In July, Christian bakers in Oregon were required to pay $135,000 in damages to a gay couple. “This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
Shortly afterwards, another Christian, Kim Davis, was illegally jailed for her religious beliefs.
Yet, last month, a Muslim flight attendant sued ExpressJet Airlines after it suspended her for refusing to serve alcohol, which is against her religious beliefs.
This month, two Muslim truck drivers, Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against their former employer for firing them for refusing to make beer deliveries, which was the entirety of their job description— delivering alcohol. Again, performing their job to deliver alcohol — is forbidden under Islamic law.
The pair sued Star Transport Inc., and won.
The Washington Examiner reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission awarded $240,000 in damages to Mohamed and Bulshale, both of Somali heritage, who were fired in 2009.
The EEOC said that Star Transport Inc., a trucking company based in Morton, Ill., violated their religious rights by refusing to accommodate their objections to delivering alcoholic beverages.
“EEOC is proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices,” EEOC General Counsel David Lopez announced Thursday. “This is fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance.”
The EEOC argued that Star Transport Inc. could have easily reassigned the men to other jobs, but the reverse argument — that Mohamed and Bulshale could have just as easily sought employment in an area that doesn’t compromise their religious principles — is no less valid.
The jury awarded Mohamed and Bulshale $20,000 each in compensatory damages and $100,000 each in punitive damages. The judge awarded each about $1,500 in back pay.
Bulshale said following the judgment, “This case makes me proud to be American.” Really? Why are American Christians being treated differently under the First Amendment than others who make religious liberty claims who use the Constitution, but don’t follow it?
Ben Bowles writes for LibertyUnyeilding.com