Thursday, June 09, 2005

The latest opportunism from the Christian Wrong

According to an AP article, a nurse who worked at Eastern Illinois University filed a lawsuit because EIU and its nursing director "violated" her freedom of religion (among other things) when they didn't give her a promotion. During an interview for the promotion, Andrea Nead said she was morally opposed to dispensing emergency contraception; that ended the interview quickly, she claims, and the job went to another candidate. (EIU spokeswoman Vicki Woodard said, "I can say the reason Andrea Nead was not hired was unrelated to dispensing the morning-after pill.")

Nead's attorney works for a group, the American Center for Law and Justice, that was founded by Pat Robertson. (What a surprise!) Her lawsuit claims that EIU violated her right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and equal protection, as well as federal anti-discrimination laws.

Let's examine these claims. Freedom of religion? Seems to me she's free to have her religious beliefs, unimpeded by EIU. But if she's not willing to fulfill the duties of the job, then it's incumbent on her not to seek a job that she objects to. There are plenty of nursing jobs that don't involve EC; if she loves taking care of college kids, then perhaps she ought to find a college that isn't an affront to her particular moral beliefs and apply there. Freedom of expression? Nobody said she couldn't express herself. Discrimination? There are an awful lot of reasons one person gets hired for a job while umpteen other applicants don't. Perhaps the nursing director's interview notes for Nead and the individual who was hired tell the story. I've interviewed dozens of job applicants, and most of them present many compelling reasons not to be hired. They show up late, they don't make eye contact, they rant about old jobs, they have a wishy-washy handshake, they have no insightful questions or answers, their salary expectations are out of line with the job, their qualifications just aren't as good as someone else's, or someone else just "clicked" better. If one applicant really lights up the room and shows tremendous potential and interest, she's far more likely to land the job than someone who mopes through the interview. We don't know why EIU opted to hire someone other than Nead, but EIU says it had nothing to do with her religious beliefs.

My advice? If you object to EC, then don't take the pills. And don't try to get a job that involves dispensing EC. All those "pharmacists for life," and now this nurse—come on, now! It's not as if nurses and pharmacists face such tight job markets that they can't find work. That nursing shortage you heard about 10 or 15 years ago? It's still there. Nead's lawsuit is just another case of right-wing conservative-Christian opportunism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Someone call the waaaaambulance -- I think we've got a whiner here.

In a free society, it would not be illegal to refuse to dispense certain medications based on religious beliefs, but it also wouldn't be AT ALL grounds for a lawsuit that someone with those beliefs would be fired by employers who don't share such crackpot views.

Then again, in a free society we wouldn't have a prescription drug system at all. Women should be able to go to the drugstore and pick up their pills from the over-the-counter shelves, damn it.