Goodwill Industries Fires Worker for Being a Communist
July 2, 2002 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Goodwill Industries Fires Worker for Being a Communist
Sewing-machine operator Michael Italie was fired by Goodwill for his Marxist beliefs. He had not been proselytizing within the Goodwill plant, and he was not accused of doing so. His political views became an issue after he appeared on television to participate in the Miami mayoral race.
posted by Irontom (51 comments total)

 
We've been through this before. Private employer, at will employee, no legal protection for political beliefs. From a legal standpoint, there's no issue here.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:15 AM on July 2, 2002


"Because of your views of the U.S. government, which are contrary to those of this agency, you are a disruptive force and cannot work here anymore," he said, according to Italie. "Take your things and go."

Freedom where are you ?
posted by elpapacito at 10:15 AM on July 2, 2002


The irony is that one can make (and many have made) the case that people like Michael Italie shouldn't be permitted to hold jobs in government, where at least in theory they have the power to subvert the U.S. system. Yet it is in government where Italie would be protected. In the private sector, where Italie is entirely harmless, he enjoys no protection at all.
posted by ColdChef at 10:19 AM on July 2, 2002


pardonyou?: Oh yeah sure, first discrimination because of political views, then fired if you criticize the company, all the way down to fired because I don't like you. Not even the ages-old excuse "we don't have any more need for your help in this company, bye".

Italie had not been proselytizing within the Goodwill plant, and he was not accused of doing so. His views had come to management's attention only because Italie was making a quixotic run for Miami mayor on the Socialist Workers Party ticket.
posted by elpapacito at 10:22 AM on July 2, 2002


Old Joe McCarthy must be laughing his ass off
posted by matteo at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2002


If you're a Socialist doesn't it mean you are opposed to private charity?

Therefore, Italie was spending his free time promoting a system which would require the destruction of the business his employer is in.

Not to mention the fact that barring contractual considerations, employers legally can fire you at the drop of a hat, can't they?
posted by insomnyuk at 10:24 AM on July 2, 2002


I once used my employer's typewriter and paper to write a fictitious letter to Trotsky (or Lenin?). I can't remember how I designed the letterhead (it was 1983) -- it was done in a suprematist style. I was not fired, but suppose I could have been since I used company equipment for non-office work.

insomnyuk, have you never worked a job where you had to do things you did not necessarily support privately? Lucky chap if so.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2002


So you can fire someone for saying he backs Bush's policies. Interesting.
posted by pracowity at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2002


So you can fire someone for saying he backs Bush's policies. Interesting.

If you are a private entity, legally I think the answer is yes.

insomnyuk, have you never worked a job where you had to do things you did not necessarily support privately?

Actually I have. But there is a difference between legality and legitimacy, and while I might personally disagree with what Goodwill did, it may in fact be within their legal right to do so.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:42 AM on July 2, 2002


"The irony is that one can make (and many have made) the case that people like Michael Italie shouldn't be permitted to hold jobs in government, where at least in theory they have the power to subvert the U.S. system. Yet it is in government where Italie would be protected. In the private sector, where Italie is entirely harmless, he enjoys no protection at all."

Have you taken leave of your senses? The whole POINT of Democracy is that The People are SOVEREIGN and can subvert THEIR system whenever THEY want. I don't agree with Michael Italie's viewpoints any more than you do (between us, it looks like he's been smoking some serious crack!), but I believe he has the right to hold and pursue his political beliefs within the limits set by the Constitution.

The slope you are on is very slippery. Could support for a single-payer health system be considered "subversion of the U.S. system?" What about advocating reform of Wall St. or opposing the actions of a U.S. corporation? And what is "the U.S. system" anyway?
posted by muppetboy at 10:46 AM on July 2, 2002


If you're a Socialist doesn't it mean you are opposed to private charity?

No.

But we've already established that you're not quite Tony Benn when it comes to commenting on socialism.
posted by riviera at 11:00 AM on July 2, 2002


There's plenty of things that are perfectly legal that still fucking suck.
posted by Skot at 11:03 AM on July 2, 2002


What is it that scares 'em?

Peace?...."We don't advocate violence," Italie told Chatterbox.

Politics?....the virulently anti-Communist writer, Radosh said... "...everybody has a right to run for mayor on the SWP ticket"

Workers Rights?....a private employer can fire someone based on their political speech. "That's a clear-cut infringement of civil liberties."(Radosh again).

