Federal Court Says Veganism May Qualify as a Religion.Posted by Jim Newman on January 7th, 2013 – 3 Comments – Posted in religion
In perhaps an enlightened decision a federal court has declared that a secular philosophy or practice may be strong enough to classify as a religion.
In Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, (SD OH, Dec. 27, 2012), an Ohio federal district court held that a hospital customer service worker may be able to show that her employer’s refusal to accommodate her vegan beliefs amounted to religious discrimination under Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws. Plaintiff was fired for refusing to be vaccinated against the flu. She claimed that the discharge violated her religious and philosophical convictions because as a vegan she would not ingest any animal or animal by-products. In refusing to dismiss the complaint, the court, rejecting defendant’s argument that veganism does not qualify as a religion, said:
The Court finds it plausible that Plaintiff could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views…. The Court’s conclusion is further bolstered by Plaintiff’s citation to essays and Biblical excerpts.
The from the crazy ability to extract near any world view from the bible aside, what do you think of this? Would it be better to broaden the definition of a religion? Would it be better to eliminate religious exclusion? As our culture continues to become more diverse what allowances can we serve that will maximize local freedoms yet maintain protection of civil rights and public good?
Having to take a flu shot to prevent illness in others seems more important than preventing the ingestion of the egg products needed to make flu vaccines.
I do notice in my own vegtarian daughter that she promotes a high “ick” factor in being around meat-based food products–I can’t stir a veggie dish with a spoon that has stirred a stir fry with meat. The smell of bacon is now repulsive. No doubt to help bolster her distaste both publicly and privately. How does that relate to exposure in the work place? Is a moral choice absolute? Is a very small bit of egg product once a year really a travesty against veganism? How is a Christian vegan superior to a secular vegan?
As religious people continue to hybridize their beliefs church dogma will change. How are we to deal with that?
Finally, I wonder why people would remain in a job that is counter to their beliefs? I refuse to work for the military industry–no, I am not against the military per se but don’t do well within the culture. I would also refuse to work for a church. Any job is not right for me. If were to work for a publishing firm that I discovered a year into the job was viciously conservative, I would quit or if desperate for money, keep my head low, while I looked for another job.
Jim Newman, bright and well