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Muslim Policewoman Has No Right To Wear a Religious Headscarf on the Job,

the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit just held in Webb v. City of Philadelphia (some paragraph breaks added):

[Kimberlie] Webb requested permission from her commanding officer to wear a headscarf while in uniform and on duty. The headscarf (a khimar or hijaab) is a traditional headcovering worn by Muslim women. Webb's headscarf would cover neither her face nor her ears, but would cover her head and the back of her neck. Her request was denied in view of Philadelphia Police Department Directive 78, the authoritative memorandum which prescribes the approved Philadelphia police uniforms and equipment. Nothing in Directive 78 authorizes the wearing of religious symbols or garb as part of the uniform....

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining an employee based on his or her religion. "Religion" is defined as "all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee's ... religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business." To establish a prima facie case of religious discrimination [on this "religious accommodation" theory -EV], the employee must show: (1) she holds a sincere religious belief that conflicts with a job requirement; (2) she informed her employer of the conflict; and (3) she was disciplined for failing to comply with the conflicting requirement.

Once all factors are established, the burden shifts to the employer to show either it made a good-faith effort to reasonably accommodate the religious belief, or such an accommodation would work an undue hardship upon the employer and its business.... An accommodation constitutes an "undue hardship" if it would impose more than a de minimis cost on the employer. Both economic and non-economic costs can pose an undue hardship upon employers; the latter category includes, for example, violations of the seniority provision of a collective bargaining agreement and the threat of possible criminal sanctions.

In the City's view, at stake is the police department's impartiality, or more precisely, the perception of its impartiality by citizens of all races and religions whom the police are charged to serve and protect. If not for the strict enforcement of Directive 78, the City contends, the essential values of impartiality, religious neutrality, uniformity, and the subordination of personal preference would be severely damaged to the detriment of the proper functioning of the police department. In the words of Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, uniformity "encourages the subordination of personal preferences in favor of the overall policing mission" and conveys "a sense of authority and competence to other officers inside the Department, as well as to the general public."

Commissioner Johnson identified and articulated the police department's religious neutrality (or the appearance of neutrality) as vital in both dealing with the public and working together cooperatively. "In sum, in my professional judgment and experience, it is critically important to promote the image of a disciplined, identifiable and impartial police force by maintaining the Philadelphia Police Department uniform as a symbol of neutral government authority, free from expressions of personal religion, bent or bias." Commissioner Johnson's testimony was not contradicted or challenged by Webb at any stage in the proceedings....

As a para-military entity, the Philadelphia Police Department requires "a disciplined rank and file for efficient conduct of its affairs." Commissioner Johnson's thorough and uncontradicted reasons for refusing accommodations are sufficient to meet the more than de minimis cost of an undue burden.

For more details, including how the court dealt with various relevant precedents, both from the Supreme Court and from other circuits that had confronted similar problems, have a look at the opinion, which is pretty readable and not too long.

Thanks to Joel Sogol for the pointer.

Just Dropping By (mail):
As a para-military entity, the Philadelphia Police Department

Paging Mr. Radley Balko! Paging Mr. Radley Balko!
4.8.2009 8:05am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Webb's headscarf would cover neither her face nor her ears, but would cover her head and the back of her neck.

Snood? Doo-rag?
4.8.2009 8:19am
bear (mail) (www):
I thought EXACTLY the same thing when I read that J D B...

In fact I'm going to ping Radley about this.

Unfortunately for us all...para-military is entirely to accurate.

-bear
4.8.2009 8:27am
Nano:
I have to admit, my initial gut reaction was that the city should have accommodated her and allowed it.

After reading the opinion, however, I was convinced otherwise. Kudos to the court for a rational and thoughtful opinion.
4.8.2009 8:30am
martinned (mail) (www):
One of the pleasant things about reading a US blog like this one is that it is so refreshingly free of eternal arguing about accomodation to muslims, islam taking over, dhimmis, muslim fundamentalism, etc. Let's hope it stays that way...
4.8.2009 8:58am
Wallace:
Interesting context: Sylvester Johnson, the Philly Police Commissioner, is also a Muslim.
4.8.2009 9:07am
Nom duh ploome:

One of the pleasant things about reading a US blog like this one is that it is so refreshingly free of eternal arguing about accomodation to muslims, islam taking over, dhimmis, muslim fundamentalism, etc. Let's hope it stays that way...


Why? Hyperbolic ranting isn't such a good thing, but these are real issues with real consequences. See, e.g., Denmark. American ignorance shouldn't be refreshing to anyone, unless you're running for office.
4.8.2009 9:21am
martinned (mail) (www):
@Nom duh ploome: On this side of the Atlantic, the issue is done to death. It's important, but it isn't the single biggest issue out there. Even now, islam-related questions cause at least as much debate as the credit crisis.

On the US side of the Atlantic, none of this matters as much. Not because of ignorance, but simply because there are fewer muslims in the US. (The CIA world factbook puts the percentage muslims in the US at 0,6%, below Buddhist. For Germany they have 3,7%, France 5%-10%, UK 2,7%, and for my country, the Netherlands, they have 5,7% muslims.) Hence, not as much of an issue.
4.8.2009 9:36am
BZ (mail):
A good opinion. My first impression on reading the summary was: this is not new, because it was settled in Kelley v. Johnson (police officer has no right to wear long hair). But the Court treated the accommodation sub-issue in a clear and appropriate fashion. Would have liked to have seen some Minn. Employees (public policy is made through democratic processes, not by employee complaints) analysis. And some government employee/govt speech analysis, given the employee's claims. Don't overlook the fact that the discussion was necessarily limited by the fact that the issue was not completely raised in the court below.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't just chime in to say "me too," but my thinking of those missing questions raises an interesting issue which I haven't seen treated anywhere:

Courts are increasingly recognizing "government speech," and similar rules based on government's image and reputation (here, for example, uniformity in appearance was thought to send messages of public confidence and neutrality, both of which have long been recognized as important government interests and which trump an individual employee's desires, no matter how heartfelt). But the policies from which the images and policies are derived may change over time. Has anyone done a chronological or other longitudinal analysis of the inter-related "government message" constitutional issues to see if those have changed over time, and attempted to see if there is some underlying constitutional theory which might be derived from the pattern of changes? Perhaps integrating the speech, religion, and other parts of this puzzle? Especially timely in light of the surging government speech doctrine these days. Summum and the like.

I have done something similar on a small scale in a variety of contexts (e.g., historical analysis of changes in recognition of citizenship under the 14th amendment), but I would think only an academic with significant research resources would be able to take on this type of global task. But the payoff might be significant if it illuminates some underlying doctrine behind these linked principles which would aid govt lawyers and judges who see these issues generally in isolation, dependent solely on litigants' skills and motivations.
4.8.2009 9:41am
resh (mail):
"Small-world" alert: Once I decided to jump aboard the legal train, my first job was as a parole/probation officer for Montgomery County, PA.

