Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Poland: Ikea worker sacked for posting anti-gay Bible quotes

An Ikea worker has been sacked for quoting Bible verses condemning homosexuality after the company invited employees to celebrate an LGBT event.

The worker, named in local media only as Tomasz K, has filed a lawsuit accusing the world’s largest furniture retailer of religious discrimination, sparking outrage in the heavily Catholic country where LGBT rights lag well behind the developed world.

Mr Tomasz, a long-term employee at the Krakow store, was sacked after he refused to take down Bible verses he posted in response to a notice on the company’s intranet promoting a pro-LGBT event in May.

“I was shaken up,” he told Polish national broadcaster TVP Info on Thursday, in comments translated by the Church Militant website. “I’ve been hired to sell furniture but I’m a Catholic and these aren’t my values.”

Ikea had asked workers to join in celebrating the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 16 and “to stand up for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender plus people of all sexual orientations and gender identities”.

The company’s head of equality, diversity and integration, Sari Brody, wrote a follow-up post requesting that employees “ask for the transgender person’s preferred pronoun (hers, theirs, etc.)” and “engage LGBT+ people in conversations about their partners and families”.

Mr Tomasz wrote under the post that “acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is a source of scandal”, quoting two Bible passages.

“Woe to him through whom scandals come, it would be better for him to tie a millstone around his neck and plunge him in the depths of the sea,” (Matthew 18:6) and, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them,” (Leviticus 20:13).

Mr Tomasz said he made the post because he signed a contract to sell furniture, not implement “so-called LGBT values” or promote “ideological propaganda”. “It upset me,” he told TVP Info.

“I do not think it was my duty. I put my entry, in which I expressed that it is unacceptable, and quoted two quotations from the Holy Scriptures — about stumbling and about the fact that intercourse between two men is an abomination.”

He was summoned into an interview where he was asked to explain himself and told to remove the posts — but he refused. “As a Catholic, I cannot censor God,” he said. “I was told there would be consequences.”

A few days later he was “informed immediately that Ikea decided to terminate the employment contract, I was supposed to pack right away, empty the cabinet, give up my ID”.

On Friday, Ikea responded by saying it had sacked Mr Tomasz for “using quotes from the Old Testament about death and blood in the context of what fate should meet homosexual people” and “expressing his opinion in a way that could affect the rights and dignity of LGBT+ people”.

Mr Tomasz is being represented by the conservative legal group Ordo Iuris, which describes its mission as defending the Polish constitution against “various radical ideologies that aggressively question the existing social order”.

The group, which has filed a lawsuit in the Krakow District Court seeking compensation and reinstatement for Mr Tomasz, accused Ikea of issuing a “false statement” about his dismissal.

It said Mr Tomasz did not call for violence in posting the quotes but was simply expressing his religious conviction.

“The insinuation contained in the Ikea statement is unacceptable and violates Mr Tomasz’s personal rights,” Ordo Iuris chairman Jerzy Kwasniewski said, adding it “can be read as motivated by prejudices against Christians”.

Mr Kwasniewski said Ikea was attempting to “censor the Holy Bible” by pointing to a quote from the Old Testament as “legally unacceptable and justifying the dismissal of an employee”.

On Friday, the country’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro said he had ordered the prosecutor’s office to look into the case to determine whether Ikea had broken any civil or criminal laws. Mr Ziobro described it as “shocking matter” and “absolutely scandalous if confirmed”.

On Sunday, a second employee told TVP Info he had resigned as an act of solidarity with Mr Tomasz. “(If Ikea) promotes equality and diversity, why was this Catholic thrown out of work for expressing his opinion?” he said.

According to the Church Militant website, Ikea was threatened with a boycott by Polish Catholics in 2008 after featuring a same-sex couple in its catalogue with the caption “Ian and Steve have no intention of having children” but “enjoy their command centre”, an Ikea kitchen.

Earlier this year Ikea produced a special rainbow flag to mark Pride Month but, acknowledging Catholic sensitivities, said the product would not be available in Poland.

In a statement to news.com.au, a spokeswoman for Ikea holding company Ingka Group said while the company welcomed people of all religious backgrounds, “using your religion as a reason for excluding others is considered discrimination”.

