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Tuesday 26 April 2005

Workplace Religious Freedom Act

Daily Kos is saying the the new Santorum / Kerry / Clinton bill isn't so bad. He says the Times editorial is bunk. However, I'm not entirely convinced of this, especially given this Letter to the Editor of the NYT signed by Santorum and Kerry. It states, "If the bill becomes law, a pharmacist who does not wish to dispense certain medications would not have to do so long as another pharmacist is on duty and would dispense the medications." (this text verified through LexisNexis) If another pharmacists is on duty, the original pharmacist can preach to rape victim and tell her she's a hell bound harlot. Isn't that special. And how long before a court rules that if there's another pharmacy within a few miles, well, it would also be ok to send the woman on? Pharmacists are lisenced to perform a service. We give them a special status and in exchange, they provide a needed function. If they refuse to provide their function, why are we giving them special status? If we grant a special tax status and limitted liability to a business whose function is to dispense healthcare, then why do they get those benefits if they refuse to fill the function for which they were granted? Corporate charters should be revoked and business licenses should be confiscated for pharmacies that won't do their jobs. Walmart should lose it's license to dispense drugs.

Also, the ACLU is opposed, which is usually enough to convince me that something is a bad idea. People are already suing to overturn workplace tolerance pledges based on it infringing their religious freedom. It is already true that in states where there are no nondiscrimination laws in place, that companies have a hard time forcing employees to take down "god hates fags" banners, because those employees often sue. If the law protects expressions of hate and makes no provisions for the rights of the hated, then it is explicitly legalizing discrimination and workplace harassment. And Kerry is sponsoring it.

I think we need to stop to consider that Kerry signed a letter saying it would be totally groovy for pharmacists to hassle women, queers and anyone else they can't "in good conscience" serve. In the old days, serving blacks was a matter of conscience. How long before that's true again?

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