My third or fourth experience in the courtroom-for a Gagnon hearing-was before...you guessed it...Judge Scirica. Obviously, he was then still small potatoes, but his bona-fides hinted of a greater judicial destiny.

He reminds one, or so my memory allows, of Scalia (or, actuallly, in my case, the reverse.) Ditto their judicial temperament.
4.8.2009 9:43am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
This seems more like a issue of bad lawyering in the cases below. So many issues were not raised in the lower courts that this particular case doesn't really stand for much.

If lawyers had, for instance, raised constitutional issues at trial, they would have been addressed on appeal. As it stands, because they weren't raised, they could not be appealed.

It looks as though the court was saying, 'This case is a bad one. A better argued one in a lower court might have a better chance of succeeding.'
4.8.2009 9:46am
ASlyJD (mail):
It seems at least one element of the argument is that by allowing a Muslim woman to wear her scarf on duty, the populace will assume that she is incapable of performing her duty with equal respect to all citizens.

Would a similar rationale apply to a Jewish officer wearing a kippa, teichel, or snood?

My first impression is that this case is directly analogous to this one: Police Officer's Bears Set Off Constitutional Debate in which the court found that the rule against officers' beards must have a religious exception. United States v. City of Newark.
4.8.2009 9:53am
ASlyJD (mail):
*that's "Beards." Make your own joke about police with bears.
4.8.2009 9:55am
Kirk:
martinned,

D*mn, you let the genie out.

Seriously, though, I don't see why you think ignoring a problem will make it go away. And didn't I read that Wilder's party is now leading in opinion polls and that presumably if elections where held soon he might even end up being Prime Minister?

Or maybe you're just envious that we live somewhere that it is less an issue? I'd be the last person to urge you to abandon your native land, but if you did come to such a decision, a person of your caliber would be very welcome over here!
4.8.2009 9:55am
AJK:


My first impression is that this case is directly analogous to this one: Police Officer's Bears Set Off Constitutional Debate in which the court found that the rule against officers' beards must have a religious exception. United States v. City of Newark.


The Court felt the same way.
4.8.2009 10:00am
martinned (mail) (www):
@Kirk: I have no intention of ignoring anything. But there's no reason why islam should be political issue no. 1.

Wilders will never be PM, even if his party becomes the biggest party (doubtful). To become PM you need a coalition.
4.8.2009 10:02am
ASlyJD (mail):
ADK, it seems the court did not think it was directly analogous given as they distinguish between the two situations. (Though I will admit to foolishly not reading the opinion before I posted and being unaware that the case was cited in the opinion.)

Personally, I find the department's arguments unpersuasive. If every officer is supposed to demonstrate a complete lack of religious expression, cross pins should not be allowed either. In fact, given the variety of traditions that dictate that women should cover their hair (Traditional Judaism, Anabaptist Christianity, Islam), a snood like what is at issue is far more sensitive to cultural differences than a cross.
4.8.2009 10:21am
Bama 1L:
City of Newark is easily distinguishable, isn't it? In that case there was an explicit medical hardship exemption to the no-beard policy. (Some officers had previously established that they had skin conditions that were best treated by allowing them to grow short beards, and the department changed its rules to accommodate them.) The court said that if you allow a medical hardship exemption you have to allow a religious hardship exemption, because religious reasons are as important as medical reasons. In this case, no one was allowed to wear headscarves.

Now if there were albino officers who were allowed to wear "Invisible Man" outfits on medical grounds, Webb would have won under City of Newark.
4.8.2009 10:46am
ArthurKirkland:
This decision appeared to assume that a police department could ban a cross pin (and, likely, any other pin not issued by the department).

This type of case usually saddens me. Good people who want to be police officers chafe against rules prohibiting the wearing of ashes on the forehead, a Jewish headcovering, a Muslim headcovering, a cross pin, a Star of David pin, and the like. The department believes it must enforce uniform (uniform) policies (which means no winking at certain violations, of course). There is no win-win resolution.

This court appears to have reached a thoughtful, just conclusion -- if it doesn't permit the department to avert its eyes with respect to other violations of the uniform (uniform) policy.
4.8.2009 10:49am
martinned (mail) (www):
@ArthurKirkland: I suppose certain violations of Directive 78 would be de minimis. I don't read this ruling as requiring a strict no-common sense enforcement of the dress code. After all, in the end it all depends on whether a certain accomodation would be an "undue hardship", so some common sense is still allowed.
4.8.2009 11:09am
ASlyJD (mail):
Agreed, Arthur. Especially when such rules are justified under a "the public is too stupid to trust a person with minor religious accommodations to the uniform" rationale.

And really, what better way could one demonstrate a commitment to the concept of "equal treatment under law" than by having officers of all religious backgrounds in law enforcement?
4.8.2009 11:17am
rosetta's stones:
"Both economic and non-economic costs can pose an undue hardship upon employers; the latter category includes, for example, violations of the seniority provision of a collective bargaining agreement and the threat of possible criminal sanctions."
........................................

Hmmmmmmm, so evidently, the law places a collective bargaining agreement above the practice of a religious belief.

I take no position on any of this, other than to point out this: The law is an ass.
4.8.2009 11:21am
martinned (mail) (www):
@rosetta's stones: Remember, in US law constitutional rights generally do not work horizontally. They only tend to govern the relationship between the government and the individual. This provision of the Civil Rights Act is an exception to that. No matter how important the values underlying the first amendment are, Congress would always be extremely reluctant to force them into the horizontal relationship between employer and employee against their wishes. So yes, a previous legal obligation that is the result of collective bargaining legitimately enters into the undue hardship analysis.
4.8.2009 11:40am
Aultimer:

ASlyJD (mail):
Especially when such rules are justified under a "the public is too stupid to trust a person with minor religious accommodations to the uniform" rationale.

Syl Johnson has it right, and isn't treating the public as stupid. Uniforms are supposed to be, um, uniform.

Is it unreasonable assume that a police officer wearing the standard uniform plus an obviously Muslim headpiece isn't a standard police officer, but rather a special Muslim police officer? Does it help to imagine you are a Korean Christian shopowner reporting a hijab-wearing African-descent lady for shoplifting?
4.8.2009 12:07pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I actually agree with the ruling. I think it is a legitimate goal of law enforcement to project a uniform image where police officers are not tied to an ideology. If medical exceptions are allowed (in the case of beards), then if you see a police officer with a beard you don't know whether or not this is a religious matter or not. On the other hand, when the issue is that of a readily identifiable religious symbol, I think there is a difference.

A lot of it goes to the appearance of impartiality and fairness.
4.8.2009 12:12pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

This type of case usually saddens me. Good people who want to be police officers chafe against rules prohibiting the wearing of ashes on the forehead, a Jewish headcovering, a Muslim headcovering, a cross pin, a Star of David pin, and the like. The department believes it must enforce uniform (uniform) policies (which means no winking at certain violations, of course). There is no win-win resolution.

Not so. Some day, perhaps people won't believe that wearing trinkets or hair styles or forehead ashes is pleasing to, or required by, an entirely imaginary omniscient celestial being. That will be a win-win.

