Archive for October 2013

You will be tolerent… or else

And rest

Celestina Mba is, ostensibly, a Christian and, because of her faith, believes that being asked to work on the Sabbath is an anathema.

Employed by Merton Council in 2007 as a care worker in a residential care home for disabled children, she quit her job in 2010 because she felt she was being pressured to work on Sunday. Mba sued the council for constructive dismissal but in February 2012 the employment tribunal ruled against her. She is now going to the Court of Appeal where her lawyers will argue that “an employer has a duty to ‘reasonably accommodate’ the beliefs of a Christian employee”.

Now I’ll freely confess that I’ve forgotten almost everything I ever learnt about Christianity (and indeed every other religion) but thanks to the modern miracle that is the internet I can look up the commandment in question (or at least the current English translation of it) and whilst it does mention resting on the Sabbath, it reads (to this secular individual) more as an instruction to rest after your labours of the other six days. Sensible, if hardly earth-shattering, advice.

Thus, assuming that Mba’s employers didn’t ask her to regularly work all week, I can’t see the problem with her occasionally having to work Sunday rather one of the other six days of the week. I honestly can’t see that the Almighty she believes in really cares which day of the week she rests and devotes to him.

It is this quote from before her 2012 tribunal though which makes me question her and her faith:

“But I always told my children that if they came between me and God that I would always choose Him. I felt the same way when I had to choose between a job and worshipping Jesus.”

If I were her God, I’d say to her that she’s got that the wrong way around.

Gardening fascism

Whilst plugging his latest book at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last Saturday, professional plant-bother Monty Don said that he would

[…] like to see a garden or an allotment compulsory, so if it’s a flat, it comes with an allotment, and if it’s a house, it has to have a garden.

To which the only rational response is language that my mother would still scold me for.

Part of the reason I live in a flat is that I do not want the hassle of a garden; indeed I am so uninterested in anything plant related that I have nary a single one in my flat. If I did own a house with a garden area the most adventurous I’d get with it is a patch of grass to be mown every so often and lots of paving. I can’t tell a weed from another piece of plant life and have no desire to kneel in the dirt pulling one out of the ground.

If other people want an allotment, wish to turn their garden space into something that Tom and Barbara Good would feel at home in or feel the need to attempt to create something that would win the Chelsea Flower Show then bully for them. Just don’t inflict them on those of us who don’t want them.

Oh Daddy, you know that eBook you bought for me…*

The morality police achieved another victory in their battle to return us to the days of covered table legs yesterday when high street retailer WH Smith (SMWH) took their entire website offline.

Why the drastic action? Because the Daily Fail (that bastion of the soft-porn click-bait) happened to notice that if you searched for ‘daddy’, the site listed a number of books that could not be considered as suitable for children. I do wonder though how many children are a) going to be using the SMWH website and b) how may are going to be searching for daddy. Heck, I’m an adult whose interests could be considered quite wide-ranging but I don’t think I’ve ever used that term in any search box anywhere on the web.

That SMWH have taken such drastic action isn’t much as a surprise as they have history when it comes to bowing to the whims of special interest groups.

In order to solve the ‘problem’, which is limited to self-published items, SMWH have decided that, once their website returns, they are going to not list any eBooks which fall into this category for the forseeable future – regardless of their content.

Personally I’d suggest that a better approach would be to update their search functionality to include such basic abilities as ‘safe-search’ and ‘include/exclude self-published items’ but that would require knee-jerk puritans not to be knee-jerk puritans…

* With apologies to Christine McVie and Fleetwood Mac