Demanding freedom of cultural exchange with Cuba?...


Carollo [another candidate] got up and threatened to leave the event if anyone were allowed to speak out against the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

>>>Goodwill, a nonunion clothing factory, fired Italie not for any on-the-job conduct but for holding views...[which led to]...the socialist campaign table [being] mobbed by people interested in learning more about the campaign. Fifteen people signed up for more information and to help out...... [and] the audience applauded several political points made by the socialist candidate... A public school teacher took the microphone to thank the socialist candidate for "....so clearly stating his views tonight. If Carollo had gotten his way it makes me think of what it must be like under fascism or Nazism."

Aaah, now I see.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2002


Feels like we're going back in time, almost.
posted by schlaager at 11:12 AM on July 2, 2002


If you're a Socialist doesn't it mean you are opposed to private charity?

I don't think that's what it means, either. But are you sure, riviera? If my understanding is correct, Socialism teaches that private charity is insufficient, but not undesirable. Can anyone show me a source that confirms or refutes this? My web-fu must be off today...
posted by Fenriss at 11:16 AM on July 2, 2002


Listen, you guys, in this world capitalists control:
the means of production, distribution and exchange;
international banking, diplomacy and travel;
space, outer and inner;
the meejah;
the unions;
the Supremes;
the schools;
the Forces;
the sciences;
the churches;
the air above and the sea below;
in fact, everything.

Why worry? We'd allow him his freedom of speech, in the backward ole U.K., and he doesn't stand a cat-in-hells chance of getting elected.

Pot, meet the kettle (oh, you've met. Why haven't you said hello then?)
posted by dash_slot- at 11:22 AM on July 2, 2002


Uhm, nobody's limiting his freedom of speech, dash_slot.
posted by dagny at 11:30 AM on July 2, 2002


Gee riviera, I guess I don't know anything about socialism, especially how it is diametrically opposed to the idea of private charity.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2002


Private entities, by definition, cannot interfere with a person's "freedom of speech." Also, the general rule is that private employers have the right to terminate for any reason, or no reason at all. That's the rule -- here are the exceptions: (1) if there's an employment contract for a specific length of time, or that says the person will only be terminated for just cause, (2) if the reason for the termination is because of the employee's membership in a legally protected class (race, gender, religion, disability, etc.), or (3) if the termination violates public policy (think of the whistleblower situation).

Of course, as Skot says: "There's plenty of things that are perfectly legal that still fucking suck." If you feel that way about this situation (I don't, but that's neither here nor there), then your recourse is through the legislative system.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:49 AM on July 2, 2002


Dagny: No limits?

I'm not being obtuse here, but if you were to lose your job in, say, Cuba/China/N. Korea, for speaking out in favour of free enterprise, would that be a limit on your free speech?

Goodwill makes no bones about the fact that it fired Italie not for any on-the-job conduct but for holding views it does not wish to be associated with

Quack!
~Waddle~
It's a duck...
posted by dash_slot- at 12:07 PM on July 2, 2002


And what an ugly duckling at that.
posted by adampsyche at 12:15 PM on July 2, 2002


Freedom is being able to fire someone for just about any reason.
posted by pjdoland at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2002


dash_slot, dagny was obviously using "freedom of speech" in the generally understood sense -- i.e., freedom of speech as embodied in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In that sense, it is literally true that nobody is limiting his freedom of speech.

If you're talking about some other colloquial "freedom of speech," I guess this would be a "limit" (although I would probably argue that there's no such thing as "freedom of speech" outside the 1st Amendment context).
posted by pardonyou? at 12:25 PM on July 2, 2002


Fuckin commies! They should all be taken out and shot!

(At least that's probably the warbloggers' spin on it.)
posted by mark13 at 12:52 PM on July 2, 2002


Goodwill makes no bones about the fact that it fired Italie not for any on-the-job conduct but for holding views it does not wish to be associated with


Would Goodwill be within their "moral" rights to fire someone who spent his off hours wearing a hood and marching around downtown with a sign telling black people to go back to Africa?
posted by jaek at 1:02 PM on July 2, 2002


Gee, insomnyuk, try paying a little more attention to the stuff you pull out with google next time, and it might just break a pattern in which you consistently look like an ephebe. Socialism aspires to make private charity (at best, a deeply unreliable thing) unnecessary by changing the nature of social institutions; but historically, socialist groups such as the Fabians, and pioneers such as the Webbs, have always regarded their own private charity as a necessary bootstrap, employed in order to educate and emancipate the poor, to put them in a position to bring about the social changes that render established models of charity obsolete. It's the 'teach a man to fish' thing.
posted by riviera at 1:04 PM on July 2, 2002


It's an effective limit on my freedom of speech if my ability to feed my family and pay the rent is impaired by the very real risk of losing my job, simply because I exercised my democratic right to campaign for votes.