A man can dream.
4.8.2009 12:18pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Aultimer:

Is it a more unreasonable assumption than to assume that an officer with a cross pin is the department chaplain or in a special "Christian" unit? /snark

On the off chance that a person assumes she (or another person wearing a religious garment) on a special "Muslim/religious issues task force", wouldn't it be better for society if that assumption could be refuted by her actual performance?

In a similar vein, should only black police officers respond to calls made by blacks (and white officers for whites, Latino for Latino, etc.) to avoid charges that the officer only acted the way he or she did because she was racist? Or should a cop be a cop be a cop, and looking slightly different when in uniform be irrelevant? (After all, if a uniform appearance was truly a priority, police departments would use Rockette-like requirements for joining.)
Accommodating people's fears about such prejudice seems more likely to confirm that the department shares them than that those fears are baseless.

Furthermore, does the winter officer uniform contain a scarf? If so, we're back into Newark territory of not making exceptions for religious expression. (And if it doesn't, I guess the beat cops get really cold. This is Philly, after all.)
4.8.2009 12:52pm
gasman (mail):
What part of the word uniform do people not understand.
The less uniform the appearance of the police the less readily identifiable they will be. And it is the size and visibility of the non-uniform object that does matter. The jewish underwear tassel or cross tucked into the shirt is much more discrete and less likely to distract from the observation that the person is a member of a uniformed group than a do-rag like object on the head.
The head scarf is as distracting as Scotty's star fleet dress uniform kilt. And lacking uniform rules, what's to stop a scottish cop from demanding his right to wear a kilt.
4.8.2009 1:05pm
The Unbeliever:
Furthermore, does the winter officer uniform contain a scarf? If so, we're back into Newark territory of not making exceptions for religious expression.
If everyone on the force is allowed to wear a scarf around their neck, how does that trip any kind of exception? I suppose it might matter if you had a religious objection to wearing scarves or covering your neck, but I'm not aware of any religion with that particular rule. (And I doubt any "warming" element on a police uniform would be mandatory anyway, including gloves or a ski cap.))

(After all, if a uniform appearance was truly a priority, police departments would use Rockette-like requirements for joining.)
Surely intelligent people can agree there is a legitimate middle ground between Casual Fridays, and firings for being 1 pound overweight. As cited in the opinion, strict uniformity as part of an effort to project neutrality is entirely reasonable.
4.8.2009 1:10pm
wfjag:
At first I thought that the Philly PD was going a little over the top. It ain't Mayberry, but how strongly will people react to a woman policeman ("policeperson" ?) wearing a Muslim headscarf. The answer was not long in coming:

Muslim Girl Gets $400G From Nevada School District in Head Scarf Bully Case
Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Nevada school district agreed to pay $400,000 to a Muslim girl and her friend over allegations that other students threatened to kill her in the stairwell for wearing a religious head scarf and the staff did nothing to stop it.

The Washoe County School District in the Reno area will give Egyptian former student Jana Elhifny $350,000 and her non-Muslim friend and supporter Stephanie Hart $50,000 as part of the civil settlement.

Elhifny and her family came to Reno from Egypt in 2003, and the girl enrolled as a freshman at North Valleys High School.

She didn't finish the year after she told teachers and administrators that someone had threatened to kill her in the stairwell because of her Muslim hijab or head scarf, the district's independent attorney in the case, Robert Cox, told FOXNews.com.

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,513221,00.html

Apparently, some people do get very upset at such things. It's tough enough being a cop. No need to give the crazies additional reasons to want to kill you.
4.8.2009 1:21pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Agreed, the Rockette line was a bit of hyperbole.

In referring to winter scarves, I was trying to point out that if beat cops are allowed to wear a scarf in harsh conditions, an officer should be allowed to wear a scarf year round for religious purposes. And not allowing beat cops to wear scarves in the winter seems a foolish decision in a climate like Philly's.
4.8.2009 1:31pm
ShelbyC:

I think it is a legitimate goal of law enforcement to project a uniform image where police officers are not tied to an ideology.



even if that image is a lie? Because this woman, and many other officers, does have an indeolgy. It's a legitimate goal of law enforcement to conceal that fact?
4.8.2009 1:38pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
On the issue of scarves in winter, if the uniform regulations do allow for such, I would imagine that the scarf in question would be part of the code. And I'm not sure that a regulated neck scarf is particularly analagous to a partially head covering scarf.
4.8.2009 1:41pm
ASlyJD (mail):
wfjag,

I agree that crazies are definitely out there. In that case, I'm wondering why, if the threat was serious enough to justify dropping out of school and suing the school district, charges and suits were not pressed against the offending student.

If a person feels a need to kill to cop over that cop's attire choices, the PD should rally behind the cop, not use that excuse to prevent the officer from complying with religious dictates. Of course, the officer would be well advised to weigh whether complying is worth the additional physical risk, but that decision shouldn't be forced by the department.
4.8.2009 1:41pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
As a para-military entity

A para-military entity? Other than Mayor Goode ordering C-4 dropped on a city neighborhood, what ever gave the court that idea?

For once, a common sense decision on an issue such as this.
4.8.2009 1:44pm
Ben P:

Is it a more unreasonable assumption than to assume that an officer with a cross pin is the department chaplain or in a special "Christian" unit? /snark

On the off chance that a person assumes she (or another person wearing a religious garment) on a special "Muslim/religious issues task force", wouldn't it be better for society if that assumption could be refuted by her actual performance?



As someone who does some prosecuting work, I think it's worth remembering how much power police officers actually have.

Particularly with minor crimes, the vast majority of charges are based solely on the word of the arresting officer alone. Video cameras etc have improved this some, but a lot of interactions happen outside where videos are taken.

In any of these incidents if the defendant disputes something about the encounter, it comes down to "the officer says X happened" and "The defendant says Y happened." And that's pretty much the way it plays out all the time.

As someone representing the state, I have to believe that the officer's being truthful and completely ethical in his reporting of the incident, and that's how I present it in court.

But even a hint of evidence or even plausible suspicion that the officer is not being completely truthful and you take a major brick out how I perceive the fairness of the case.

If you have a police officer who ostentatiously wears a religious emblem on his uniform (a cross pin for example) and then a defendant (who is perhaps conspicuously of a different religion) accuses him of writing something misleading or false on the police report, how am i supposed to determine if there's any merit to the claim? The sole evidence is "he said she said" and my siding with one person over the other is based almost entirely on the fact that one swears an oath to uphold the law.
4.8.2009 2:05pm
luagha:
>Not so. Some day, perhaps people won't believe that wearing trinkets or hair styles or forehead ashes is pleasing to, or required by, an entirely imaginary omniscient celestial being. That will be a win-win.
A man can dream.
---

Actually, Judaic teaching makes it very clear that the wearing of trinkets or hair styles and such is not required by God who being omniscient and so forth is well past such adulatory requirements. Rather, it is for us, to remind us that there are things in this universe larger than us, and to aid us in controlling our own ego.
4.8.2009 2:09pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Ben P.,

You make a good point. But doesn't the same issue arise when the difference between cop and defendant is racial or ethnic instead of religious? We don't ask that cops paint themselves blue to demonstrate that they have no racial identity, we don't require them to abbreviate their names to initials that have no ethnic identity, so why should we require them to remove all signs of religious identity?
4.8.2009 2:20pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ShelbyC:

even if that image is a lie? Because this woman, and many other officers, does have an indeolgy. It's a legitimate goal of law enforcement to conceal that fact?