“At Ingka Group we believe everyone has the right to be treated fairly and be given equal opportunities whatever their gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, nationality, religion and/or any other dimension of their identity,” she said.

“Inclusion at Ingka Group means respecting our individual differences and creating a safe environment for all. Everyone’s views and opinions are welcome with the common goal to build a great place to work.

“This involves taking a stand on which types of behaviours and expressions are in line with our values and ambition for equality and which are not. Personal behaviours and expressions in the workplace cannot intrude on someone else’s personal sphere.

“Our human rights and equality policy, supported by our rule of equality and by our code of conduct specifically address lack of tolerance for discrimination and for exclusive behaviour.

“Using your religion background as a reason for excluding others is considered discrimination. While we welcome people of all religious backgrounds and celebrate our differences, this doesn’t mean that we endorse exclusive behaviours in the name of religion.”


UK: Blasphemy is now a sackable offence

An Asda worker has lost his job for sharing an ‘anti-Islamic’ Billy Connolly video

If you’re not a fan of religion – or political correctness – then it looks like a job at Asda isn’t for you. Examiner Live reports that Brian Leach, a 54-year-old disabled till worker, has been sacked from his job in a Dewsbury Asda because he shared a Billy Connolly video about religion on his personal Facebook page. This is a case so mad and authoritarian it really makes you double take.

He says he was grassed up by a colleague, from head office, who found the joke offensive. ‘I was then pulled into a meeting a couple of weeks later’, Leach told Examiner Live. ‘I was summarily dismissed without notice following a disciplinary meeting for breaching the company’s social-media policy.’ In the offending clip, says the Mirror, Connolly takes aim at Christianity, Islam and calls suicide bombers ‘f****** idiots’.

According to a dismissal letter shown to the press, Leach removed the post, admitted guilt and removed his colleagues from his Facebook circle. But this wasn’t enough. His bosses ruled he had committed gross misconduct by sharing something with the ‘potential to bring the company into disrepute’. This was not before his bosses extracted a quasi-Stalinist apology, quoted in the Mirror, nodding specifically to Connolly’s jokes about Islam:

‘I have spoken to affected colleagues apologising for my post, taking their feedback onboard. I have realised people’s faiths are very important to them, and the nature of the post regarding the sensitive nature of it relating to the holy place of Islam… If I had faith I can imagine being very upset myself… I will think very carefully before posting online or saying anything that could be interpreted as hurtful to others and my place of work.’

When sharing a blasphemous video – on your own private Facebook feed, no less – becomes a sackable offence in supermarket chains, you know something has gone very, very wrong.


The British establishment has lost its marbles

The "great and the good" are now the dim and the gullible

The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr should be given an award. No, not the Orwell Prize, whose committee debased itself in rewarding conspiracy theories over actual journalism by giving Cadwalladr the award last year. And no, not the Pulitzer Prize, for which Cadwalladr was nominated this year – perhaps she pipped rival conspiracist David Icke for the spot on the shortlist? She should instead be given an award for her services to Brexit.

That may sound counterintuitive. Cadwalladr’s conspiratorial journalism is, of course, motored by a passionate hatred of Brexit. She has tried to blame Brexit on Facebook, on data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, on Russian money, Russian bots, Russian disinformation and Russia Today. She writes of a ‘Great British Brexit robbery’, of democracy being ‘hijacked’ by ‘shadowy global operations’, made possible by ‘dark money’. She weaves webs of intrigue that connect a whole host of characters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump to Nigel Farage to Julian Assange – all of whom are apparently in it together to bring about Brexit. Cadwalladr’s work is littered with caveats like ‘we can’t be sure’ or ‘Is it true? Who knows?’. Nevertheless, ‘questions’ are always ‘swirling’: ‘Did Leave.EU seek to obtain foreign support for a British election?’; ‘Why did Vote Leave donate £625,000 to a 23-year-old fashion student during the referendum?’; ‘Could this be why Farage is ignoring me?’

