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← [Update - statement from CfI ]Secular Group Charges Michigan Country Club with Religious Discrimination

[Update - statement from CfI ]Secular Group Charges Michigan Country Club with Religious Discrimination - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Not that many years ago a headline like this would have come along once in a blue moon. Things are progressing forward from the turbulent time of Madalyn Murray O'Hare. The faith heads will have to hear the truth some day, so why not now.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 21:19:00 UTC | #937820

lewis.breland's Avatar Comment 2 by lewis.breland

We are working hard to get some action in South Carolina. ;)

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 22:08:18 UTC | #937829

davidckahn's Avatar Comment 3 by davidckahn

Ugh, I hate it when people--even ones who share my general philosophy--get on this high-horse when someone denies them the use of private facilities to promote their own worldview. Freedom of speech doesn't mean a privately-owned organization has to provide you with a microphone and a soapbox. Deal with it.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 22:25:31 UTC | #937834

ev-love's Avatar Comment 4 by ev-love

Comment 3 by davidckahn

Surely, they reneged on a contract?

ev-love

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 22:37:55 UTC | #937836

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 5 by alaskansee

@ Comment 3 by davidckahn

Hear, hear. It's like demanding a church jewish temple accepts your mormon wedding, inexplicable. It's a private club, and a private golf club at that!

Augusta recently was in the US news because they still don't accept women members, and the new CEO of IBM is a chick. Apparently the CEO of IBM always gets a membership, not any more... Now that's a problem in comparison!

http://www.thespec.com/news/world/article/699764--boys-club-augusta-won-t-admit-female-ceo-of-ibm

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 22:40:55 UTC | #937838

ev-love's Avatar Comment 6 by ev-love

Seems to me a private golf club booked a speaker then cancelled because they didn't like something he later said on TV.

No doubt the courts will decide.

"Chicks" in Augusta would seem to be the reddest of red herrings (which is a jumbled metaphor if ever I saw one!)

ev-love

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 22:55:51 UTC | #937842

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 7 by BanJoIvie

Comment 3 by davidckahn

Ugh, I hate it when people--even ones who share my general philosophy--get on this high-horse when someone denies them the use of private facilities to promote their own worldview. Freedom of speech doesn't mean a privately-owned organization has to provide you with a microphone and a soapbox. Deal with it.

Sorry, but if your "private" organization hires its facilities out to the public, then it must do so indiscriminately. Keep it fully private or rent to all comers. That's US law. It's why for example cafe owners can't but up "whites only" signs despite their rights as "private" property owners. Deal with it.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 23:09:42 UTC | #937844

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Comment 7 by BanJoIvie

I'm still not clear what exactly was booked or cancelled. Was it a room or a speaker?

Is this an issue of breach of contract, or unlawful discrimination, or both?

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 23:47:01 UTC | #937853

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 9 by BanJoIvie

Comment 8 by Alan4discussion I'm still not clear what exactly was booked or cancelled. Was it a room or a speaker? Is this an issue of breach of contract, or unlawful discrimination, or both?

It was a reception for Professor Dawkins arranged by Center for Inquiry–Michigan and RDFDS.

I believe Richard was scheduled to speak, and the venue had been duly booked in advance. The owner abruptly canceled after seeing Richard take abuse from Bill O'Reilly on Fox news.

There we're several discussions here at the time. The first URL below leads to one. The second is an essay by Sean Faircloth arguing the case for caring about such discrimination despite libertarian objections. A site search for "country club" will bring up more.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643459-richard-dawkins-event-banned-by-michigan-country-club

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643656-booting-dawkins-from-a-country-club-why-it-matters

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 00:53:54 UTC | #937866

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 10 by mordacious1

This isn't a mere breech of contract case, although there's elements of that too, it's a civil rights case.

"A country club employee said the appearance was scrapped because 'the owner (of the Wyndgate) does not wish to associate with certain individuals and philosophies,' according to the lawsuit".

If this certain individual was Jewish and his philosophy was Judaism, would it be easier to understand? "Well, once I found out he was a Jew, we cancelled the speech", would not be accepted by anyone, nor should "Once I found out he was an atheist". If it is a venue open to the public for public events, they cannot descriminate based on race or religion. Simple as that.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 02:03:49 UTC | #937875

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 11 by mordacious1

...or BREACH of contract....duh.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 03:02:38 UTC | #937880

isisdron's Avatar Comment 12 by isisdron

life is cruel and everyone is a victim of it. I got a terrible haircut today, I looked like my own grandma in the mirror, and then I attacked myself with scissors until I got my confidence back. Cheers from Texas.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 07:01:32 UTC | #937907

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 13 by Alan4discussion

Comment 9 by BanJoIvie

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643459-richard-dawkins-event-banned-by-michigan-country-club

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643656-booting-dawkins-from-a-country-club-why-it-matters

Thanks for the links. I glanced at these at the time, but could not remember the details.

It is better if they are easily accessed from this discussion.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 11:09:41 UTC | #937942

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 14 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

I think the question of whether or not a private facility that hires out it's venue to other parties should have the right to discriminate is an interesting one, and I think they probably should have some right in this respect. It would be absurd for a political organisation to hire out it's venue to an opposing organisation, for example. It's quite a different matter from providing services to individuals, such as hotel accommodation.

However, this appears to be a straightforward case of breach of contract. If the owners of the venue had a policy not to hire out their venue to someone like RD, then they should never have agreed to do so in the first place, and there was no obvious reason to suppose that a country club should have a problem with a talk on the subject of science.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 11:33:17 UTC | #937945

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 15 by mordacious1

Comment 14 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

If they had discriminated based on political parties, there wouldn't be a problem. They discriminated based solely on religious (or lack thereof) beliefs. This is illegal and they should lose this case, if it comes to trial without a settlement.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 11:37:50 UTC | #937946

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 16 by aquilacane

That is how a reporter reports the details of a news item. No bias, just facts.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 13:46:40 UTC | #937970

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 17 by Peter Grant

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120427/METRO02/204270403/1361/Atheist-group-sues-Rochester-Hills-country-club-over-canceled-speech

Good, it's about time!

