Farewell, religious freedom: Now you can be fired just for anointing the office with oil
It turns out that not just nutty religious polygamists know of the protective properties of olive oil. One fine morning in Florida, Miami City Capital Improvements Department employees arrived at work to find olive-oil crosses smeared on desks, walls, office equipment, and more.
It was the handiwork of fellow employee Eric Cheely, a Pentecostal church member who maintains he did not mistake the office for a salad. As reported in Miami New Times, Cheely said, “[I] was sitting in my cubicle crying; I thought I heard what, in my opinion, God telling me: ‘Look, just bless the department... and go on about your business.’”
The story might have ended there if the City of Miami hadn’t decided to interfere with Cheely’s sincerely religious belief that the safety of the office and his coworkers hinged on his endowing them with divine lubrication. But interfere the city did, so Cheely sued.
The case dragged on for two years until, earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola Jr. ruled that Cheely wasn’t fired because of his religious beliefs, but for damaging his employer’s property and disrupting business.
There goes one more vestige of your religious freedom. Matters can only get worse. Don’t be surprised if Bible literalists can no longer use the office to sacrifice and eat unblemished lambs.
Shout-out to Hemant Mehta, whose blog post brought the Cheely story to our attention
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