Score one for religious freedom, Oregon. On Friday, the House passed the "Religious Freedom Act", which spells out workers' right to take time off for religious reasons.
"The goal of the bill is to make sure employers and employees understand that there is a right to celebrate and practice their religion and employers need to accommodate that as long as it doesn't hurt their business," explains Geoff Sugerman, of bill-sponsor Speaker Dave Hunt's office. Businesses do not have to build special prayer rooms or anything for their employees, but they do need to allow workers to wear religious clothing and take time off for religious holidays unless it would create "some type of burden or undue hardship" on the business. Whether that means praying once a year or once a day does not matter, both are protected by law.
Anything having to do with religious freedom is dicey public opinion territory, even if it's just a bill spelling out proper First Amendment workplace policies: 21 legislators voted against the bill. Religious freedom issues bring out the crazies and when the Portland Business Journal reported on the bill's passage, the wing nuts came out of the woodwork to leave marginally literate responses. Here are the comments on the PBJ's article, in all their typo-ridden glory:
See - people like this are why we need strong laws spelling out civil liberties.
(p.s. is the first commenter joking? I would think so, but why go through the trouble of leaving a long tongue-in-cheek comment on a random Portland Business Journal article? And the replies are definitely serious...)
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