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 14:26:19 UTC | #937978

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 18 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Isn't the Centre for Inquiry a secular group? What's so hard to understand about the difference between atheists and secularists?

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 15:32:43 UTC | #937989

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 19 by rjohn19

For Lewis Breland in comment 2- I just moved to Michigan from South Carolina and while not politically ideal, at least Michigan has a Center For Inquiry.

Check out what just happened in SC at, you guessed it, Bob Jones University. Kid was suspended and denied graduation for watching an episode of Glee on his laptop at a local Starbucks. And these thought police were only 25 miles from my heavily barracaded door.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/this-student-was-kicked-o_n_1459660.html

Long, long way to go in South Cluck. So if everyone will just step up their carbon footprints to warm me up a few degrees here in the permafrost, life will be good or at least improved.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:14:31 UTC | #938003

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 20 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 15 by mordacious1

If they had discriminated based on political parties, there wouldn't be a problem. They discriminated based solely on religious (or lack thereof) beliefs. This is illegal and they should lose this case, if it comes to trial without a settlement.

I agree it must be illegal, but only because a contract had already been agreed in this case, and because there is no obvious conflict of interest between a country club and a talk about science. But I was just making the general point that a private organisation ought to have the right in advance of any contract being agreed to discriminate in the potential hiring of its facilities against another organisation or individual where there is obviously a direct conflict of interests.

For example, if RDFRS happened to own a conference facility, and liked to raise funds by hiring it out to other organisations, I bet it wouldn't be too happy to hire it out to the Catholic Church or a creationist group.

So I don't agree that it should be illegal in every case to discriminate on grounds of belief/non-belief or for any other reason where a conflict of interests is at stake.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:15:17 UTC | #938004

mtgilbert's Avatar Comment 21 by mtgilbert

Does anyone know what happened to Ben Stein's similar issue? Apparently he was told he would receive a contract to be a spokesperson for some company, and when they learned more about him, they retracted the offer. He was claiming they were infringing on his "freedom of religion," whatever that means. A contract was never signed, so it isn't actually breach of contract.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 17:09:32 UTC | #938009

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 22 by Stafford Gordon

So, we're now getting things into perspective; good!

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 18:08:24 UTC | #938015

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 23 by Peter Grant

From the article:

The center wants unspecified damages and to block the country club from discriminating against others for religious reasons, according to the lawsuit.

.

Comment 20 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

For example, if RDFRS happened to own a conference facility, and liked to raise funds by hiring it out to other organisations, I bet it wouldn't be too happy to hire it out to the Catholic Church or a creationist group.

That would be fine. It is perfectly legitimate to discriminate against creationists and Catholics, as long as you don't do it for religious reasons. RDFRS is not a religious organisation.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 19:51:45 UTC | #938037

Grimace's Avatar Comment 24 by Grimace

@ Peter Grant & Jumped up Chimpanzee

I wouldn't be happy for RDFRS to discriminate against a religious group IF the facilities were advertised as being available to the general public for a fee.

Provided the organisation used the facilities lawfully and left them in good order at the conclusion of their function, then its tough luck if you don't agree with the rentee's views.

How acceptable would it be to replace athiest or catholic with black, jew or womens interest group?

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 22:49:05 UTC | #938050

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 25 by aquilacane

I seem to recall their public obligation was related to a taxable status thingy. The obligation includes no bigoted behaviour.

Edit: there is also the question of the contract.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 22:55:31 UTC | #938052

Jabarkis's Avatar Comment 26 by Jabarkis

Comment 24 by Grimace :

How acceptable would it be to replace athiest or catholic with black, jew or womens interest group?

Are those categories actually comparable? I wonder if there's a difference between discriminating on the basis of opinions (e.g. religion/politics) and on the basis of genetics (e.g. skin colour, gender).

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:10:16 UTC | #938099

Nairb's Avatar Comment 27 by Nairb

Sorry, but if your "private" organization hires its facilities out to the public, then it must do so indiscriminately. Keep it fully private or rent to all comers. That's US law. It's why for example cafe owners can't but up "whites only" signs despite their rights as "private" property owners. Deal with it.

Exactly. Some here may "like" that an organisation can discriminate regarding its clients. However the Law says otherwise. This is the same where I live in France and probably in all industrialised countries.So I dont think such a rule is some sort of temporary mistake in US law .

To add a personal opinion. Allowing individuals or companies to discriminate regarding people or behaviour is a BAD idea in many cases. As mentioned allowing companies to "prefer" whites in their cafe. Equally to allow companies to "prefer" or "not prefer" to employ christians, jews, etc based on their religion or their apparent religosity, skin colour, clothing. Such liberties may seem nice but they are highly divisive to society, leading to communautarism and multiculturalism. In my opinion we are far better served by a government that objectively deals with such divisive issues for the entire population.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 08:59:24 UTC | #938111

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 28 by the great teapot

canceled?

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 08:59:31 UTC | #938112

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 29 by Peter Grant

Comment 24 by Grimace

How acceptable would it be to replace athiest or catholic with black, jew or womens interest group?

If they could demonstrate that their discrimination was not for reasons relating to religion, race or sex it would be acceptable.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 10:57:14 UTC | #938122

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 30 by the great teapot

how does Augusta get away with discriminating against women and why do caddies have to wear white jump suits, why not go the whole hog and insist on black bag carriers.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 11:12:53 UTC | #938123