The only limits on freedom in a society should be where my freedom impairs yours. Which happened in this case.

If a hard choice has to be made, why choose the employers side? Whatever happened to notions of fair play, rooting for the underdog & natural justice?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:17 PM on July 2, 2002


The way I see it, "freedom of speech" is the right of every human being on this planet. The first amendment is just the government's promise that it won't impede upon this right. Goodwill did, and although it's not illegal (and I'm not even sure if it should be), it's still rotten. Ironically, the only recourse here is very capitalistic -- I'll just stop donating and buying items from them (which I did quite a few times, actually). Between this and the Salvation Army's anti-gay policies, it's getting harder to be charitable.
posted by Eamon at 1:21 PM on July 2, 2002


This is case where the law looks very wrong to me. If religion is protected so should politics. They're both two things people hold dearly and they don't necessarily have to interefere with one's work. They both in many ways define the character of a person.

I couple things really bother me here. If they're so against certain types of political speech or beliefs then why isn't that on their applications or screening process? It doesn't seem to be a big deal until someone in management finds out about it.

Second, I don't understand where the 'this isn't infringing on his speech' people are coming from. If he did dare speak his mind at work it would be all the more reason to fire him. Catch 22.
posted by skallas at 1:21 PM on July 2, 2002


My original statement:

If you're a Socialist doesn't it mean you are opposed to private charity?

So technically this is wrong provided the examples you just listed, but correct in the sense that a true socialist system eschews private property and charity. You could have done that (provided those examples) a bit earlier, thus substantiating your first post, and it might have save some time.

and it might just break a pattern in which you consistently look like an ephebe.

Well, I am 19, so I'm not too worried about that, for the time being.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:30 PM on July 2, 2002


*have saved
posted by insomnyuk at 1:31 PM on July 2, 2002


"I don't understand where the 'this isn't infringing on his speech' people are coming from"

Again, the issue is not "infringing on his speech" in any sense -- it's whether this is a violation of his freedom of speech under the First Amendment (and -- trust me -- it's not). That's where I'm coming from (if I'm one of the "people" you're referring to).

Setting aside the Goodwill/charity/nonprofit example for a minute, if I was a for-profit private employer, I wouldn't want a communist working for me. As a for-profit employer, I would be fully entrenched and supportive of the capitalist system. A good communist makes it his life's work to change that system, which (if successful) would deprive me of my livelihood. I would be concerned about everything from sabotage to simple persuasion.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2002


Quack quack!!
posted by dash_slot- at 1:57 PM on July 2, 2002


Again, the issue is not "infringing on his speech" in any sense -- it's whether this is a violation of his freedom of speech under the First Amendment (and -- trust me -- it's not).

I think its unlikely that this is a direct violation of the first amendment because the first amendment only applies to - guess what - government censoring others. What I was trying to do was point out was the hypocrisy of saying, "Well he didn't proselytize at work" as a defense and then coming to the conclusion that this doesn't limit speech in some way. The assumption being if he did proselytize at work his firing would be just as if not more justifiable.

IMHO, It does infringe on his civil rights as defined by a body of law protecting individuals from others and from organizations. Not directly, but its obvious the intention of anti-discrimination laws is to keep things people disagree about (religious beliefs, race relations, homophobia etc) from keeping them down. My problem is that this is discrimination without good reason and little sense. At the very least I think this guy deserves his day in court.

if I was a for-profit private employer, I wouldn't want a communist working for me.

Oh come on. What's he gonna do being in Lenin's corpse for show and tell. He's probably more informed about capitalism than most people because communism is a reaction to capitalism. Here's a better idea. If you were the employer then make everyone take a pledge of allegience to your company at 9am everyday and don't hire anyone who can't pass a, "History of capitalism through the ages" test. Or perhaps just ask them, "Have you ever been a communist or known someone who was?"

