By in Personal

You Are Who You Are

wolfgirl569 's latest post on Kim Davis is an interesting read.

I'm with her in thinking that most of us would be fired if we refused to carry out our public role because it conflicted with our personal views.

As a liberal couple Mr C and I have many friends who are gay and some who are trans. Some in the church, many more outside it. You are who you are first, but you choose your religion, we reckon. Those we know who are gay and involved in the church are either firmly in the closet at church or involved with liberal Christian groups where the primary belief is that God wants you happy in yourself, and if that means having a same-sex relationship so be it. Many of these groups also know that some people's reaction to abuse can be to run from the entire sex which abused them, hence a victim of domestic violence will end up in a same-sex relationship afterwards.

I pick and choose my fields of work according to my preferences. I've been interviewed for many posts in biological science departments where I am nearly always asked my views about experimentation on animals. Pleased to say I have never had to compromise my to work in one yet. I'd rather be where I am, where any research my department gets involved in is carried out as part of human clinical trials and other areas of the hospital are actively pursuing laboratory studies to test substances in a lab rather than on animals.

I've often wondered how a Catholic pharmacist might feel when asked to dispense the Pill. I also remember from my retail days some Muslims who asked for a transfer to a non-food department during Ramadan, because handling food all day was too much for them. There was also the case of a Christian bed and breakfast place which refused to let a room to a gay couple.

Nurses are prevented from pushing their religion, and in some hospitals even the wearing of more than the barest of religious symbols is against dress code. In my place of work, Sikh men may wear a turban, Muslim ladies are permitted a headscarf as long as it doesn't conflict with clinical requirements. If head to toe covering is required by a female as a part of their religious observance, it must be in keeping with clinical rules and sleeves must be able to be pushed up as necessary. Necklaces are not permitted in any active clinical role.

If your belief is that strong then there are plenty of jobs which are not as fixed in their codes of conduct. On the other hand there is a whole list of sports stars who manage to juggle and sport, taking Ramadan during winter training rather than when running up to a major competition, or giving donations to charity in lieu of observation of a particular feast day or tradition.

I'm wondering what's going to happen now in the Kim Davis case. My guess, from all the way over here in the UK, is that she may well be impeached for bringing her role into disrepute and fired on the grounds that no elected official can have a criminal record. The authorities may even kick her son out too. After all, even Presidents can be impeached.

It'll be interesting to see what happens, as gay marriage isn't going to go away, and in any case, Ms Davis had stopped issuing marriage certificates to everyone, gay or straight, as I understand it. That would surely be classed as dereliction of duty if she was in the military, which is an offence punishable by dishonorable discharge, ie sacking.

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wolfgirl569 wrote on September 6, 2015, 3:15 PM

Thanks for the shout out. It is even more interesting from here as it could set a tone for what others might try to do in her position elsewhere. As you said many people have to do things that they dont always agree with in their jobs. It is a choice each person has to make for themselves. But the rules of te job have to be followed

chrisandmark wrote on September 6, 2015, 3:20 PM

It's a moral situation I suppose for some people (or a lot of people in some areas). Here in the UK we're having the issues that come with gay partnerships/marriages - a recent newsworthy one was a baker being fined huge amounts of money for declining to make a gay wedding cake, the baker is Christian and obviously has his views on the subject but shouldn't he be entitled to choose who he makes cakes for and for what reasons? I'm torn as I support gay marriage but can well appreciate that others don't. The Davis thing is a different matter as hers is such a formal profession though...

DWDavisRSL wrote on September 6, 2015, 3:55 PM

incredibly, here in the US, convicted felons may be elected to and serve in Congress. A current example is Alaska Senator Ted Stephens. In the end, a judge threw out the conviction but Stephens continued to serve while the conviction stood.

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 4:49 PM

I'd forgotten about Cakegate. That's another good case that's probably provoking discussion on Law courses up and down the land. I must ask some of my legal contacts to see if I can find out what's being said.

Some of the people who witnessed our house purchasing paperwork when we moved in together were members of the church. If they felt we shouldn't be moving in together they didn't tell us that at the time. We gave them all the chance to decline to witness for us if they felt it compromised their beliefs, and not one refused. I guess they thought we were going to be able to balance living together with all the usual Christian requirements for couples who were not yet married.

