Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category

It is hard to trust Mozilla Firefox with my browsing activities.  They seem to have taken sides in the culture wars in a very mean and personal way, and that takes away my trust.

Andrew Sullivan:

The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Robert George:

Mozilla has now made its employment policy clear.

No Catholics need apply.

Or Evangelical Christians.

Or Eastern Orthodox.

Or Orthodox Jews.

Or Mormons.

Or Muslims.

Unless, that is, you are the “right kind” of Catholic, Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox Christian, observant Jew, Mormon, or Muslim, namely, the kind who believes your religious or philosophical tradition is wrong about the nature of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and the view now dominant among secular elites is correct. In that case, Mozilla will consider you morally worthy to work for them. Or maybe you can work for them even if you do happen to believe (or should I say “believe”) your faith’s teaching—so long as you keep your mouth shut about it: “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Terry Mattingly at Get Religion blog, wondering why nobody is asking if religious discrimination was involved here:

So beliefs truly mattered in this case. The question again, for journalists: What are the private beliefs that are under fire, here? In effect, is he being judged for ancient moral and doctrinal beliefs that are held by orthodox believers in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc.?


Some impressions:  Many across the country stood up for Brendan Eich.  No one at Mozilla apparently did.  That gives me the impression that Mozilla is not a very diverse place.  Was Brendan Eich the only social conservative there?  What does that tell you about Mozilla’s hiring practices and culture?  How many observant Catholics work at Mozilla?  How many observant Muslims?  I would like Mozilla to show with evidence that it is truly open to all people of all religious faiths before I use its browser again.

My guess is that they at least have some observant Catholics sweeping the floors or cleaning the toilets.  It is pretty clear that such employees will have no hope to be CEO some day.




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David Klinghoffer has a new installment on the Coppedge trial.  Several employees paint a picture of Coppedge as very polite, respectful and not at all pushy:

If Coppedge genuinely was hard to get along with — a “harasser,” who made others uncomfortable with his brusque, confrontational manner — this should have become clear by now, three weeks into the trial. It hasn’t. Instead, Coppedge’s attorney has presented as witnesses a series of individuals who worked with him and don’t necessarily agree with him about intelligent design or related matters (politics, religion), but who agree that Coppedge was an entirely inoffensive and capable colleague.

Jennifer Kesterson, now retired from JPL, worked closely with Coppedge under Chin as an information technology (IT) specialist. Coppedge’s lawyer, William Becker, asked her if his client was “pushy.”

“Not at all,” said Kesterton. “Intense?” Again, “No.” If he talked about politics, it was all “quiet, very polite, courteous, very respectful.” When the subject of pro-ID DVDs came up it was equally casual and low key.

Elgin, like Jennifer Kesterton and Ron Aguilar, said that Coppedge’s interests in ID, in politics and in religion did not interfere with work. Interactions he had with colleagues were “consensual.” He didn’t try to “convert” anyone. Coppedge and Elgin disagreed on politics but in “an agreeable manner.” When intelligent design came up, it was, once more, strictly casual — so casual that Elgin wasn’t entirely sure if ID was even the actual theme of the DVD.

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Perhaps this article and this post help explain why the JPL employees mistakenly believed that David Coppedge had no workplace or Constitutional rights to offer to loan out DVDs discussing evidence of design in nature.  According to Linda Greenhouse, you can throw out journalistic conventions when dealing with intelligent design:

Journalistic convention requires that when there are two identifiable sides to a story, each side gets its say, in neutral fashion, without the writer’s thumb on the scale. This rule presents a challenge when one side of a controversy obviously lacks merit. But mainstream journalism has learned to navigate those challenges, choosing evolution over “intelligent design,” for example, and treating climate change naysayers as cranks.

Ms. Greenhouse does not seem aware that many do not feel the need for an all or nothing choice between evolution and intelligent design.  Michael Behe does not.  Her insistence that journalists must make such a choice suggests an ignorance about intelligent design and the wide range of views held by those who are sympathetic to design arguments.

Could the same brew of ignorance and dogmatism have been driving the employees who went after David Coppedge?  The record seems clear that they were very ignorant of his rights, and did very little when he tried to educate them.

It reminds me of the quote by Pauline Kael:

I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.

As to ignorance of the law, this post discusses the relevant standards for religious expression in the workplace.

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A report on the cross examination of David Coppedge in the Pasadena Star-News is here:

During direct testimony, Coppedge told the court his performance reviews changed following a March 2009 dust-up with his direct supervisor Greg Chin. The pair quarreled around Coppedge’s distribution of two intelligent design DVDs “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and the “Privileged Planet.”

Coppedge testified that Chin told him not to engage in political and religious discussions unless co-workers broached the subjects.

JPL countered Wednesday that Coppedge was only barred from talking about politics and religion during work hours and was free to discuss either during lunch.

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