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Man wins $65K after being fired for refusing to be fingerprinted (startribune.com)
203 points by miles 44 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 234 comments



Good. Religious exemptions are pragmatic canaries for state overreach. People are not livestock, even if states and employers like to treat them that way. The idea of a religious exemption isn't just some pastafarian variation, it represents a very real line between the individual and group and whether one is a citizen or mere property.

This is the marking issue with biometrics. Are you a being with agency, or are you property represented by your mark? The point of privacy laws are that your consent is required, and taking things from you under duress or coercion is not consent.


Religious exemptions shouldn't be a thing though. I should not get more protections or rights in any way than another citizen because I happen to have or claim different beliefs than them.

I'm not talking about being discriminated against because of religious beliefs, mind you. I'm talking about the right to do or refuse something (e.g., refuse a fingerprint or, or refuse to serve alcohol) and protection of those choices.


Telling people they can have a religion but they can't practice it is as laughabaly silly as telling them they have freedom of speech so long as they don't say undesirable things. The entire point of a religion is implementation and execution of beliefs as a practice, without that it's just belief or philosophy which I don't believe is protected specifically as you noted.

I think people who ride your train of thought just don't like religion and disagree with it being a fundamental right. To which I would vehementely disagree because most of the other important rights modern societies enjoy became a thing in a very religious time and religious reasoning was used (of course I have many more reasons as well). I think it boils down to what may seem like a false dichotomy but is very true -- you either take the route of regulating people's ability to live according to their belief or you don't.

Don't be surprised when this is used against you either. If you live in America or even some european countries (see poland and hungary) your irreligious practices become also regulated. If the state can regulate belief then it can for example force kids to pray at school or punish kids who pray at school. It took millenia of wars and conflict to finally decide, let's not tell other people how to believe and how to practice said belief. Let's not forget the past and even the present?


The OP point is still clear. If the law says "You must do x unless you have a religious exemption" then why should anyone at all be expected to do x if clearly it isn't important enough to enforce on all people.

If your religion includes killing people, it is still illegal regardless of your religion. So it seems reasonable that any law which can be overridden by a religious exemption should be dropped for all people.


There are established laws that take all it that into account. But new law should be crafted with people's legitimate beliefs in mind. You mention murder but how about something more controversial like a Christian baker being forced to make cakes for gay weddings? How is that not analogous to compelled speech and regulated religion? It is one thing for the government to restrict gay weddings, it is another to enforce people support it despite their beliefs.

Of course, in the eyes of western law, religion does not supersede the rule of law. But at the same time, legislation or judicial enforcement done in ignorance of the people's religions (or lack thereof) is in effect regulating their faith. Just citizens can't claim ignorance when they disobey the law, the gov shouldn't claim ignorance of people's beliefs either.

The only time it makes sense to infringe on religious freedom is when preventing infringement of others' liberty. Point being, murder violated someone's liberty while a baker refusing business violated a right (not liberty since other bakers are willing to serve the couple). I would draw the line by saying concerting to restrict others rights would violate liberties.


>something more controversial like a Christian baker being forced to make cakes for gay weddings?

I don't think this changes anything really. If religious people can use their religion as a valid reason for discrimination, why shouldn't everyone be able to discriminate?

To me, I think everyone should have exactly the same legal rights. Either everyone has to bake the cake or no one does.


The problem is the definition of "discrimination". Everyone _is_ able to discriminate all the time. I'm free to discriminate between cookie flavors I buy, or discriminate between genders of people I date. What the law forbids is not _serving_ people because of the color of their skin or their sexual preferences.

And that is also not the case of Jack Phillips. He didn't refuse to serve gay people, and IIRC the accusers on the case were regular clients.

He refused to _design_ a custom cake for a gay wedding, which is akin to a Jewish t-shirt designer refusing to design a logo involving a Swastika, or a black transgender baker refusing to bake a cake that says "white lives matter" or "sex is immutable".

This seems much more related to compelled speech than sexual discrimination.


>which is akin to a Jewish t-shirt designer refusing to design a logo involving a Swastika, or a black transgender baker refusing to bake a cake that says "white lives matter" or "sex is immutable" These are really not equivalent at all. Not even remotely.


As an atheist that's one thing I like about religion: preserving religious freedoms helps preserve the freedom of all people.

That said it's not a pure good. Religions can push for oppressive laws that match their beliefs.


and let's not forget that not having a religion is a religious freedom.


As an atheist I would expect you to understand "good" in your opinion might be "bad" in others'. For example, I think some forms of oppression are good. Like by all means opress jihadism,death cults and hardline communism.

Also, secular laws are seen as opressive to religious people.being forced to make a secular sign feels as opressive as being forced to pray at school. Both are a majority population implementing shared belief


I think it’s pretty clear by now that anything that can be excused with a religious exemption probably isn’t critical enough to be a legal requirement for the rest of the population.

Such as income taxes. I’m not against religious organizations not paying income tax but I do think they should pay property tax beyond the acreage required for the church/temple/mosque building, a garage and a parking lot. Allowances could be made if they run a pantry or a school for additional tax free land but no more of this having a church own dozens to hundreds of acres and buildings that they have little to no incentive to use for anything once purchased. Since they don’t pay property or income taxes, inflation does not hit them as hard but since they are competing for the same properties in the market they have an unfair advantage.


