American, his religious beliefs are indigenous. In fact, despite not legally having to submit to religious indoctrination, Coleman tried to “keep an open mind about being forced to study the Christian Bible to keep his job;” by April, “he could no longer continue the practice.” Coleman lasted at the evangelical’s company a little over six months until he was terminated for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of religion. He took the time to explain to “The Oregonian/OregonLive” how he was terminated over the phone after he told Dahl:

I’ve kept an open mind, and it’s [forced bible study] just not my thing.”

The company owner replied, “Well, I’m going to have to replace you. You’re not going to tell me how to run my own company.’”

Mr. Coleman said, “I’m not trying to tell you how to run your own company, but you’re not going to tell me what god to pray to.”

Corinne Schram is Mr. Coleman’s attorney and she stated the obvious:

This is so illegal. Unless you are a religious organization like a church, you cannot force your employees to participate in religious activities.”

It is unclear if churches or any religious organization can legally require an employee to suffer religious indoctrination or be forced to participate in religious activities. However, what is clear is that a private employer forcing an employee to participate in any religious activity is illegal. It is also immoral, unconstitutional, and patently un-American. But not many people are accusing religious extremists of being moral or law-abiding – it is a direct result of an immoral criminal in the White House giving evangelical extremists authority over the rest of the population.

According to the evangelical malcontent forcing his employees to sit through Jesus training, it is legal to force religion down his employee’s throats because he pays them. The cretin, as true an evangelical extremist as one could imagine, dispatched his lawyer, Kent Hickam, to inform The Oregonian/OregonLive that there is no dispute that the religious extremist requires all employees to attend Bible study classes, and that it is legal because the company owner pays them to attend.

The attorney also played the persecuted Christian card saying his client is being taken advantage of with the lawsuit Mr. Coleman rightfully claimed is about discrimination against him due to his non-Christian religious beliefs. The evangelical’s lawyer said:

“Mr. Dahl feels that it’s unfortunate that he (Coleman) is now trying to exploit Mr. Dahl’s honorable intentions for unjustified financial gain.”

Mr. Coleman was satisfied with the financial gain he earned working for the construction company, but he lost that “gain” when Dahl dishonorably terminated his employment because he did not want to be indoctrinated with Jesus lessons.

This idea of evangelicals forcing their employees to comply with their religious beliefs is not necessarily new, but it is becoming more blatant since evangelicals aided Trump’s ascendancy to a place he has no right visiting, much less occupying. Remember, the Hobby Lobby case centered around the company owners’ belief that they have a constitutional right to force their employees to adhere to the owners’ religious belief that using contraception is a sin. It is a similar situation in the Catholic hospital industry where employees have to comply with Vatican prohibitions on any form of birth control considered unnatural or lose their jobs.

Although this unconstitutional practice of forcing religion on employees or public school students is not common knowledge, it is a common occurrence; and it is going to increase now that Trump is prodding evangelicals to violate the law. That is precisely what the criminal did last week when he directed about 100 members of the clergy to campaign for him and Republicans from the pulpit in direct violation of the Johnson Amendment. Of course the faithful, whether they are members of the clergy or evangelical extremist employers, do not need permission from Trump to force religion down Americans’ throats, but the assurance that Trump’s Department of Justice will support the faithful over the Constitution does embolden and empower the extremists.

It is almost impossible to believe that Mr. Coleman will not win his discrimination lawsuit and one hopes it is financially painful for the evangelical malcontent. Whether a painful financial settlement will encourage the evangelical to stop forcing his employees to suffer mandatory bible classes is unclear. What is abundantly clear is that the company’s owner did force religious indoctrination on his employees in direct violation of the Constitution and anti-discrimination laws. Because like evangelical extremists and their facilitator Trump, Coleman’s employer believes the Constitution, like the rule of law, does not apply to the faithful. It is a dangerous mindset that is going to get much worse as America continues its lurch towards an evangelical theocracy.

Image: Patheos

Trump and McConnell’s judicial havoc will last for decades

After the events of the past 10 days, it is abundantly clear that there is no end to the amount of damage Trump will wreak on the United States internationally and domestically. However, it is almost certain that every dirty move Trump makes internationally can be reversed by a sane administration – although no foreign nation will ever trust America again whether they are an ally or an antagonist. It is a travesty, but because of Trump and his Republican henchmen in the Senate and the Christofascists running the Heritage Foundation, no American should ever trust their government to look out for their interests; or that they will continue to have constitutional protections. It is likely that within a year or so, Trump, his theocratic cabal, and Republicans will have succeeded in unleashing lasting damage on the American people and the federal government. In this case “lasting” means several decades if not permanently.