The great irony in all this is while Cadwalladr believes she has ‘exposed’ the key to understanding and undermining Brexit, what she has in fact exposed is the mental and moral disorientation at the heart of the British establishment. She has been given awards from the Orwell Prize, Reporters without Borders, the Hay Festival, the Political Studies Association and more. Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson (recently described in a public inquiry as a ‘patsy for fake news’ and a ‘vehicle for conspiracy theorists’) has hailed her work as ‘brilliant and brave’. That the journalistic establishment falls over itself to lavish her codswallop with awards, and the fact that Remain MPs cite her codswallop in parliament, tells us a great deal.

It tells us that many people who hold positions of power have still not accepted the referendum result of 2016, and will cling to any excuse to avoid doing so. It tells us how little they trust the public, you and me, with making important decisions. They really do believe that we are too easily duped by social media and foreigners to truly know what we want. The willingness of the great and the good to indulge in wacky conspiracy theories demolishes their credibility as serious political actors – and Cadwalladr has done a great service in, inadvertently, bringing these faults and failures to light.

Unfortunately, one of her greatest bugbears, Arron Banks, is now suing her for defamation. Banks is the pro-Brexit businessman who bankrolled UKIP when Nigel Farage led the party and who helped to set up Leave.EU, an unofficial Leave campaign.

Banks is a regular target of Cadwalladr’s, but two statements in particular have caught his ire. In June, in a speech delivered to The Convention: Never Again, Cadwalladr said: ‘We know that the Russian government offered money to Arron Banks.’ She made similar allegations in a TED talk back in April. ‘I’m not even going to go into the lies that Arron Banks has told about his covert relationship with the Russian government.’ For a while, Banks seemed to enjoy trading in a bad-boy image. When appearing at a select committee hearing, he made no apologies for meeting the Russian ambassador – nor for their six-hour, boozy lunch. But clearly he has now had enough of the constant questioning.

Banks is wrong to do this. Not only does Cadwalladr deserve to be defended on free-speech grounds – her right to write her bizarre columns ought to be protected in a free society – but on practical, partisan grounds, too. Her fevered ramblings – and the establishment’s embrace of them – are an absolute gift to the Brexit cause. Banks should take one for the team, and let Carole carry on.


Dumped from an Australian Writer's Festival

Bettina Arndt

Writer's festivals have long been a joke in this country - well known as lovefests of ideologues preaching feminist and leftist claptrap to their rapt devotees. Even Germaine Greer found herself banned from a writer's festival last year for daring to challenge the party line on rape.

 Imagine my surprise when I received an invitation recently to appear at this year's Canberra Writer's Festival, to speak about my new book #MenToo. I happily agreed to take part in two panels, one on "Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing" - supposedly on the consequences of #MeToo - and the other on women over 50.

Yesterday, Michaela Bolzan, the Artistic Director of the CWF wrote excitedly informing me of the "super" panel they'd put together for the first women/men panel:

* There's self-described "card-carrying feminist", our former Human Rights Commissioner, Gillian Triggs.
 * Domestic violence campaigner and journalist Jane Gilmore, known for her anti- male bile.
* LGBTIQ activist, advocate for Safe Schools, and former GetUp campaign director, Sally Rugg, currently embroiled in a campaign to take down rugby player Israel Folau for posting his religious views on social media.
* And writer David Leser whose virtue-signalling article (and forthcoming book) produced the title for this panel. "Why is it that men have killed, enslaved, scarred, diminished and silenced women of every age, race and class, on every continent, for so long?" Leser ponders.

I advise you to read the rest and marvel at the stupidity and misandry of this man.

So that was the "super" panel now proposed to talk about women and men in the age of #MeToo. There was no longer any pretence of including balance in this proposed orgy of male-bashing - I was dropped from the panel and asked to moderate the session. Ditto the panel on women over 50, where I was asked to moderate a panel which included - wait for it - the dreaded Jane Caro, now notorious for her foul-mouthed election night tweet accusing "truculent turds" of sending Australia backwards by voting conservative. Her anti-male tirades are equally well known.

Unsurprisingly, I have pulled out of the event, pointing out I have no interest in being a punching bag for this line up of loonies and their followers. But it says a great deal about the huge waste of government funding supporting this divisive rubbish. The Canberra Writers Festival is supported by the ACT Government, ACT Libraries and ABC Radio Canberra plus there's an annual grant from ACT Labor of $125,000.  How about some of you lobbying these organisations to provide more balanced discussion at these events?

Via email


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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