This article is referring to the judgment prohibiting teachers from “a posture or manner that is likely to be perceived as an endorsement of prayer.” Referring to the article:
Among them, it says that teachers cannot bless meals or snacks on school property whether they are on or off duty. It says they cannot use the Bible to reference historical facts. It says teachers cannot silently bow their heads and pray while students are around whether they are on or off duty.
You can read more of this article on your own. My response to this article actually shouldn’t enrage the religious viewers of my blog. Actually, my response is going to go a different direction. I’m going to take a moment to go into my Employment Rights soapbox.
The article says the groups mentioned believe that the teachers’ rights are being ignored. I just wanted to point out that under our current system, I’m not really sure what “rights” they’re talking about. Any employer could make the above rule. Any employer can say that you are not allowed to bless meals on their property whether you are on or off duty.
Employment Rights is something I feel strongly about. Have you ever heard of something called at-will employment? It is this lovely little doctrine we have in our great country. If you don’t know what it means, consult Wikipedia:
any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work.
Most states have exceptions to this rule. Florida has very few exceptions to this rule. You can see the Florida exceptions here. Of course, teachers in Florida have even fewer rights than most employees. They are not allowed to strike at all, unless they want to be arrested. If you don’t believe me, look up information on the Florida Teachers’ Strike of 1968.
So, a quick return to the article. The teachers’ rights haven’t been violated, because the teachers don’t have the rights they think they do. If an employer makes a rule, and it doesn’t force you to break a law, you have to obey it. If you choose not to obey it, you can be terminated. Period. If a employer decides that it is a good business practice to lay off 100,000 employees so that he can buy an extra yacht, that employer has every right to do so, regardless of what impact it has on the country. Our governments make a lot of laws to intrude on our lives, but intruding on companies is something our system tries not to get involved in. In many ways, our companies have way more power than our government. So, if you think that teachers have a right to pray at work, please, let me know on what grounds you think they have the right? The Bill of Rights? There is no Bill of Rights when it comes to employment. You tweet the wrong thing, you post the wrong pictures on MySpace, you’re gone. No questions asked, no reason given. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the job or not. An employer makes a rule that says no prayer in public on our property, you can either quit or disobey and be terminated. Does this system bother you?
I have issues with at-will employment. The idea of being fired for any reason doesn’t settle well with me. Laying off employees might seem to be an easy answer for big business in the short term, but look at the impact it has on our country? I think too often, it is too easy to lay off employees. Why isn’t there some sort of disincentive? I think, as long as I’m not at employee property or on work hours, I should be able to tweet whatever I want. I have the freedom of press, but companies get to have their own set of rules. Of course, I wouldn’t tweet such thinks anyway; I think it is in bad taste to do that, and as far as I can remember, I never have. Do you think this is a bad system? Then perhaps you’re more like me than you think you are.
Perhaps you might think this is more of a socialist kind of view, but I’m not a socialist. Like government, I don’t think that business should be able to intrude that much into the lives of individuals either. Therefore, as far as I see it, I think this is a Libertarian view on companies’ role in our lives.
On a lighter note, I read something that I thought was really funny. It comes from here:
If you argue that cash for clunkers or any form of government healthcare is unconstitutional, but forced prayer or teaching old testament creationism in public schools is fine, you’re not even consistent, much less a Libertarian
I guess I technically didn’t say one way or another, now that I think about it. Do I think that teachers should have the right to pray before they eat? I’m not really sure how I feel. I am more-or-less apathetic about that specific question. I think teachers should be able to do what they want when they are off-duty and not intruding on others. That being said, they crossed the line, and they can’t be surprised now that they are under the spotlight. Of course, what difference does it make anyway? Apparently, as long as they just say they prayed as a “reflex” and get a mob of far-right Christians on their side screaming “rabble rabble rabble”, they’ll be fine to do whatever they want, right? *cough* Lay *cough*