I would be concerned about everything from sabotage to simple persuasion.

The ultra-paranoid probably make for bad businessmen. Not to mention that sentence gives away the fact that you want to limit his speech to limit your own potential liabilities. This isn't about speech eh?
posted by skallas at 2:26 PM on July 2, 2002


While I'm at it, it was once legal not to hire minorities and there were tons of rationalizations as to why companies shouldn't. Its distracting, racism, uneducated, not the company's style, etc. Not to mention women. They get pregnant, not as tough as men, not their proper place, etc. So the whole, "its legal, let it die" excuse doesn't quite fly with me.
posted by skallas at 2:34 PM on July 2, 2002


The only limits on freedom in a society should be where my freedom impairs yours. Which happened in this case.
I completely agree.

If a hard choice has to be made, why choose the employers side? Whatever happened to notions of fair play, rooting for the underdog & natural justice?

Because it is a greater burden on the employer to be stuck with an employee that they do not want than it is for the employee to find another job. perhaps not in this exact situation, I find it is much more fair to side with the employer, I only root for the Underdog when they are in the right, and I am unfamiliar with what you mean by natural justice.
posted by thirteen at 3:26 PM on July 2, 2002


The only limits on freedom in a society should be where my freedom impairs yours. Which happened in this case.
I completely agree.


So what's so special about being on TV that makes one deserving of being fired? I love how bloggers don't have a problem with this. Will you be willing to tell your boss, "Thanks for firing me after reading my critical rant on Bush and Ashcroft. Its only fair." Laugh now and just hope no mainstream journalist quotes your opinion and the paper ends up on your boss's desk.
posted by skallas at 4:35 PM on July 2, 2002


The only limits on freedom in a society should be where my freedom impairs yours. Which happened in this case.

I completely agree.


Eh?
So what's the issue then?

The bosses freedom to hire someone who disagreed with him [because it is a greater burden on the employer to be stuck with an employee that they do not want] impairs the freedom of the worker to speak his mind [& his ability to feed his family and pay the rent].

It is not a greater burden on the employer: it's playing with loaded dice.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on July 2, 2002


Will you be willing to tell your boss, "Thanks for firing me after reading my critical rant on Bush and Ashcroft. Its only fair." Laugh now and just hope no mainstream journalist quotes your opinion and the paper ends up on your boss's desk.
Obviously no, I would not thank my boss, but I also do not assume I have a legal right to my job. I don't think a corporation could do something like this, but a private business can do hire and fire anyone they please for any reason. They are not subject to the laws you cited, and if the company is small enough it is completely acceptable to me that they fire me for having funny colored hair, or unpopular political views. If I am the boss, I will support your right to be as big a Communist you want to be, but I would not want you working for me. I would agree with you that a large company is beyond the control of individuals, and middle management types should not be enforcing their own biases. Somebody else's freedom is always a bitch, and in this situation I side with the employer's right not to support people they find offensive for whatever reason.


The bosses freedom to hire someone who disagreed with him [because it is a greater burden on the employer to be stuck with an employee that they do not want] impairs the freedom of the worker to speak his mind [& his ability to feed his family and pay the rent].

Turns out Free speech is not free. Big surprise.
posted by thirteen at 5:57 PM on July 2, 2002


My last post:

Just so's you understand me, I'm not arguing from a legal standpoint (we're in different jurisdictions, so I wouldn't expect labour law to be the same).

I'm saying it's not fair. It's disproportionate. It's discriminatory. It's hypocritical (in the land of the free). It's anti-democratic. It's wussy. It's cruel, and it's very unusual, in the civilised world.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:20 PM on July 2, 2002


Quack, indeed.
posted by adampsyche at 6:37 PM on July 2, 2002


In cases like this the law is all we have and the only thing that does matter. Your opinion, my opinion, who cares? Personally I believe you opinon is the one that is unfair. We are allowed to discriminate in our own lives, thusly you don't have to eat lima beans, and can lock your doors. It is not anti-democratic, unless you do not count an employer as having any rights or say within their own business. Cruel and unusual? You are being overly dramatic.
posted by thirteen at 6:38 PM on July 2, 2002


Thirteen, firstly you have as much legal right to your job as the employer has a legal right to get work from you. The labor contract is a relationship that cuts both ways.