Yes. The officer of the law is supposed to do his or her duty in a way which is not governed by ideology. The law should be above this ideology as a matter of how the job is executed.

Saying "I can't separate my religion from my job as a law enforcement officer" is a clear way of saying "I shouldn't be in law enforcement in a religiously pluralistic society." I wouldn't worry about a police officer who happens to be Mulsim responding to a robbery at a liquor store. However, if that officer has previously stated that the religion is not separate from the job, I would then worry quite a bit.
4.8.2009 2:58pm
Elijah:
"Some day, perhaps people won't believe that wearing trinkets or hair styles or forehead ashes is pleasing to, or required by, an entirely imaginary omniscient celestial being. That will be a win-win.

A man can dream."

Or, some day (soon one hopes) the messiah will come and then we'll all know what to do...
4.8.2009 3:15pm
whit:

A para-military entity? Other than Mayor Goode ordering C-4 dropped on a city neighborhood, what ever gave the court that idea?



police agencies have been paramilitary for a long time before balko was even BORN. are you seriously denying that police are paramilitary, or that this is somehow even debatable?

let's look at this objectively, not hysterically

1) they wear uniforms.
2) these uniforms are actually quite similar to military uniforms. common features are - epaulets, name tags, badges, medals, ribbons, utility belt
3) they have rank structure
4) police rank structure closely follows military rank structure - sgt., lt., captain, etc.
5) they swear an oath
6) they work for the govt.
etc.

none of those in and of themselves make police paramilitary. but nobody with a brain would deny that police are paramilitary, have been so for a very long time, etc.
4.8.2009 3:30pm
whit:

Personally, I find the department's arguments unpersuasive. If every officer is supposed to demonstrate a complete lack of religious expression, cross pins should not be allowed either.


i agree. they shouldn't. my agency certainly doesn't allow them.

on duty officers have complete freedom to wear whatever religious garb/jewelry they want as long as it is not VISIBLE to the public. i am pretty sure god can see through a wool uniform and underarmour shirt.

but the idea that an officer should be allowed to walk around expressing his particular religion is truly wrong and has no part in police work.

people are right, cops are not completely uniform in appearance. we don't require white officers to go tanning and black officers to bleach their skin. duh. but can people recognize a difference between religious symbols (which you can choose to wear or not and which represent ideology) vs. skin color? i would hope so.

otoh, i have known officers to use religious imagery and ideas during interrogation. that's a completely different issue. if i am interrogating somebody whom i know is a devout catholic, etc. should i be allowed to bring aspects of that into my interrogation? of course. i can bring all sorts of stuff into an interrogation.
4.8.2009 3:40pm
AJK:

You make a good point. But doesn't the same issue arise when the difference between cop and defendant is racial or ethnic instead of religious? We don't ask that cops paint themselves blue to demonstrate that they have no racial identity, we don't require them to abbreviate their names to initials that have no ethnic identity, so why should we require them to remove all signs of religious identity?


That is a potential issue. But the fact that we can't fix EVERY problem surely doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to fix ANY problems.

I'm not sure that this policy is a good one. It appears that many police departments have decided differently. But I think the policy makes enough sense that it's clearly not illegal under Title VII.
4.8.2009 3:48pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Whit,

The Civil Rights Act classifies color, sex, and national origin as well as religion as factors against which one cannot discriminate. Yes, religion is not an immutable quality, but neither are color and sex in this brave new world. If one's religious garments are as much of one's identity as one's sex and skin color, why is the wearing of those garments not protected?
4.8.2009 3:57pm
hazemyth:
"If you have a police officer who ostentatiously wears a religious emblem on his uniform (a cross pin for example) and then a defendant (who is perhaps conspicuously of a different religion) accuses him of writing something misleading or false on the police report, how am i supposed to determine if there's any merit to the claim? The sole evidence is "he said she said" and my siding with one person over the other is based almost entirely on the fact that one swears an oath to uphold the law."

Merit would require proof, presumably. Racial analogies apply. Would we be inclined to distrust a white police officer accusing a black defendant? Not that racial discrimination hasn't corrupted criminal cases -- but it can't be assumed based on the participants' race alone.
4.8.2009 4:00pm
ASlyJD (mail):
AJK: I can see your point--while I obviously don't like the rule, the PD is not so clearly out of line that a judge ought be compelled by his judicial conscience to rule against the PD.
4.8.2009 4:08pm
hazemyth:
At issue is the use of uniformity to instill a perception of impartiality in the public mind. I readily agree that a ban on religious regalia is useful to this end. But if religious hardship prevents orthodox sects from enlisting in the police force, doesn't the resulting, skewed cross-section of officers undermine their public image?

Some might say that is should not. I'm not so sure. While officers, whatever, their cultural origin, should conform to objective regulations, they're still people. Diversity, by ensuring that officers work intimately with others of all creeds and colors, helps foster empathy and cosmopolitanism in those people. A systemic lack of diversity, even when unintentional, is a misfortune.
4.8.2009 4:09pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Here's what the US Military says on the issue:

DODD-1300.17

A. REISSUANCE AND PURPOSE
This Directive reissues reference (a) and, pursuant to references (b) and (c), prescribes policy, procedures, and responsibilities for the accommodation of religious practices in the Military Services.



C. POLICY

A basic principle of our nation is free exercise of religion. The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the Armed Forces to observe the tenets of their respective religions. It is DoD policy that requests for accommodation of religious practices should be approved by commanders when accommodation will not have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, standards or discipline.
The following goals are to be used by the Military Departments in the development of guidance on the exercise of command discretion concerning the accommodation of religious practices. Nothing in these goals or in the implementing rules of the Military Departments (except when expressly provided therein) shall be interpreted as requiring a specific form of accommodation in individual circumstances.

[some material ommitted.]

e. The Military Departments should develop a statement advising of DoD policy on individual religious practices and military requirements to applicants for commissioning, enlistment, and reenlistment.

f. Religious items or articles not visible or otherwise apparent may be worn with the uniform, provided they shall not interfere with the performance of the member's military duties, as discussed in subparagraph C.2.g.(5), below, or interfere with the proper wearing of any authorized article of the uniform.

g. Under Public Law 100-180, section 508 (reference (c)), members of the Armed Forces may wear visible items of religious apparel while in uniform, except under circumstances in which an item is not neat and conservative or its wearing shall interfere with the performance of the member's military duties.