It's an interesting turn of events, for sure, especially given that here in the UK, these days we have not only the Irish question of Catholic v Protestant (which is old news by many standards) but now also the fact of increasingly visible Muslim presence in the country, bringing a whole new set of values to work with.

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 4:52 PM

I know my clinical colleagues sometimes have to do things they don't want to, but professionally or ethically, they have to. There's plenty of scope for that in a medical environment. That's definitely a case of following the rules of the job.

chrisandmark wrote on September 6, 2015, 5:00 PM

My mum and 'her side' are Catholic - while she's very cool and 'so?' about me living with my partner, there are parts of her family who think I'm a disgrace for not getting married despite having four children (by the same father, who I've been with for over twenty years now in a very stable relationship). The irony of their Catholicism is that I have too many children... Luckily my mum and dad (who wasn't religious) have always been there for me but in a tiny and insular way I've been victimised for going against 'the Church' who I have absolutely no regard for anyway...

I have a few friends who have gone into same sex relationships after abusive opposite sex marriages, it seems to work for them although the relationships with their girlfriends' always seems a little more complex than when I speak to my lifelong lesbian friend and her circle

Last Edited: September 6, 2015, 5:00 PM

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 5:00 PM

I didn't know that. I knew it related to preventing a felon from taking employment in the sector against which they offended. In Ms Davis' case that should mean that she can no longer be employed as a county clerk once this case is closed. Then again, I'm not a lawyer and my understanding of US law is patchy at best. I'd like to think her employers will consider her position carefully, at least.

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 5:10 PM

I actually asked some of our church circle about this when we moved in together. They said they realised that in this day and age it was no longer possible for a couple to afford a wedding and a mortgage at the same time, and that the best way in their view for a couple to learn to live together responsibly was to have a house or at least a joint rental agreement with the responsibilities that regular payments would bring.

I can imagine what you must have had from your mum's side for not marrying your partner back then. I have a colleague who has simply taken her partner's name to stop the chatter, because they have two children and things were becoming difficult for them. I also have another one who is so hacked off with his own family that he's going to take his wife's surname on marriage. Her family are overjoyed to be gaining a son, so it's all working out well for them.

MegL wrote on September 7, 2015, 7:02 AM

If your work conflicts with your beliefs, then change your work. In a democratic society, the rule of law must be followed. If you choose in your private capacity to do something else, then that's your choice, as long as it does not infringe on others' beliefs and liberties.

melody23 wrote on September 7, 2015, 12:01 PM

I first want to disclose that I am not religious in any way and that quite likely affects my feelings on this topic, but I am of the opinion that you know what you are signing up for when you take the job and that if your beliefs are that strong that you cant/wont do something then why would you take a job that requires doing that thing? We had a girl leave the course in first year after her first placement because her family suddenly realised that she had to see naked men as part of her role - they were absolutely disgusted by this and she was very uncomfortable having grown up believing that the only naked man she would ever see would be her future husband. Without meaning this to sound as horrible as its probably going to - I don't understand for the life of me why she started the course in the first place? Surely she must have known that she would have male and female patients and would need to care for them both equally? If she couldn't do that then I don't understand why she wanted to be a nurse in the first place.

I am also reminded of the story of the two catholic midwives who went to court saying that they were being held back in their career as they would never be able to be promoted as they were unable to be involved in the termination of a pregnancy, regardless of reason. My thoughts at the time were that they clearly wouldn't want a job that involved that so surely they didn't actually want the promotion if that's what it involved, honestly I kind of felt that they were making noise about nothing as its clearly not a job they would have wanted in the first place. The court went against them as they clearly weren't willing/able to care for patients at the level of the promotion in line with the NMC code of conduct which is clear on the fact that you cannot compromise patient care because of your own beliefs.

I have no problem with people practicing whatever religion they want to practice - but I do think that if you know what you are getting into when you take a job you cannot then suddenly at some point down the line have a problem with it based on your beliefs - unless of course there has been a drastic change to your job description that you had no way of predicting.

CoralLevang wrote on September 16, 2015, 7:48 PM

I have bookmarked this for a later read, having missed it when written.