Saturday, October 21, 2006

Further thought on Padilla

NOTE : this went through a lot of shaping, edits and clean ups. So if you read it before 4:00pm (especially on C-ville Blogs) you probably saw the trainwreck version. Please give it another go now that it's all better. Thanks!

David over at Equality Loudon offers some of that "more to the story" I was talking about.
As it turns out, Mr. Padilla was employed in the human resources office of Cargill. It is the specific responsibility of a human resources office to uphold the employment policies of a company, which include its non-discrimination policies. This is not just a random position, but one that has specific requirements having to do with, well, tolerance. Cargill wants someone in that position who can be trusted by employees to treat everyone fairly. In their judgment Mr. Padilla was openly advertising an unwillingness to uphold their policies.

When you take this factor in, Cargill really might have a case after all. At the very least you are out of the black and white realm the story was first presented in. There is also this last bit that I somehow must of overlooked:

"When ordered to do something relatively simple - remove from his truck two signs that other employees could have reasonably construed as a show of hostility and intolerance toward homosexuals - Mr. Padilla decided to ignore the warning and disobey the order.

"By refusing to obey the order, he demonstrated that he could not be trusted to enforce and promote our employment policies because his personal beliefs mattered more to him."

"Personal beliefs" does not necessarily mean religious beliefs, so I'm sticking to my guns with my previous observations in that regard. However, This does shed a different light on his compliance. I'm not saying he didn't have some right to be persistent in trying to keep his message, but it's starting to look very clearly like Cargill really did have perfect right to fire him.

Then there is one last observation that David made that really hit the nail on the head for me with this:
Nor does there seem to be any acknowledgement or condemnation of the fact that it's perfectly legal in Virginia to fire an employee on account of their sexual orientation. Hmm.
Oh, sweet irony! (I really wasn't aware of that.) I'm not saying there isn't a first amendment case here. It's just that as the facts start to come in and are arranged with a little bit of broader perspective... I can't say I really care about this on the level I started out on. I still believee that as much as a difference of opinion can not be offensive (especially when considering the context of a group of people's rights) the message on Padilla's care was not aggressive. Without further examination though, that's all that I can say for now. We simply do not know the man's character, which at this point I imagine has a lot more to do with this. We don't know why he wants the amendment. Perhaps he believes some of the tripe about gay marriage destroying America that is out there. Perhaps he is actually afraid that people marrying dogs will be the next step. No matter how many rotten apples have given Christianity a bad name, it still hasn't cornered the entire market on ignorance in America. Without more info, we'll just have to see how it goes at court as to how much the conditions of of his employment and his manner of conduct factor in.

Needless to say, I grow tired of this victimized rhetoric. There is a big difference between being intolerant and being confrontational. An amendment is being proposed to further strip the rights away from people who are not treated as equals and those that are stripping their rights away actually expect them to be cool about it? Any other time in history and there would be violence over this by now. I think the gay communityy has been pretty darn civil in the fight for their rights. Cargill is not the Commonwealth Coalition, and the Commonwealth Coalition is not made up of only gay people. People from both parties have issue with this amendment and it annoys me to no end that we all get lumped together as the big crazy Liberals when we don't always even agree with each other's reasons for opposing. Matter of fact, the most common reason is actually conservative. We are simply brought together by the common goal. Cargill is a large corporation that has rights to say what it does or does not want on its land weather we like it or not. Maybe this case falls outside those rights and maybe it doesn't. I've said my share now in defense and in criticized of Padilla. The court will decide.

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