Secondly, the problem with firing people 'at will' is that it allows people to be fired for stupid reasons. Like 'she wouldn't sleep with me' or 'he's a communist' or 'I don't like black people'. While some theoreticians say that the market will correct that, because a stupid and prejudiced employer will lose competent employees and hence lose business (even if s/he makes no other stupid decisions), in practice this just isn't so. The natural supply/demand ratio for jobs is heavily tilted in the favor of employers. This means it isn't hard to find a more-or-less equivalent replacement for any employee. Sure, exceptions to the natural ratio arise, but they never last long.

Other jurisdictions have industrial relations laws that come down to 'you can fire an employee for any reason that you could justify to a court'. Not that disputes often go to court; because of the way the systems are set up, with court disputes in mind, employers consider the possibility of being sued for unfair dismissal when deciding whether or not to fire somone. And so they fire people for good reasons like incompetence, unsuitability, theft, and so on. In response to unfair dismissal laws, employers come up with things like mediation and disciplinary processes. In other words, it creates an environment where employers (and employees, because the reasons they might be dismissed are much more clearly set out to them) are constrained to behave more ethically.

Removing 'work at will' doesn't remove an employer's capacity to fire an employee for good reasons. Whenever you hear otherwise, you will find the story has been put about by exploitative employer lobby groups (don't take my word for it, trace it back).

Another philosophical idea that informs unfair dismissal law is the idea that a business owner, who employs and supplies other people, shouldn't be free to do whatever the hell s/he likes, piss away investors' money, make decisions that will bring the company into public disdain, etc etc. Because the consequences of bad decisions are not born solely (or even in the majority) by the employer, s/he is morally obliged to consider the effect of business decisions on employees and customers. That's the 'neighbor principle', the cornerstone of negligence law, in action.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:55 PM on July 2, 2002


the article likes to pretend that this guy would have been protected in the public service.

when I joined the public service, I had to swear an oath to the government, wouldn't it be the same there?

so, he might be protected if he had the job, but he could be fired for lying on the oath, or perhaps he would have refused to take it in the first place.

food for thought.
posted by tiamat at 8:21 PM on July 2, 2002


Setting aside the Goodwill/charity/nonprofit example for a minute, if I was a for-profit private employer, I wouldn't want a communist working for me. As a for-profit employer, I would be fully entrenched and supportive of the capitalist system. A good communist makes it his life's work to change that system, which (if successful) would deprive me of my livelihood. I would be concerned about everything from sabotage to simple persuasion.

So true (I actually got chills).

One really can't be too careful when routinely screening the beliefs of our employees, especially when dealing with utter lunatics like communists, socialists and other complete bastards:

"Sooner shall a Camel pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter heaven..."

"And a certain young man asked Jesus 'Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' When Jesus heard this question, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."

~shudder~

Anyone have employees subscribing to or "gently persuading" others from this kind of sick, trolling, swill? Hideous stuff, that...especially if you are a for-profit employer, or a flag-decaled-zero-financing capitalist (like me).

Take it from your ol' buddy, fold. Fire 'em now...before they destroy our entire U.$ economy and Our Way Of Life.

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:46 PM on July 2, 2002


Oh good, ~f&m~ is back to his old self, misquoting scripture and making playful meta-movements with his ~avatar~.

The reason Christ told the rich young man to give up his posessions in order to gain eternal life was because for that man, his wealth was his idol, his false god. Christ is noting the fact that the wealthy indeed often rely on themselves rather than on God (the only one who can provide salvation). For this man, then, the best option was to give his things away. He's not saying that every rich person needs to do this, only those whose wealth is an impediment to salvation (which may or may not be the majority, I don't know). Take it on a case by case basis and be more careful with your exegesis next time, lest you like taking the words of Christ out of context in order to justify a system like communism, whose primary outcome is death, starvation, and misery.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:22 PM on July 2, 2002


