Tuesday, June 16, 2020

George Floyd Killed by Police, Catholic Bishops' President Takes Six Days to Speak; Supreme Court Forbids Workplace Discrimination Vs. LGBTQ People, USCCB Instantly Finds Its Voice

New York Times, "Gay Rights Are Civil Rights":
The vote was 6 to 3. It should have been unanimous.

Monday's verdict unquestionably hands LGBTQ workers a significant victory. Until now, they had to hope their city or state passed laws protecting them from discrimination at work. They lacked federal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which meant that a worker fired for being gay or trans had little recourse after the fact. Employer prejudice could easily plunge an LGBTQ worker into poverty — as it did for Aimee Stephens, who filed one of the three lawsuits the court collectively ruled on today, and who died before she could see the conclusion to her fight. … 
To truly protect LGBTQ people — and women, and people of color — from discrimination at work, lawmakers will have to reconsider the existing balance of power between worker and boss. 
The American boss enjoys immense power over the lives of his workers. At-will employment is one of the clearest examples of this imbalanced relationship at work. In at-will states, employers have the right to fire workers for nearly any reason — barring discrimination on the basis of sex or race. For this reason, collective bargaining agreements for unionized workers usually include just-cause provisions. Just-cause means that employers have to prove a pattern of poor performance over time, which gives workers a chance to improve before they lose their jobs. For vulnerable workers, just-cause is an important barrier to discrimination. Federal law already prohibits an employer from firing someone because she’s pregnant, but in the absence of just-cause, he can cite performance issues, or budget cuts, or the generic need for a new corporate direction, and show her promptly out the door.

Washington Post, "The Supreme Court’s ruling on LGBTQ rights is a sweeping victory for fairness":

"AN EMPLOYER who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law." With this pellucid sentence, the Supreme Court on Monday helped make America a better country and relieved the fears of millions of LGBTQ Americans that, at any moment, their employers could subject them to humiliation, punishment or poverty simply because they are attracted to members of the same sex or because their gender identity does not match their gender assigned at birth. Employment discrimination on these grounds is no longer legal anywhere in the United States.

When conservative groups spent millions of dollars to keep Justice Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court vacant until a GOP president could fill it, Monday’s sweeping pro-LGBT ruling was just the kind of opinion they were trying to prevent. … 
"When we’ve gone so all-in on Trump and expected rulings that would leave religious conservatives pacified or pleased, this is egg on their face," Andrew T. Walker, professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told TPM. 'You spend all this time telling yourself you can justify voting for someone who is tremendously flawed to get these great judges and get this utter failure of a ruling."

And the day before the Supreme Court ruling came down, this beautiful statement by Monica Hingston appeared in The Guardian: "'Entering a convent led me to the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate'":

In 2003 the Vatican issued an edict to all the Catholic bishops in every diocese across the globe. 
In this many-paged document, the Roman cardinals described homosexuals as "seriously depraved" and "evil". They particularly directed their instructions to the Catholic politicians of the world, telling them they were 'morally obligated' to oppose any legislation that would grant us equal rights, and if such laws already existed, they were to do all in their power to repeal them. 
Peg and I had long since left the church and pronouncements from the Vatican did not concern us but this blistering attack on a global scale did. It meant that their dictates aimed to impose their beliefs on our secular society and to deprive us of basic human rights. I immediately wrote a letter to the then Archbishop George Pell, my second cousin. 
I challenged him to look me in the eye and describe me as seriously depraved. I asked him to consider what he was doing to people like us, the harm his church was inflicting, and much more. 
He ignored me.

How will the Supreme Court ruling outlawing the firing of employees because they are LGBTQ affect Catholic institutions, which have continued firing LGBTQ employees right up to now?

In my view, this ruling will not prevent those kinds of firings.

Catholic institutions will keep justifying them on the ground that these employees have publicly violated Catholic teaching, and religious liberty, with its "ministerial exception," permits religious employers to hire and fire with an eye to whether employees give good public witness to church teaching.

Many of these firings in Catholic institutions have, after all, been taking place in locales that have laws in place forbidding discrimination against people on grounds of sexual orientation, forbidding refusing to hire them due to their sexual orientation and firing them for being LGBTQ.

I really don't expect the Supreme Court to forbid such actions on the part of religious institutions, when the actions are dressed up as an exercise of religious liberty.

Ultimately, they are, of course, actions taken due to the sexual orientation of employees.

We can easily conclude this when we see these institutions almost never taking similar action against heterosexual employees who fail to give good witness to church teaching.

It's easy to conceal what is ultimately discriminatory behavior behind various fa├žades and smokescreens designed to thwart litigation as people attempt to claim their basic rights — and I do expect that kind of litigation to pick up now, and places Catholic institutions even more on the defensive as they continue their cruel, unholy vendetta against the portion of the human race God made LGBTQ.

Look for the "ministerial exception" to receive more and more emphasis in Catholic workplaces: you're a minister if you work here, whether you're teaching in the classroom, planning menus in the cafeteria, tending to the school grounds. Already, a Catholic employer in Pennsylvania has tried this ruse with a cafeteria worker who was fired after he married his same-sex partner: he was a minister, the employer stated, and he betrayed his role as a Catholic minister via his same-sex marriage.

For an institution notoriously stingy about handing out the title of ordained minister to anyone beyond ostensibly celibate males, there suddenly are a whole lot of ministers popping up in Catholic institutions these days, are there not? Look for more to pop up as Catholic institutions try to hold back the tide that the Supreme Court has just permitted to roll forth.

P.S. The three naysayers, Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh? All Catholic men — two of them widely reputed to have cozy ties to Opus Dei.

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