RE: Cathy Samford Fired For Being Unwed Mother

This came across the feed today:

Sherry said, “When she was hired she was already pregnant and she did not disclose this to us.” When asked if it was ethical for an employer to terminate an employee for an act that took place prior to signing the contract with the school, Sherry said, “That was a decision made by the administration.” The contract she signed explains “15 or 19 times about the moral conduct. If she chose not to read it, that is her problem.”

via Cathy Samford Terminated for the “Act” That Caused Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy.

Emphasis mine. I’m trying real hard to process this bit of information fairly but it would seem that the act of getting pregnant before she was even hired and before she signed a contract would fall outside the scope of her employment at the school. If they fire her for not living up to their contract prior to signing it, shouldn’t every single person at the school be fired too? Isn’t that a big part of Christianity; we’re all imperfect sinners and all that jazz?

How else can you view this other than they fired her for being an unwed mother? State and federal law is very clear: you can’t discriminant against women because of pregnancy.

You can read my initial post here, Cathy Samford Fired For Being Unwed Mother.

Bookmarks for April 18th through April 19th

These are my links for April 18th through April 19th:

  • "You have 20 seconds to comply": South Korea unleashes robot guards – In South Korea's Pohang prison, three of the guards are not like the others. They are… robots! The so-called "Robo-Guard" technology is currently being live-tested in the hopes that automation can reduce costs and help to make the prison environment safer.
  • Breivik says he trained for Norwegian massacre using Modern Warfare – Anders Behring Breivik, the 33-year-old Norwegian ultranationalist who has admitted to killing 69 people in a shooting rampage and eight more in a bomb blast last July, said during his trial today that he prepared for the attacks by playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
  • Needles and Sins Tattoo Blog | Army Tightens Rules on Tattoos – Over the weekend, the Army Times reported on potential new grooming regulations that govern tattoos as well as other appearance standards. And if soldiers don't comply, they could face some serious trouble.
  • Make your foursquare history useful with Rewind.me « About Foursquare – Rewind.me’s Foursquare Edition launched today (since it is 4sqDay and all). It pulls in your foursquare history and lets you sort through it in a number of interesting ways. You can see the conventional date view, which lets you scroll back through or jump to any date in your history to see the places you checked in. A category view shows you all the places you’ve visited in a particular category.

Bookmarks for April 17th through April 18th

These are my links for April 17th through April 18th:

  • No Savings Found in Florida Welfare Drug Tests – NYTimes.com – Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter
    drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek
    welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users
    and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently
    released state data.
  • Brandi and Russel Bellew, Parents, Lose Children After Son Dies Due To ‘Faith Healing’ – After 16-year-old Austin Sprout lost his life when his parents, Brandi and Russel Bellew, opted for prayer instead of medical treatment, their remaining six children are now wards of the state, the Register-Guard reports.
  • My Trousers and Airport Security | Jack of Kent – “I bet this makes you feel safer?” he says.
    “Actually, it doesn’t. Either security required me to take my trousers off, or it does not. Either my bag is too unsafe to travel, or it is not. I think this just shows bad decision-making. Bad decision-making by security does not make me feel safe.”

Religious Freedom

I think everybody has a basic fundamental right to religious freedom. If a person wants to think wearing magic underwear protects him from the evils of the world then more power to him. I happen to think that religious freedom by definition has to include freedom from religion too. The problem is that some people seem to think that they can use religious freedom as some sort of shield that allows them to do things that would be considered pretty crazy without the context of their religion.

Take for instance the case of 16-year-old Austin Sprout losing his life. Austin died because his parents prayed instead of seeking basic medical care. Thankfully the remaining 6 Bellew children have been taken away and the parents are being charged with manslaughter.

I recently wrote about the case of Cathy Samford being fired for being an unwed mother. The law doesn’t allow for the wholesale discrimination by an employer, religious or otherwise and I hope Ms Samford wins her lawsuit.

One person’s religious freedom ends where another person’s rights begin. If it’s some religion’s view that they’re tasked with God to kill all albino people, there would rightly be outrage and condemnation of those people. I think the same should go for cases like the two I’ve outlined here.

In conclusion, I will fight for your right to think that magic underwear protects you from evil (although I reserve the right to criticize you for it). Part of that fight includes our right to be from religion if we choose.

Bookmarks for April 17th

These are my links for April 17th from 10:46 to 12:23:

Quick hit: death and dying

I think about death and dying more than the average person. As I was catching up on my RSS this morning I came across this bit of info:

A friend tells the story of her father’s death. He died in a hospital. She wasn’t there when it happened. She was the only one of his children to show up after he passed. All that remained of this man was a brown shopping bag with clothes, a wallet, false teeth, keys. That’s it. That’s what’s left when you die. There’s no individual in sight. Just a bag with some junk in it. That’s what we, as individuals, are worth. To the extent that we understand our role as part of a wave of humanity, do our lives have significance

This makes me think about the people in old folks homes. These were once young people with lives with people who depended on them. They had parents and siblings and kids and jobs and everything. Now they’re just in this home, waiting and seemingly forgotten. It makes me want to go visit them. It seems bleak.