Insomnyuk: From the first link you provided:
I have lot of respect for all those who have honest motives and are in struggle for the welfare of the poor. I appreciate their efforts, in which some of them are involved beyond their means, for the improvement of aggrieved humanity. I want them to continue these efforts. Not exactly a fierce polemic against charity eh? The second link is about church charity and the early christian tradition which is quite a different issue.
He's not saying that every rich person needs to do this...
Well why the indefinite article then (a rich man)? Read St. John Chrysostom's views in the Rosa Luxemburg piece you linked to.
Freedom of speech exists in every society, it's just that in many of them there are grave consequences for certain spoken views: in some societies you are jailed and tortured and in others you are deprived of a means to gain your livelihood. The fact that there is no law protecting freedom of speech in the private sector in the US is frankly tyrannical. Please note that humans are (or rather should be) a bit more than simply company assets...
thirteen: It is not anti-democratic, unless you do not count an employer as having any rights or say within their own business. The person who profits most from the company and makes all the important business decisions, is hardly without rights. There are limits to their rights however: f.e. he or she cannot take sexual advantage of their employees, refuse to pay them for their work, demand that they join the Republican party or insist that they wear a "Jesus Saves" t-shirt outside of work. On the other hand the employee's rights to do whatever they want (within the law) with their lives, is severely curtailed by the threat of losing their job if they express their views.
posted by talos at 4:14 AM on July 3, 2002


This isn't about speech eh?

Of course it's about speech. But it's not about violating the 1st Amendment's protection of freedom of speech.

The ultra-paranoid probably make for bad businessmen.

I'm not ultra-paranoid. I'm not saying I think the employee would sabotage me or try to lobby for his cause on my time (although he might). I'm just saying it makes more sense for me as a businessman to employ people who aren't against the capitalist system.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:06 AM on July 3, 2002


aeschenkarnos: "Secondly, the problem with firing people 'at will' is that it allows people to be fired for stupid reasons. Like 'she wouldn't sleep with me' or 'he's a communist' or 'I don't like black people'."

Not true -- an employer can legally only fire someone for the second reason, not the first or third. Those are both specifically prohibited by law.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:09 AM on July 3, 2002


f_and_m: "Take it from your ol' buddy, fold. Fire 'em now...before they destroy our entire U.$ economy and Our Way Of Life."

Ah, once again Foldy demonstrates his knack for taking an argument, exagerating and mischaracterizing it, then throwing in some of those clever touches ("U.$."! Rofl!! LOL!! I just never get tired of that one!!). Never mind that it's not an issue of communists "destroying our entire ... economy" or "Our Way Of Life." Not a real great fear of mine. My point is that as a private employer I can choose to hire those who I think are going to do productive work and support my business enterprise. Why would I want to hire someone who is philosophically opposed to my right to own a business and make a profit?

In short, despite foldy's attempts to characterize it that way, it's not a big "red scare"/Joe McCarthy meta issue for me. It's a micro issue -- do I want this person working for me? Answer: No.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:22 AM on July 3, 2002


The reason Christ told the rich young man to give up his posessions in order to gain eternal life was because for that man, his wealth was his idol, his false god. Christ is noting the fact that the wealthy indeed often rely on themselves rather than on God (the only one who can provide salvation). For this man, then, the best option was to give his things away. He's not saying that every rich person needs to do this, only those whose wealth is an impediment to salvation (which may or may not be the majority, I don't know). Take it on a case by case basis and be more careful with your exegesis next time, lest you like taking the words of Christ out of context in order to justify a system like communism, whose primary outcome is death, starvation, and misery.

Which of course is why one of the first things that the Christians did after the pentacost was to sell all their property and give the money to the apostles so that everyone may be fed. At least one notable couple who held some back for themselves was miraculously struck dead by the hand of god. Certainly there is quite a bit more in the New Testament mandating communism (or at the very least voluntary poverty) than there is for most of contemporary Christian politics.

So I don't see it as taking Christ out of context, in fact reading Christ in context requires nothing less than a full war on poverty which is why it amuses me to see people in $400 suits asking WWJD. The answer is something quite a bit more like the Franciscans or Christian communal societies than the contemporary American lifestyle.

In short, despite foldy's attempts to characterize it that way, it's not a big "red scare"/Joe McCarthy meta issue for me. It's a micro issue -- do I want this person working for me?

Certainly, its a micro Joe McCarthy issue for you. But I think there is one important principle lost here which is that a job consists of going in, punching the clock for 8 hours, after which you go home to your personal life. As my grandfather (to pull the patriotism creds, child of the depression, WWII veteran, father of three boomers) keeps telling me, "a job is just something you do 40 hours a week, what happens on your own time is your own business." So even as a micro issue why the heck should you care about a person's off-the-clock political activity?

And after all, we are not talking about the stockmarket or commodities trading here. We are talking about a business that sells donated goods to fund training programs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2002


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