Under this Directive, "religious apparel" is defined as articles of clothing worn as part of the doctrinal or traditional observance of the religious faith practiced by the member. Hair and grooming practices required or observed by religious groups are not included within the meaning of religious apparel. Jewelry bearing religious inscriptions or otherwise indicating religious affiliation or belief is subject to existing Service uniform regulations just as jewelry that is not of a religious nature.
In the context of the wearing of a military uniform, "neat and conservative" items of religious apparel are those that:
(a) Are discreet, tidy, and not dissonant or showy in style, size, design, brightness, or color.

(b) Do not replace or interfere with the proper wearing of any authorized article of the uniform.

(c) Are not temporarily or permanently affixed or appended to any authorized article of the uniform.

The standards in subparagraph C.2.g.(2), above, are intended to serve as a basis for determining a member's entitlement under Public Law 100- 180, section 508 (reference (c)), to wear religious apparel with the uniform. For example, unless prohibited by subparagraph C.2.g.(6), below, a Jewish yarmulke may be worn with the uniform whenever a military cap, hat, or other headgear is not prescribed. A yarmulke may also be worn underneath military headgear as long as it does not interfere with the proper wearing, functioning, or appearance of the prescribed headgear.
Exceptions to the standards in subparagraph C.2.g.(2), above, and other special accommodations for members of particular religious groups may be granted by the Military Departments under section D., below.
Whether an item of religious apparel interferes with the performance of the member's military duties depends on the characteristics of the item, the circumstances of its intended wear, and the particular nature of the member's duties. Factors in determining if an item of religious apparel interferes with military duties include, but are not limited to, whether the item may:
(a) Impair the safe and effective operation of weapons, military equipment, or machinery.

(b) Pose a health or safety hazard to the wearer or others.

(c) Interfere with the wearing or proper functioning of special or protective clothing or equipment (e.g., helmets, flack jackets, flight suits, camouflaged uniforms, gas masks, wet suits, and crash and rescue equipment).

(d) Otherwise impair the accomplishment of the military mission.

A complete prohibition on the wearing of any visible items of religious apparel may be appropriate under unique circumstances in which the member's duties, the military mission, or the maintenance of discipline require absolute uniformity. For example, members may be prohibited from wearing visible religious apparel while wearing historical or ceremonial uniforms; participating in review formations, parades, honor or color guards, and similar ceremonial details and functions.


As I'm reading this, an American Muslim soldier could generally wear hijab.
4.8.2009 4:20pm
whit:

The Civil Rights Act classifies color, sex, and national origin as well as religion as factors against which one cannot discriminate. Yes, religion is not an immutable quality, but neither are color and sex in this brave new world. If one's religious garments are as much of one's identity as one's sex and skin color, why is the wearing of those garments not protected?


it IS protected. OFF duty.

my membership in a political party, and my ability to use political speech is protected too.

do you think that means i have the right to wear a big "OBAMA/BIDEN for president" emblem on my uniform?

get real.
4.8.2009 4:21pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Whit:

I think the key question is visible manifestation of ideology. Would people feel comfortable with officers investigating a liquor store robbery to be individuals who both hold, as a religious matter, that consumption of alcohol is wrong and who also hold, as a religious matter, that their religion is an integral part of the individual's work life and thus not separate from his/her duties as a law enforcement officer? Wouldn't the perception of bias be quite reasonable in that case?

I think the perception of bias is a very clear one. We don't ask officers to give up their ideologies in order to serve. We ask them to give up their ideologies while they are on duty. This is a key issue. Those who cannot separate their religious ideologies from their law enforcement duties should not be serving.
4.8.2009 4:31pm
whit:

I think the key question is visible manifestation of ideology.


correct. cops should not wear political pins, and cops should not wear religious garb ON DUTY.

for the same reasons.

and we don't, contrary to your claim, ask that cops "give up their ideologies" on duty. we demand that they not visibly MANIFEST those ideologies, for a # of reasons.

like i said, my agency allows you to wear any religious garment/jewelry/symbol you want , as should be constitutionally protected, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC.

similarly, a cop who happens to be a democrat does not have to give up his ideology. but he cannot wear a pin proclaiming his membership in a political party on his uniform.

it's really not a difficult concept. imo, only a lawyer could entertain the idea that it's ok for a person to walk around in a police uniform visibly displaying their religious affiliation
4.8.2009 4:36pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Whit,

Free speech doesn't have Title VII protection. Religion does. One can fire a person because he exercises his right to free speech; one cannot fire or otherwise discriminate against a person for exercising his right to freedom of religion, except in cases where that exercise creates more than a de minimus burden to the employer.

I'm arguing that letting a woman cover her head is a protected religious expression, that it is a de minimus burden, and that it is just as deserving of protection as the de minimus crosses on the uniforms of other officers, a religious expression the court distinguished from her scarf.

Trust me--I am being real. If I was not, I would be a gnome fire magician launching fireballs at trolls. World of Warcraft addictions are dangerous things.
4.8.2009 4:44pm
Ben P:

Merit would require proof, presumably. Racial analogies apply. Would we be inclined to distrust a white police officer accusing a black defendant? Not that racial discrimination hasn't corrupted criminal cases -- but it can't be assumed based on the participants' race alone.


If had a dollar for every time I've explained to a pro-se defendant in the initial plea bargaining process "well the officer on the scene thought that [you were drunk, at fault etc) and decided to [write you the ticket/arrest you].

Yes, the possibility of an officer being racist and it affecting defendants explicitly or otherwise is a potential problem. But I think someone above nailed it when they said just because you can't solve every problem doesn't mean you shouldn't try to solve some. We can fairly easily try to restrain overt displays of religious or political belief, but can't easily change race.

When the only evidence is the officer's testimony, any potential bias on the part of the officer is a concern. Any number of characteristics on the part of an officer could lead to bias, and I'd think we'd try to mitigate them where we can. That's where the idea of reasonable accommodations and undue hardship comes in.


Also,just incidentally, in my experience African American defendants are just as, if not strangely more likely, to claim racism on the part of an African American police officer than a white one.
4.8.2009 4:47pm
whit:

I'm arguing that letting a woman cover her head is a protected religious expression, that it is a de minimus burden, and that it is just as deserving of protection as the de minimus crosses on the uniforms of other officers, a religious expression the court distinguished from her scarf.



and i would argue that NEITHER shoud be protected.

i am surprised crosses on uniforms are constitutionally protected, and imo they clearly should not be.
4.8.2009 4:47pm
whit:

Also,just incidentally, in my experience African American defendants are just as, if not strangely more likely, to claim racism on the part of an African American police officer than a white one.



not surprising at all. look at how supposed tolerant liberals (black and white) treat black conservatives.

i recall during n30 standing next to a black partner and having several people calling him a "f****** ni****r" for about 15 minutes.

mcdonald at city journal has broken down the statistics endlessly (in debunking racial profiling, etc.) but it is always about image over reality.

so when a black criminal is treated like a ... black criminal by a black cop, it's double plus ungood.
4.8.2009 4:52pm
ASlyJD (mail):
einfverfr,

Are you arguing that a person who thinks alcohol is immoral therefore, as a matter of religious principle, cannot fairly investigate theft or destruction of property if the victim in question sells alcohol?