It also makes me think about my legacy. What are people going to remember about me after I’m dead? Will the things I’ve done mean anything to anybody? It’s this line of thought that’s allowed me give up gaming. I feel compelled to be productive because my life is limited and there’s still so much I want to do. After I’m dead and gone nobody is going to know that I had a maxed out mining character in Eve-Online nor will they know that I had a RR 8 Bard in Dark Age of Camelot. Those things seem like such a waste of time in this context.

Live life because it’s running out and you only get one.

 

Quick hit: hitting close to home!

As I was consuming my stream of news this morning I ran across this bit of text:

“Before I had a chance to fully express myself as an individual I had children of my own. So I feel the need to treat myself from time to time because it hurts that I never had a chance get to know myself. It’s also the reason why I waste cash buying my children lavish gifts they neither need nor want, at every opportunity.”

Yikes! This resonates with me… a lot.

Cathy Samford Fired For Being Unwed Mother

I’m not sure if you guys have heard but Cathy Samford was fired from Heritage Christian Academy for being pregnant while single. Click the link to read the details but HCA administration says:

“It’s not that she’s pregnant. The issue here is being an unmarried mother,” Taylor said. “Everything that we stand for says that we want our teachers, who we consider to be in the ministry, to model what a Christian man or woman should be.”

While Ms Samford’s attorney disagrees:

“It’s against the law to fire someone for them taking a pregnancy leave and you can’t preventatively fire someone. You can’t contract around anti-discrimination laws,” Walsh told ABCNews.com. “Just being generally religious or upholding Christian values is not enough to evoke the ministerial exception.”

On behalf of its client Heritage Christian Academy (HCA), Liberty Institute responds

“As the U.S Supreme Court has recognized, the First Amendment grants schools like HCA religious freedom to make decisions on whom to hire and fire based upon religious reasons,” said Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute general counsel.  “The U.S. Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision from earlier this year in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC makes clear that the First Amendment bars a school teacher’s wrongful termination action based upon an alleged violation of employment discrimination laws asserted against a Christian school.  Our Constitution protects Christian schools and other religious organizations like HCA from interference with their religious beliefs and practices.”

I looked up Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC and I don’t think the ruling means what Liberty Institute thinks it means:

The court ruled unanimously that federal discrimination laws do not apply to religious organizations’ selection of religious leaders.

Specifically:

The decision explicitly left open the question whether religious organizations could be sued for other reasons with the sentence “We express no view on whether the exception bars other types of suits, including actions by employees alleging breach of contract or tortious conduct.”

As to my personal opinion, I think the school is in the wrong here. I’m no lawyer but I don’t think private schools/organizations can discriminate against women like this then hide behind the shield of religious freedom. I think everybody is free to practice their religion as they see fit but religion freedom stops where the rights of other people starts. I actually think what HCA has done is immoral. They’ve fired an expecting mother who now has no insurance benefits and presumably their family income is now significantly less.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in court and I’ll be following it closely.

Resources:

PodCamp Nashville 2012

Today was PodCamp Nashville 2012. They call it a tech “unconference” but you basically get to rub shoulders with some cool Nashville people in the tech and social networking scenes. Jen and I got to meet a bunch of people that we’ve only talked to on Twitter so that was a pretty big plus.

Our first session was Social Networking In Real Life by Dave Delaney. It was basically an overview of why and how you should do more than just network from behind the computer screen… instead you should be sure to go out there and meet the people you’re interacting with online. Also, bring coffee. 😉

Next up was How I Got Google to Pay Me $150,000 by Ross Jones of 2theTopDesign. Ross is a Nashville web design and SEO guru. It was an interesting session and Ross was even nice enough to hang out with us during lunch and answer some questions about our site etc. Cool guy. Be sure to check out his Nashville SEO Meetup group!

Our impromptu session was a session by Lucas Hendrickson about iPad apps! We talked about the iPad apps you use on a regular basis. I made myself notes to check out WriteRoom, Spacward Ho!, Jetpack joyride and Kingdom Rush. Additionally, the incase origami keyboard and hammerhead ipad case.

Next up was Building a Smart Social Media Strategy by Laura Click. This was the best session that I attended personally. That is, I got the most useful information that I’m going to be able to immediately help with running the social media strategies for Pampered You Salon. Stuff like Rapportive and SocialMention especially.

The last session Jen and I attended was Your Marketing is a Waste of Your Time……Unless You Start with Why by our friend David Beronja. The big take away is a lesson learned with the book, Start With Why. I’ve added it to my reading list and will be checking out the TED talk by the author, Simon Sinek.

This was my second “camp” experience with my first one being BarCamp 2011. This one didn’t disappoint and Jen and I got a lot of good info and made new connections. To top it off, I won a prize (see screenshot below)! I was the 1st one to tweet #pcnprizes when they told us what to do to win. Although technically, Jen’s tweet was in before mine but hers didn’t show up in the search. Very weird. 🙁 I will definitely be attending more camps!

PodCamp Nashville 2012