> Telling people they can have a religion but they can't practice it is as laughabaly silly as telling them they have freedom of speech so long as they don't say undesirable things.

Freedom of Speech != Freedom of Consequence.

Don't care for the rest of the comment because I've come to believe those that can't wrap their heads around the difference between civil and criminal law are not worth talking to about either.

Some might say there's irony in the religious component being mentioned, but I say it is natural. Not many incentives to think critically or against the grain in religion, not surprising it is rare amongst its proponents then.


> Freedom of Speech != Freedom of Consequence

This is becoming rather a tedious thought-terminating cliché in some circles. They rarely specify who should determine the consequences and which consequences are acceptable, which is usually exactly what's being discussed.

As in this case, where the discussion is whether losing one's job is an acceptable consequence when your beliefs lead you to action, inaction, or speech someone in power doesn't like.


Indeed, this was a very common argument by the regime apologists in South American military dictatorships.


>Freedom of Speech != Freedom of Consequence

Ah yes, Godwin's law for the 2020's. So we can fire people for spouting commie propaganda (ie promoting unions) now?


Why not send them to Gulags. We just need them to know beforehand that some kind of speech have this unfortunate consequence.


I agree about consequence. Both for speech and religion however, you are protected from and you are free from consequence by the government!


I didn't tell people they can have a religion but they can't practice it. And I never said freedom of religious belief was not a fundamental right. And I don't dislike religion. And what do you know of my "irreligious practices"?

Your whole post is just a big, oafish strawman. I might be insulted if it weren't so bad that it's actually making me laugh.


> most of the other important rights modern societies enjoy became a thing in a very religious time and religious reasoning was used

Which times? And what religious reasoning?

Personally, it makes me think of "Les Lumières", and I fail to see any religious reasoning in Voltaire or Rousseau.

So, being pretty sure we aren’t thinking of the same times and people, I’m curious.


I agree with you on principal but the courts have kind of interpreted the free exercise clause of the first amendment broadly by 2021 standards and there's not really any going back.


I'm not sure it's that bad. It's still the law in the United States that you cannot claim a religious exemption to a (state) law of general applicability. If the law applies to everyone regardless of religion and was not intended to impact a particular religious practice, then you cannot challenge it you because you claim that it affects your right to exercise your religion. See City of Boerne v. Flores, which affirmed Employment Division v. Smith despite Congress's attempt to legislate it away.


Would a state law banning infant male circumcision as genital mutilation without consent stand?

How about a state law against branding or tattooing infants or any other irreversible body modification?

Clearly these are both rhetorical questions with obvious answers. Whether or not those obvious answers are morally correct is another matter.


I'm not sure what point you are making here. Presumably your obvious answer is "yes"? For example, there are indeed some states that outlaw tattooing minors (although many states do permit it with parental consent).


I think he is pointing out that you could never ban circumcisions, but that it's scaring children for life, which is otherwise banned (tattoos). (and morally objectionable)


I'm not sure there isn't a path to banning circumcisions. After all the first amendment really only applies to the exercise of religious beliefs that affect your own personal autonomy. You can't claim a first amendment right to murder your enemies highlander style.

Ergo, while traditional, the fact that you are requesting the modification of another human (not yourself), I could see this not surviving a challenge down the line.

After all, female genital mutilation (which is obviously far worse) represents a similar request for modification of a living human - not yourself - for religious purposes, and it is outright banned in the overwhelming majority of the United States. While a Federal ban was struck down, it was not struck down on First Amendment grounds but rather due to same being outside the scope of enumerated powers of the federal government and not covered by the commerce clause. [1]

This leaves the state laws in force in all but 9 states.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation_in_t...


Agreed. I think it's very likely that a ban would be upheld against a Free Exercise challenge (even though at least one lower court did strike such a proposal down on this ground).

Some people think it would not survive a Due Process challenge, though, because there isn't a strong enough basis to overcome a parent's fundamental right to make decisions about their child. I could see that being a close question.


I agree, and I think the prevailing climate would have to change first. However I don't see anything that would make such a law fundamentally and obviously unconstitutional.

The case I could make is that it may prevent the child's right to future free exercise of a religion in which the, uh, package should be, err, OEM.


btw, IMO, I don't think parents should be in a position to make any irrevocable physical modifications to their children for religious or aesthetic purposes.

Once you turn 18, by all means, feel free to take a little off the top.


Sure there is. That's what amendments are for.


And in today’s political climate in the US, the chance of getting an amendment passed by 2/3 of both houses of Congress AND 38/50 states is basically nil.


That is not exactly true. Legislation like the Patriot Act or anti-child trafficking measures get bilateral support.


Replace religious exemption with phrase deep conviction; relation to religion is only in use in policy as mass religion played a role to counter government, requiring at least some compromise for government to gain the most popular religions/organizations as allies, to align with.


That is the Dutch standard, “deep conviction”, but I see no merit in that either.