Do cops who don't approve of porn routinely ignore theft and vandalism of pornography providers?

The fact that one wears a symbol that says "I disagree with what you do for a living" does not mean that one cannot do his job fairly.
4.8.2009 5:00pm
wfjag:
ASlyJD wrote:

I agree that crazies are definitely out there. In that case, I'm wondering why, if the threat was serious enough to justify dropping out of school and suing the school district, charges and suits were not pressed against the offending student.

I wondered that too. But, $400K isn't a cost of defense settlement, and apparently there was no confidentiality clause in the settlement, so the school board either didn't object to the amount becoming public, or didn't have a strong enough case to insist on non-disclosure. Also, if the offending student was a minor, any charges would have gone through the juvie system and are protected against disclosure. There is obviously a "rest of the story" there.


As I'm reading this, an American Muslim soldier could generally wear hijab.

Actually, I read DoD Directive-1300.17 as doing that. Para. C.f states:

f. Religious items or articles not visible or otherwise apparent may be worn with the uniform, provided they shall not interfere with the performance of the member's military duties, as discussed in subparagraph C.2.g.(5), below, or interfere with the proper wearing of any authorized article of the uniform.

(emphasis added). A hijab is generally visible. Also, the time allotted to don and clear a gas mask is about 8 seconds. A hijab would prevent the mask from sealing tightly all around the face. Even in garrison, military units train -- and one thing that is done is to require Soldiers, Marines, etc., to carry their gas masks with them at all times they are in a field uniform (ACUs the Army, etc.) and don and clear gas masks when the signal is given. It's interesting watching a mess hall of young troops react when a 1st SGT yells "Gas, gas, gas!" and times it with a stop watch, and then at the end of the time, yells "Stop, everyone who hasn't got their gas mask on and cleared, stand up and go to the __ side of the room." The next announcement is "Dead people don't get weekend passes over the holiday. They do remedial training." So while "may" in that Para. is permissive, it also permits saying "No."
4.8.2009 5:26pm
ASlyJD (mail):
On rereading, einfverfr, I think you mean that the general populace may answer yes to the questions above.

Still, should we accept those attitudes as immutable and deny officers their Title VII rights on the basis of those attitudes? If people don't trust visibly religious people, perhaps we should provide counter-examples to help change such attitudes.

(I'm also all for harsh punishment of anyone caught letting their beliefs affect their performance.)
4.8.2009 5:27pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ASlyJD:

Are you arguing that a person who thinks alcohol is immoral therefore, as a matter of religious principle, cannot fairly investigate theft or destruction of property if the victim in question sells alcohol?


No.

I am saying that someone who thinks that alcohol is immoral as a matter of religious principle AND ALSO thinks that religion cannot be separated from the job functions cannot be impartial.

If someone says "my religion teaches that alcohol is immoral, but my duties to the law are more important and are fully separable" that is a very different matter. Saying "I must show off my religious ideology while on duty" is saying "I can't make this separation."

Does this make sense?
4.8.2009 5:35pm
ASlyJD (mail):
And honestly, wfjag, I wouldn't necessarily mind the department saying no, in the same kind of context as the military's requirements.

But here, the police department isn't saying it interferes with her duties. They're arguing that having people in uniform variants is bad per se, that having an officer easily identifiable as a Muslim makes the department look biased in a way that officers sporting a Christian symbol do not. And they're arguing this in spite of laws and cases that support an employee's right to religious expression that causes a de minimus burden.

Without a showing of increased danger (targeted attacks, interference in peripheral vision, handhold in hand to hand combat) and with a seemingly hypocritical assumption of departmental bias, I find this argument unpersuasive.
4.8.2009 5:47pm
Kirk:
Wilders will never be PM, even if his party becomes the biggest party (doubtful). To become PM you need a coalition.
You're saying that even if his party ends up with a plurality, no other party will join them?
4.8.2009 5:52pm
wfjag:

But here, the police department isn't saying it interferes with her duties. They're arguing that having people in uniform variants is bad per se, that having an officer easily identifiable as a Muslim makes the department look biased in a way that officers sporting a Christian symbol do not. And they're arguing this in spite of laws and cases that support an employee's right to religious expression that causes a de minimus burden.

I think someone else made the point that a lot of issues weren't raised and the facts weren't developed in the trial court. That may be the problem.

(&FYI, I'm being a Devil's Advocate here, since I pretty much agree with you in the context of a police department, even a place as violent as Philly. I think that the Philly PD is over-reaching, and got lucky in the trial court when the woman's attorney failed to aggressively press her case. It ain't true that the quality of the advocacy isn't important).
4.8.2009 6:08pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ASlyJD:

But here, the police department isn't saying it interferes with her duties. They're arguing that having people in uniform variants is bad per se, that having an officer easily identifiable as a Muslim makes the department look biased in a way that officers sporting a Christian symbol do not. And they're arguing this in spite of laws and cases that support an employee's right to religious expression that causes a de minimus burden.


Hmmm... Having read the opinion... How does this quote from the case undermine your criticism?


In a similar case, a sister court of appeals determined "[a]
police department cannot be forced to let individual officers add
religious symbols to their official uniforms." Daniels v. City of
Arlington, 246 F.3d 500, 506 (5th Cir. 2001). In Daniels, a
police officer refused to remove a gold cross pin on his uniform,
in non-compliance with a no-pins official policy. Id. at 501.
4.8.2009 7:16pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

I think someone else made the point that a lot of issues weren't raised and the facts weren't developed in the trial court. That may be the problem.


This was a summary judgement case. Looking to the cited references, I can't find a problem.
4.8.2009 7:19pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

Actually, Judaic teaching makes it very clear that the wearing of trinkets or hair styles and such is not required by God who being omniscient and so forth is well past such adulatory requirements. Rather, it is for us, to remind us that there are things in this universe larger than us, and to aid us in controlling our own ego.


I sit corrected. Okay, take two:

Perhaps some day, people won't believe that wearing trinkets or hair styles or forehead ashes is a useful way to remind themselves of the existence of a non-existent omniscient celestial being. Nor will they need to wear trinkets or hair styles to aid them in controlling their egos. That will be a win-win.

A man can still dream.
4.8.2009 7:58pm
hazemyth:
I think this debate has actually reversed my opinion, too. I came in staunchly on the side of uniform dress. I certainly appreciate the value of police impartiality in both substance and appearance. But I'm less and less sure that it outweighs the question of religious hardship.

We're not concerned about the officer's ability to materially perform her job. Nor are we worried about the officer's ability to set aside her religious beliefs to impartially execute the law. The argument seems to be that visible religious affiliation might make the impartiality of an officer seem suspect to some persons.