Over at Salon, Amanda Marcotte, opined that there is a “vile reason why Republicans will keep covering for Trump’s unending, and perilous, scandals.” Although Ms. Marcotte makes a sound argument, it ignores the simple fact that even if Republicans were inclined to stop protecting Trump and throw the criminal out of the White House, there is a dyed-in-the-wool Christofascist conservative who will continue “packing the courts” with far right-wing religious extremists. According to Ms. Marcotte, that is the “vile reason” Republicans condone Trump’s wrecking-crew agenda as if only Trump will “pack the courts” with evangelical right-wing activists.

Where Trump does the evangelical extremists’ bidding for electoral support, Mike “preacher” Pence is a true believer that America was created as an evangelical theocracy and his Christian bible is the law of the land. Pence would move the proverbial “Heaven and Earth” to make America as Christian as Trump is attempting to make it Aryan. Still, there is no denying that with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “court packing” crusade in full swing, America as it has existed for 238 years is finished and two of the Heritage Foundation’s theocratic judicial appointments should disabuse any American’s idea that there is  a limit to the damage Trump is doing to America and its people.

It is true that the theocratic Heritage Foundation is in the process of shaping the Supreme Court in its image for at least a generation; the religious right has clamored for a Christian conservative majority for decades. However, the real damage is their appointments of young, incompetent, and inexperienced right wing ideologues and evangelicals filling the federal appellate courts. At the rate the lower courts are being packed with neo-con evangelical crusaders, it is possible that many cases will never reach the High Court. These recent Trump-Heritage appointees are openly biased and because it mainly concerns religion, they are not being assailed as religious extremists. There must be a convention in America that forbids questioning the imposition of the evangelical religion as if doing so is tantamount to what used to be considered treason – siding with a hostile foreign leader against the interests of the United States.

Regarding the Russian asset in the Oval, while the media and some Americans were watching Trump lie about his “misspeak” regarding Russia’s attack on America’s democracy, Mitch McConnell was holding a confirmation vote on a “radical right wing” ideologue, Andrew Oldham, as a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. To label Oldham as a radical, anti-government neo-conservative is an understatement.

Oldham is, as reported in May, a wet dream for the Koch brothers and particularly the theocracy-minded Heritage Foundation. Like the Koch brothers, Oldham openly questions the “legitimacy” of the federal government by arguing vigorously, “The entire existence of this edifice of administrative law is constitutionally suspect.” He also claims that agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Labor are patently “illegal and illegitimate.” Apparently, Oldham is opposed to any form of taxation and federal or state regulations unless they target women’s right to self-determination; it is the primary reason the evangelicals at the Heritage Foundation ordered Trump to nominate him.

Oldham argued in defense of a set of bizarre 2013 Texas evangelical laws that regulated the medical profession with the purpose of closing down “safe, legal abortion clinics” while he was deputy solicitor general in Texas. The Supreme Court overturned the law that had nothing to do with improving women’s health, particularly when it immediately closed down 13 abortion clinics. As NARAL’s Adrienne Kimmell noted:

Oldham’s track record proves time and time again that he will be a foot soldier for the anti-choice movement’s agenda, which includes overturning and gutting Roe v. Wade to criminalize abortions.”

It is a “track record” as an evangelical foot soldier that prompted the Christofascist Heritage Foundation to appoint Oldham to the federal appellate court. His embrace of the Koch brothers’ mindset that federal government agencies, departments, and regulations are, for all intent and purposes, “illegitimate and illegal” is a value-added bonus to sate the greed of the bastard libertarian Kochs and their GOP ilk.

Just recently, a different Trump-Heritage appellate judge revealed exactly why he was appointed to the federal bench; he hates the idea of women’s choice and he loves the church he claims is being treated unfairly.  The Trump-Heritage appointee, some evangelical malcontent named James Ho sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the recently-confirmed Andrew Oldham is joining. In a case involving another Texas law requiring the cremation or proper (Christian) burials of “fetal remains,” a U.S. District Judge blocked its enactment because it imposed an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion access. It was a more than reasonable decision simply because “it [the law] created absolutely no benefit for women, while passing on substantial costs to patients and clinics.”

