U.S. Notes & Quotes

Religion in the Workplace

BUSINESS WEEK, Nov. 1-“A spiritual revival is sweeping across Corporate America as executives of all stripes are mixing mysticism into their management, importing into office corridors the lessons usually doled out in churches, temples and mosques,” wrote Michelle Conlon in a cover story on religious openness at some of America's top businesses.

“Companies such as Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and subsidiaries of Wal-Mart Stores are hiring Army-style chaplains who come in any religious flavor requested.

“Members of these 24-hour God squads visit employees in hospitals, deal with nervous breakdowns and respond to suicide threats. They'll even say the vows on a worker's wedding day or deliver the eulogy at her funeral. If America's chief executives had tried any of this 10 years ago, they probably would have inspired ridicule and maybe even ostracism,” Conlon said.

Company Orders Woman to Stop Talking Nice

CONSERVATIVE NEWS SERVICE, Nov. 10A woman who was ordered to stop saying “Have a blessed day” at work has sued the company that threatened to fire her, the online news service reported.

Liz Anderson of USF Logistics in Indianapolis, who was named office employee of the year in 1998, filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission Nov. 9. She has worked for USF Logistics for more than three years. In June her employers told her to either stop telling coworkers to “Have a blessed day” or face termination. Anderson agreed to stop, but then obtained a lawyer, Kevin Betz, who said the company impinged on her religious freedom. “This was a religious practice of hers based on her Christianity,” Betz said. He added that her employer must accommodate Anderson “so long as to do so is not an undue hardship to the business,” the news service reported.

Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Bigotry

CNN.com, Nov. 10-Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer called discrimination against Catholics “one of the last socially acceptable prejudices left in America,” in a speech at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., the cable news network's online service reported.

“Today, the establishment clause has been turned on its head and has become the enemy of Americans’ right to freely exercise their faith,” Bauer said, “Expressions of anti-Catholic bigotry not only abound but are tolerated, especially by the cultured elite, often in the name of free expression or artistic license.

“Apparently, if those impermissible nativity scenes were decorated with dung, then they would be constitutional, “Bauer said, in reference to the recent controversy surrounding the Brooklyn Museum of Art's exhibit Sensation.

“An attack on a Jewish community center in Los Angeles was immediately labeled a hate crime”, Bauer said. “But when seven people were killed at choir practice in a Baptist church in Texas,” he added, “the media was very reluctant to call it a hate crime,” CNN.com reported.