The more I think about this, the more I wonder specifically why this might be. I mean, we can easily infer that the officer has some sort of religious affiliation (since most people do) with or without the regalia. Is the problem that the regalia declares her specific affiliation and thus renders her suspicious to those biased against that affiliation? In which case, is the policy catering to that bias? And if such a policy is a barrier to orthodox sectarians entering the police force, are such biases being indirectly transformed into de facto discriminatory hiring policies?

I don't like the idea that a traditional muslim woman can't join the force because some putative Islamaphobe won't trust her impartiality as a result of her hijab. Then prejudice wins the day. Isn't preventing that sort of thing the point of the religious hardship test.
4.8.2009 8:12pm
geokstr:

ASlyJD (mail):
einfverfr,

Are you arguing that a person who thinks alcohol is immoral therefore, as a matter of religious principle, cannot fairly investigate theft or destruction of property if the victim in question sells alcohol?

Do cops who don't approve of porn routinely ignore theft and vandalism of pornography providers?

The fact that one wears a symbol that says "I disagree with what you do for a living" does not mean that one cannot do his job fairly.

Oh really?

Muslims can't even be cab drivers without letting their religious beliefs prevent them from providing their services to anybody carrying alcohol or a dog, even blind people. :
Muslim cab drivers lose round in court

Even after signing employment agreements that specifically stated they may have to handle pork when working in a meat plant, they sued anyway and won a 7 figure settlement that included daily prayer breaks:
Overlawyered

But you think they could be impartial in performing police duties, when literally everything in or about this culture offends them?

What next, footbaths in all the police and fire station houses, 5 daily prayer breaks at the times of their choosing, maybe aligning the beds in the firehouses towards Mecca? This is lawfare, attempting to gradually enforce their beliefs on their host countries.

I'll bet the Brits didn't see coming what is happening to them now either. But they had a generation head start on us. Now they've even added the hijab to the fire fighters approved uniforms:
Now fire service introduces hijab headscarves for Muslim workers

Each little bit we "accomodate" Muslims just emboldens them to go for the next step. They are not here to assimilate or become Americans. I'll bet the same people who strongly support this are also the ones who think Xtians are the real threat to our freedoms.
4.8.2009 8:25pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
hazemyth:
The question to my mind is whether a law enforcement officer (of any sort) can set aside religious views in the course of his duties. Many people don't feel that they should have to set that aside and when it materially affects duties, that person shouldn't join the force.

For example, if I were a Quaker and became a police officer, and objected religiously to carrying any weapons, you would laugh at me and rightly so.

Similarly, there would be concern about cases in other fields where people claim freedom of conscience to selectively follow it. Pharmacists who claim that they don't have to distribute morning-after pills, etc. These things all undermine the idea that someone who feels compelled to show off his/her religion will be materially affected by it, or at least that such a concern wouldn't be unreasonable.
4.8.2009 8:30pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
geokstr:

I am not saying that all Muslims can't make such a distinction any more than I would say that all Christians pharmacists will refuse to dispense emergency contraception. However, when people insist on a lack of distinction between duties to society and their religious duties, then they should not take jobs of any sort as public servants.
4.8.2009 9:26pm
ArthurKirkland:
It has been worthwhile to read that decision, follow the comments and consider the issues concerning uniform uniforms. I see a reasonable argument for permitting at least some religious clothing or symbols. I see a stronger argument for forbidding visible religious signals. Items not visible to the public -- Mormon undergarments, trinkets, tattoos, a "Keith Richards Is God" T-shirt -- seem to be fair game unless they limit mobility or create a similar problem. I do not understand thinking that would accept a cross (or Star of David) pin, or ashes on the forehead, but reject a Muslim headcovering.
4.8.2009 9:40pm
ArthurKirkland:
Some Muslims are offended by alcohol, pork and other items to a point at which it limits their ability to be effective in some contexts in our society. (Perhaps some are offended by our society in general, just as some people believe the United States to be a sinful nation of baby-killers and Simpsons-watchers.)

Some Christians believe they can not (or at least prefer not to) hand a pharmacy customer a box containing morning-after pills or standard contraceptives; this limits their effectiveness in some contexts in our society.

Some Jews believe a cheeseburger or shrimp cocktail to be an abomination; this limits their ability to be effective in some contexts in our society.

I don't have all the answers, but assimilation and tolerance strike me as the important goals. "My/our religion is better" arguments don't interest me.
4.8.2009 9:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ArthurKirkland:

I do not understand thinking that would accept a cross (or Star of David) pin, or ashes on the forehead, but reject a Muslim headcovering.


I didn't think that the opinion showed this thinking. In fact it was built on cases where cross pins were banned.
4.8.2009 9:55pm
ASlyJD (mail):
But you think they could be impartial in performing police duties, when literally everything in or about this culture offends them?


Geokstr, I think a woman who was apparently able to be impartial performing police duties for seven years is still capable of impartially performing police duties while wearing a piece of cloth on her head.

Do I think injustice is done in the name of "tolerating Islam"? Yes. But is that what is happening in this case? Not in my opinion. (That meat packing decision is heinous.)

einhverfr, I think you are making an assumption that isn't warranted by the facts. Does wanting to wear a headscarf equate with lack of desire to enforce justice? Clearly, she feels that her Muslim identity requires her to make some waves about uniforms, but does that conviction also mean she can't do her job?

As an analogy, I wear a wedding ring and feel strongly enough about doing so that I would require significant, justly enforced rationales in order to take it off in a work setting. Does highly valuing that religious/cultural symbol of marriage prevent me from dealing with single, divorced, fornicating, or adulterous clients fairly?

When one's religious principles go against a fundamental work responsibility, allowing that religious expression goes well beyond a de minimum burden and should not be allowed. But we're back to whether allowing religious clothing is a de minimus burden. My position on that question should be obvious by now. :)
4.8.2009 10:02pm
ArthurKirkland:
The decision appeared to assume that cross pins were out of bounds. I was referring to some comments.
4.8.2009 10:35pm
glangston (mail):
I think it was 2004 that two Sikh Policemen in NYC were re-instated with the right to wear their turban.
4.8.2009 11:32pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

einhverfr, I think you are making an assumption that isn't warranted by the facts. Does wanting to wear a headscarf equate with lack of desire to enforce justice? Clearly, she feels that her Muslim identity requires her to make some waves about uniforms, but does that conviction also mean she can't do her job?


I think it creates a reasonable concern in that regard. Certainly there will be exceptions or not, but the interests in ensuring that the people don't have reasonable concern as to whether police are going to be treating them differently due to stated ideologies is an important one.

Here is a parallel I would like to bring up. Suppose you had a police officer who had a spotless record, often worked Chinatown etc. had a good reputation for otherwise being fair. Suppose it came out that the individual was also a member of the KKK. Clearly his membership didn't materially interfere with his duties, but public display of that membership IMO would because people would be *reasonably* concerned that he wouldn't be fair.


Does highly valuing that religious/cultural symbol of marriage prevent me from dealing with single, divorced, fornicating, or adulterous clients fairly?