Texas evangelicals disagreed and claimed that forcing proper Christian fetal burials does not impose any extra expense or burden on anyone because the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops has offered to bury fetal remains for free, or at reduced costs. However, when the plaintiffs, Whole Woman’s Health, served a subpoena on the Bishops requesting documents relating to its funding fetal burials for veracity, the church said no – they don’t have to prove anything because they are the Holy and infallible church.

In a 2-1 decision, the appellate court ruled that the lower court had to “suppress” the plaintiff’s subpoena and stop being mean to “the church.” In that ruling the Court assailed the plaintiffs, Whole Woman’s Health, for daring to “intimidate” the poor beleaguered church by requesting proof of the Catholic Bishops’ claim. The ruling also attacked the District Judge for his “religious insensitivity” of having the audacity to “rule against the Catholic Church on a Sunday morning when its members were almost surely in church.” Trump’s appointee, Ho, added that the district court judge was barbaric in “retaliating against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life—but also for wanting to do something about it.”

If anyone does not believe the reason “Mitch McConnell kept hundreds of vacant judicial seats open under President Barack Obama so the Senate Republicans could fill those seats” with evangelical far right ideologues, they are ridiculously naïve, if not stupid. As Kristine Lucius of The Leadership Conference noted:

Under McConnell and Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, the record-breaking pace of hearings, committee votes and floor votes, and utter disregard for Senate norms and traditions on nominees, has been shameful. Trump is trying to take over the federal courts by nominating young extremists who are unfit to serve impartially.”

It is worth repeating that much of Trump’s damage can be reversed; tariffs can be lifted, environmental regulations can be reinstated, cuts to social programs can be halted, corporate tax cuts can be rescinded, and immigration atrocities can be stopped. However, there is nothing whatsoever any American, legislative body, or future administration can do to change the makeup of a federal judiciary packed with radical religious and far-right wing ideologues serving for life.

It is a sad state of affairs that the people are fundamentally ignorant of the coming disaster of a radical religious federal judiciary. But they will likely get a clue when their voting rights are restricted, LGBTQ rights are struck down, environmental protections are completely abolished, executive power is increased, campaign finance regulations are eliminated and when women are prohibited from making their own determination regarding their personal reproductive health and childbearing.

America is headed for a seriously rough time with a generation’s worth of evangelical conservative federal courts earning the theocratic Heritage Foundation’s mandate to decide what laws are constitutional. It is not going to matter one iota what a future Democratic president or Congress passes into law – any one of Trump’s radical religious courts can rule them unconstitutional and that will be the end of them. Moreover, no American should believe for any measure of Planck time that with a federal judiciary packed with anti-women’s rights crusaders, women are not going to suffer the wrath of Christofascists who are perilously close to running all three branches of what was created as a secular government.

Christian Extremists Blame Victims For Manchester Terror Attack

It is a natural trait of human beings to assign blame when there is a tragedy no matter if it is a natural or man-made disaster whether as part of the natural healing process or to make sense out of a tragic event that claimed lives. However, it is usually a good idea to place the blame where it belongs to either easily address the problem so it never occurs again if that’s possible, or to properly heal and move forward. Of course there is a contingent in America that can always find some way to blame victims of a disaster for being innocent victims, or blame another group that angered a vengeful deity.

After the horrid terror attack in Manchester England outside of a venue where American entertainer Ariana Grande was performing for her mostly young female fans, there was the typical finger-pointing at the Muslim religion. Obviously, these finger-pointing morons are bereft of the easily confirmed fact that, according to the Islamic holy book the Quran, the quickest way for an Islamic adherent to go straight to Muslim Hell is to take the life of an innocent. Even in a raging war, killing an innocent means the guilty Muslim will “never smell Heaven.” The Manchester terrorist attack is not supported by the Islamic religion. It was a vile criminal act and nothing more or less.

There is another group, American Christian extremists, who seemingly always find a way to blame the victims who were either killed or injured whenever there is a terror attack or even as a result of a natural disaster. These are typically the type of savage beast that blames a woman for being violently raped, and it is generally attributed to some form of ‘godly’ punishment inflicted on the victim for some slight against the Christian extremist’s god. That was the sentiment of some seriously twisted American Christian extremists who blamed the victims of the Manchester terror attack on who else? The victims; primarily young pre-teen and teenaged girls ranging in age from 8 to 18 years old or their parents who either accompanied them to the concert or were waiting to pick them up and escort them home.

