Sunday, February 07, 2010

education committee voted 6-4 to remove the ban on religious dress at work in schools

The Oregonian --
Education committee after a two-hour debate voted 6-4 in favor of a bill that would in Oregon's 87 year ban which denies teachers the right to wear religious dress at work.

"Religious minorities are being discriminated against currently," vice chair Michael Dembrow, D-Portland said. "The legitimate contribution they can make to our communities as teachers is being curtailed... Just because a woman is wearing a head covering, that is not bullying, that is not proselytizing."

Primary opponents of the measure through the children will be proselytized if their teachers wear headscarves, crosses, Wiccan robes and other faith-related items.
"About every other year a new private school opens in Oregon," Hinkle testified. Christian parents "have created those private Christian schools largely because they feel that the public school system is hostile to their religious beliefs. Those parents and people like them are going to feel even more so if their first-graders are being taught by Muslim women in burkas and Sikh teachers in turbans... I look forward to the day when the orthodox Jewish parent welcomes the fact that his 6-year-old daughter is going to be a captive audience in the Muslim teacher's or the Wiccan teacher's classroom for 180 days a year."

Charlie Hinkle, a lawyer testifying for the civil liberties group was concerned that if teachers are allowed to wear burkas, turbans they could frighten children or parents and drive them away from public schools.

being around women that are wearing burkas reminds me of working in a clean room, with the only things you see to the bunny suit is your coworkers eyes. It was hard enough to identify who your coworker was especially if you could not see their badge, even harder is when you met them outside of work.

However, I can see how a child would be traumatized that the only thing that he could see from his/her teacher is their eyes. It would be like teaching a class wearing a mask or other type of disguise. Conversely, if you have a hearing problem and you are not able to see the speaker's mouth, that could create difficulties as well.

Then there's the issue of safety and identity, especially in the 21st century, where the full face should be exposed if nothing else for identification purposes.

I also cite a case from the District Court of Appeals of the state of Florida fifth District, 2005 { link} Freeman versus the Department of Highway safety and motor vehicles, case number 5D03-2296, where the Florida Department of Highway safety and motor vehicles canceled Freemans driver's license because she refused to have her picture taken without her veil citing claims of due process, privacy and free speech violations.

The order follow a non-jury trial on her claims that the department violated Florida's religious freedom restoration act of 1998 by requiring that she be photographed without her veil to obtain the Florida drivers license and violated her constitutional right to free expression of her religion.
The court ruled that "Notwithstanding chapter 761 or s. 761.05, the requirement for a fullface
photograph or digital image of the identification card holder [or licensee] may not be

Perhaps one solution to this is what they are proposing to do with kids in school, and that is to require kids and faculty to wear uniforms.

One other interesting note regarding this case,

"Freeman believes that photographs of the human face and animals are prohibited and does not allow photographs of faces in her home. Her daughter plays with with faceless dolls and if an item from the grocery store has a face on it, Freeman blacks it out with a marker."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Legislators plan to focus on economic recovery"
pass some more Top Ramen please

The Oregonian --

As the Oregon Legislature begins its special session this last Monday just after the passage of measures 66 and 67, lawmakers intend to concentrate on economic recovery issues which cannot wait until January 2011, such as job creation, secure financing or to extend loans or grants to in-state companies that hire Oregonians to fill new jobs and an additional six weeks extension of unemployment benefits to 18,600 jobless whose benefits are about to expire.
"The two dominant areas of focus of this special session are one: jobs, and two: helping families that have been hit by this economic crisis,” said House Speaker Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone.

Roughly 215,000 Oregonians receive a weekly unemployment check in December which makes the statewide unemployment rate average at 11%.
"Clearly, we have a large number of people in our state who are hurting and have been out of work for a long time," said Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, who chairs the committee."

like DUH!
"Duke Shepard, of the Oregon AFL-CIO, said unemployment runs as high as 35 percent among some of his member groups. "People have been looking for work for more than a year and just have run out of benefits."

isn't it interesting that if it hadn't been for sleepy Ted "tax and gouge me" Kulongoski wanting to call a special session to reduce the kicker, these guys would not be back in this "special session" to talk about the economy, which is something that they should have been focusing on during the regular session.

But instead, all we heard was the Legislature's focusing on issues such as designating the Dungeness crap as the state crap, the cell phone ban, raising taxes and how bad the state governments financial situation woes are and very little regarding the current recession.

I can't help but think that the Oregon Legislature finally wanting to seriously look at the recession is based on the rumors of the financial effect of measures 66 and 67 which is also a retroactive tax which is forcing some businesses to seriously think about either laying off people and/or leave the state altogether along with rumors coming from other states such as Chicago Mayor Daley who according to the Sun times considers "Oregon's tax blunder spells opportunity for Chicago" as he tries to entice Oregon businesses to relocate.

Unfortunately, I feel that the current session of the Oregon Legislature although I am very happy to see them FINALLY focusing on this recession, I think it's too little too late.

The damage is done.