What is the religious basis for the symbol? I always assumed it was a pagan symbol (which is why I wear a wedding ring which I usually remove when working on low voltage/high amp circuits and the like for safety reasons that should be obvious). However, this is somewhat different here in that a symbol of personal commitment to someone else which is only loosely coupled with a specific ideology (how many atheists do you know? How many of them wear wedding rings?), and where those duties do not conflict with duties to the state, then that is not an issue.

These are different cases. Furthermore does a wedding ring really send a message about your moral views about divorce?
4.8.2009 11:37pm
geokstr:

ArthurKirkland:

I don't have all the answers, but assimilation and tolerance strike me as the important goals. "My/our religion is better" arguments don't interest me.

I have followed the stealth jihad fairly closely in the last several years. In Europe it is very advanced, but all they are doing there is proving that their attempts at appeasement and accomodation mean nothing to Muslims. It is clear that they do not desire to assimilate, and the only intolerance is coming from them, towards their host countries.

I'm an atheist, so the "my/our religion" argument doesn't interest me either. All I know is that there is only one religion that states very clearly their goals, and that is to subjugate or convert us, and impose Sharia law wherever they live. That includes killing homosexuals, enslaving women and marrying preteen girls. Give me those evangelical Xtians any day.

What will happen to the study and practice of law when we are forced to do what the UK is doing, and that is incorporating Sharia law into our own legal system?

After following most threads on this site for the last couple years, I am beginning to believe there is something endemic to lawyers that makes them only able to narrowly focus on the immediate minutiae of a given tree without being aware that there is a big forest around them. We are debating whether a head scarve is or is not legally acceptable, without ever acknowledging that this is just a tiny piece of a much larger and much more dangerous trend.

Our slavish devotion to these concepts of "diversity" and "tolerance" towards a religion that makes no bones about what they want from us is pathological and suicidal.

Ever see the movie "I, Robot"? I just pray to the god I don't believe in that in ten or twenty years, I won't have to post something similar to what Will Smith's character told his costar when he finally proved to her that her robots were trying to take over - "You know, somehow 'I told you so' just doesn't say it.
4.8.2009 11:52pm
hazemyth:
einhverfr:

I understand and wholeheartedly agree with the point that you addressed to me above. Consequently, I initially agreed wit the ruling. Perhaps I didn't make that clear enough in my comment.

Would you agree that these material effects need to be weighed against the religious hardship (and it's consequences to employment practices/opportunities)?

If the primary effect is, as in my example above, merely to inspire distrust in biased persons, then giving abundant weight to this effect essentially caters to that bias.
4.8.2009 11:53pm
ASlyJD (mail):
einvrfv,

The origins of the wedding ring are pagan; specifically, it was that that a nerve ran from the fourth finger of the left hand and then around the heart, so that the ring would affect this nerve and prevent the woman from loving anyone else.

However, my faith holds as a matter of religious and cultural practice, one wears a wedding ring while married and widowed.

Does wearing a ring imply that I cannot treat all persons fairly regardless of their marital status? Well, judging from Andrew Sullivan's comments about Ann Althouse's recent engagement, at least one homosexual thinks that any heterosexual marriage is nothing more than a gloat of cultural and legal superiority over homosexuals. How many people have to think my attire demonstrates an ideology that compromises my ability to do my job for those persons' belief to justify forbidding me a safe religious expression? What is the significant difference between thinking a scarf makes fairly treating non-Muslims impossible and thinking a wedding ring makes fairly treating homosexuals impossible?

(And obviously, there must be exceptions for when such symbols are unsafe, e.g. a highly conductive gold ring in a electrical environment. Again though, the PD isn't claiming her scarf is unsafe.)
4.9.2009 10:49am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ASlyJD:

The origins of the wedding ring are pagan; specifically, it was that that a nerve ran from the fourth finger of the left hand and then around the heart, so that the ring would affect this nerve and prevent the woman from loving anyone else.


I looked at it differently. that seems to be a Greek influence as to which finger we wear a wedding ring on, but rings are tightly connected to oaths in Germanic cultures. In early pagan times this was a big, heavy arm ring. Smaller finger rings were often used to seal contracts, however.

David Anthony has suggested that some of the Indo-Iranian customs regarding how many belts one wears into battle may have been connected too, and if so, I would argue that the Celtic Torc (neck-ring) would be part of this complex as well. Finally we have the practice in Anglo-Saxon England of breaking arm-rings (really spirals) and giving pieces to one's henchmen. While this practice persisted in Christian times, it is almost certainly connected to these similar practices.

In all cases, however, the ring, whether a broken (i.e. had a gap, like a torc), or whether it was an unbroken band (like the Icelandic oath rings), it seems to represent promises, loyalty, and exchange of obligations. So I think the deeper and more enduring symbolism of the ring/belt/torc complex seems quite present in the wedding ring.
4.9.2009 11:29am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
However, more to the point, one cannot tell what your views are on divorce or adultery just from the fact that you wear a wedding ring.
4.9.2009 11:31am
wfjag:
einhverfr wrote:

wfjag:

I think someone else made the point that a lot of issues weren't raised and the facts weren't developed in the trial court. That may be the problem.

This was a summary judgement case. Looking to the cited references, I can't find a problem.

As to the point I was making, that doesn't matter. To oppose a summary judgment you have to rely on facts. Allegations are insufficient. Many a summary judgment is lost because the plaintiff's attorney has not done discovery, and so when the defense files a summary judgment the plaintiff is not in a position to show that some genuine issue of material fact is in dispute. That may have happened here.
4.9.2009 2:25pm
t-boy (mail):
I tried to look up how a conservative muslim nation like Saudia Arabia handles this type of situation. But I couldn't find much information about female police officers there.
4.9.2009 4:03pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
t-boy:

A better example would be Libya and the Amazonian Guard....
4.9.2009 5:16pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, as far as I have been able to see from photos, the Amazonian Guard has a very strict uniform policy and there are different uniforms (standard fatigues, formal uniforms, etc). AFAICS, Qaddafi doesn't seem to care about Islamic rules and hair and the main rules seem to be practical (in practical situations) or pomp in formal situations (formal uniform seems to include long hair and baret).
4.9.2009 5:37pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Women serve in the police forces of Iran, Tunisia, Lybia (also all of Qaddafi's bodiguards are women), and quite a number of other Middle Eastern Islamic countries. Saudi Arabia is probably the exception rather than the rule on that matter.
4.9.2009 5:43pm
darrenm:

Geokstr, I think a woman who was apparently able to be impartial performing police duties for seven years is still capable of impartially performing police duties while wearing a piece of cloth on her head.

It's not a matter of wearing a piece of cloth. It's a matter of what the insistence on wearing that piece of cloth implies as to the permormance of her duties as a police officer. She may have been importially performing her duties for seven years, but neither had she been insisting on wearing a hijab for seven years. Obviously, you think this "piece of cloth" is meaningless and trivial. She does not.
4.9.2009 8:07pm

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