Right Wing Watch has reported that one of those Christian extremists, an anti-LGBTQ crusader named Theodore Shoebat released a video expressing a familiar sentiment typical of the religious right; a sentiment lacking in any kind of compassion for the victims. Shoebat is not a “follower of Christ” kind of Christian; he is a hate-driven monster that warrants being drawn and quartered and fed to whichever starving beast is willing to eat his putrid flesh. Instead of showing even a modicum of compassion for the innocent victims in Manchester, Shoebat displayed the typical hate rampant among, and permeating, America’s despicable evangelical fundamentalists.

Not only is Shoebat lacking any sense of compassion for the innocent victims, he all but asserted those young children and their parents are to blame for their own deaths and injuries. In fact, Shoebat asserted the terrorist that killed 22 innocent children and their parents was an emissary from god meting out “judgement for the West’s rejection of Christianity and its acceptance of homosexuality and degeneracy.” Shoebat said:

I really have no sympathy for these people. The people who died, the people who were injured, the people who were scared out of their minds, who ran away [screaming], I really don’t care. The types of people who go to these concerts are the same types of people who are responsible for the degeneracy that you see in society.

They go to these concerts dressed up as whores, dressed up as sluts, they’re pro-sodomite, they’re pro-divorce, they’re pro-infidelity. They want evil, they want decay, they want sodomy, they want Sodom and Gomorrah.”

It is possible that Shoebat is too driven by his Christian hate to comprehend that the predominant age of the Ariana Grande fan is between 8 and 16 or he would never have claimed the young, mostly female, victims are “pro-infidelity, pro-divorce or pro-sodomite.” The young English fans are also not responsible for anything remotely related to American society any more than they want decay or sodomy. It is a fair bet that none of the young female victims want evil, decay or Sodom and Gomorrah either. But since Shoebat is a typical evangelical  monster of epic proportion he blamed young British children and their parents for what he perceives as the ills of American society

A different Christian extremist, someone known as a “Christian blogger,” wrote on Twitter that her personal god used the horrible terror attack to send the young American pop artist, Ariana Grande, a stern message to teach her the error of her ways; including not listening to god when he speaks. The truly abominable so-called Christian, Jennifer Mayer, wrote on Twitter:

God is speaking to her [Ariana Grande] for being promiscuous and promoting homosexuals.  When HE speaks you must listen, friends!”

This hate-driven so-called Christian, Jennifer Mayer, must worship a genuinely evil god to claim her deity killed 22 English citizens, mostly young girls and their parents, to teach a young American “pop singer” the error of her ways. Apparently in the Christian extremist world, dressing like an entertainer during a stage performance and doing what the biblical Jesus Christ commanded his followers to do, love and embrace all people, even non-heterosexual people, warrants their god’s wrath on innocent girls and their parents; all to teach a young American pop singer a lesson.

Not to be outdone by the Christian extremists, Donald Trump’s close advisor and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones joined the evangelical chorus to condemn the victims while praising his Earthly demi-god Trump. The right-wing freak of nature and “conservative thought leader” labeled the young British girls and their parents “liberal trendies” he says champion bringing radical terrorists into America.

While he was praising Trump for enriching the American military industrial complex with a deal to sell arms to the nation responsible for 9/11, Saudi Arabia, Jones said:

And less than 24 hours after President Trump finishes that speech, a big bomb goes off at a pop star’s rock concert bombing a bunch of liberal trendies. The same people … who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in.”

First, Alex Jones is referring to, on average, 8 to 16 year old British girls who no more comprehend, much less promote, something called “open borders” than they comprehend or promote Ronald Reagan’s supply side economics; Jones is one seriously sick twisted piece of work.

Second, there is no possible way those mostly female British pre-teens and teens are promoting bringing “Islamists” in to America. Islamists is a typically conservative label for someone who commits an act of terror; unless they are white evangelical racists, then they are ignored.  One doesn’t have much faith that Jones is any smarter than an eight-year-old English child, but he certainly has to know that Manchester is in the United Kingdom and English citizens, no matter their age, certainly don’t promote “bringing Islamists into America.”

Even the National Rifle Association had to weigh in and blame the victims for the terror attack and claimed the Manchester Arena bombing only happened because of the victims’ “gender bending” and England’s sane gun laws.

As Michael Stone at Patheos noted, these “deplorable” Christian extremists and their conservative brethren “are happy to blame the victim in order to score ideological points; even if she is only eight years old.

A list of the victims is here and it is noteworthy that all but two of them were British and most were either young English girls or their parents. Still, as they are wont to do, America’s Christian extremist sect, the religious right, had no issue blaming the victims for something they claim their god did to punish America and a young pop singer.

h/t Patheos