20 December 2014

Department of Colossal Gall

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ou know, it’s really very simple: if you find that your religion keeps you from doing your job, either change your religion or change your job. A certain Dr. Eric Walsh, formerly head of Pasadena’s Public Health Department, appears to me to have been faced with that problem.
His “sincerely held religious beliefs” involved the notion that Satan was behind practically everything he didn’t like—gays, Catholics, single mothers, science, condoms, Oprah Winfrey. I don’t see how a guy with so much hatred for so many people could possibly do his job—or any job—in the public health sector.
Pasadena apparently felt the same way, or maybe he saw that himself, and he stepped down. The state of Georgia offered him a job—and then when they learned of his “sincerely held religious” bigotry, rescinded the offer.
Dr. Walsh is now suing the state claiming that as the remarks he made were said in church, he is somehow immune to having them used against him. According to his attorney, “In America, it is illegal to fire a professional for something he says in church.” I freely admit that I don’t know this particular law—but the issue is not where he said these things. It is that a supposedly professional health care expert holds these views at all. That they are “sincerely held” doesn’t seem to me to improve things in the least. Quite the contrary, in fact.

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