One should not be given special privileges because one's convictions be “deep” which is, if anything, symptomatic of not basing them on prudence but on hysteria and emotion.

It's also irrelevant for the company itself; if a company can reasonably accommodate a man whose convictions are deep, it can do so the same with anyone else for the same reason.


I wholeheartedly agree. Where is the line in deep conviction?

can I steal if I had a deeply held religious conviction that it is appropriate?


The Roma believe themselves descended from the thief who stole Jesus' nail. Therefore, not only do they permit themselves to steal, but their stealing has widely been tolerated by authorities (even if not by the populations that they steal from).

That's been changing since the early twentieth century, but for decades the Roma were known as thieves. Unfortunately the stigma still lives until today.

EDIT: To the downvoters: Your social justice crusade is ridiculous. I'm not passing judgement on this group, I'm stating the facts. You'll notice that I called them Roma, like they call themselves today, and not the more common name associated with them in English which they decided themselves to avoid.

Hm, there is even no mention of the nail myth on the Roma Wikipedia page. But there is a separate page, not linked from the main Roma page, that explains it and even mentions that Roma are permitted to steal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_crucifixion_legend


  >  but for decades the Roma were known as
Centuries, not decades.


Religious exemptions are not limited to "official religions". Deep moral and philosophical exemptions can and have been made.


Sure, but if an exception is made for anyone based on their beliefs, it should be available to everyone universally regardless of their beliefs. Otherwise, people de facto have a different set of rights based on their beliefs.

These sorts of exceptions have historically been made in deference to pragmatism, an example being not drafting bona fide pacifists into the military due to the pointlessness thereof. But deferring to pragmatism when dealing with the topic of human rights is offensive.


> Sure, but if an exception is made for anyone based on their beliefs, it should be available to everyone universally regardless of their beliefs.

In the US it is, the government doesn't act as a priest determining who is or isn't part of the Faith. In Canada it is similar, the only requirement is one of sincerity and good faith.

> Otherwise, people de facto have a different set of rights based on their beliefs.

It only becomes a question or rights when a a restriction is applied in the first place. Religious exemptions always come up when some kind of government policy is mandated (state education, vaccines, taxes, etc.). The "additional" rights only appear as a consequence of personal agency in the first place. Which is why it was called "the canary in the coal mine of rights".

> But deferring to pragmatism when dealing with the topic of human rights is offensive.

Hugh? It seems to me that pragmatism has a well deserved place in every aspects of political life.


in canada i think the phrase is "conscience", but that doesn't mean objections of conscience are treated equally


> I'm talking about the right to do or refuse something (e.g., refuse a fingerprint or, or refuse to serve alcohol) and protection of those choices.

I hope you're not fond of "the weekend" considering it used to take a religious exemption to get a day off work at all https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbat

"Oop, gotta go — it's Buchwuch!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg58j-MoFic


That's not an argument.


Anything I don't like is an invalid argument

"The present-day concept of the relatively longer 'week-end' first arose in the industrial north of Britain in the early 19th century and was originally a voluntary arrangement between factory owners and workers allowing Saturday afternoon off from 2 pm on the basis that staff would be available for work sober and refreshed on Monday morning."


Your post did not even attempt to address anything I wrote. It was not an argument. Hoping I'm not fond of weekends is not an argument.


It’s a challenge — poster is asking if you also oppose weekends, since that would be presumably required to make your argument consistent with other things unmentioned.


A vague rhetorical question is not an argument even if the person who wrote it may have had some logic or data behind what they said that could be formed into a proper argument. It's just a lazy, way overused tool that is more often than not employed when no such sound argument exists. They can't type out of logical coherent opposition, so they throw out some vague snide kind of question that's supposed to look like a gotcha but really doesn't mean anything when you look at it. It's lazy and underhanded because it puts some of the burden back on the other person to refute it, at least on internet forums like this. The irony of the poster getting upset when I gave an equal-effort response!

And if you think I would need to "oppose weekends" (whatever that means) to be consistent, then you are wrong about that too. What exactly is it you think I am trying to argue, and how would failing to "oppose weekends" make my argument inconsistent?


At the risk of putting forth someone else’s argument, I feel like it’s pretty easy to guess what they were saying. Because you were stating that no one should receive special benefits because of their religion, one must question how weekends could come about in such a system, considering they likely started as a religious observance. Obviously the system that fostered their development allowed such benefits to be granted, but if they followed your model, they would not, and we might be working 7 day work weeks today as a result. Is that not bad?


> At the risk of putting forth someone else’s argument, I feel like it’s pretty easy to guess what they were saying.

So now you see how it wasn't an argument? You have to guess at what their actual argument! So they expect me to guess and construct an argument for them, and then refute it? Rubbish.

> Because you were stating that no one should receive special benefits because of their religion, one must question how weekends could come about in such a system,

Why must one question that? My argument was not "religion is responsible for nothing that I personally like or agree with". So this is just a bad strawman.

> considering they likely started as a religious observance.

If we were to change topic completely and argue about the origin of 5 day working week and other workplace health and safety reforms, I really don't know enough of the history of it. I have no problems acknowledging and being thankful for good things that religion has brought (if religion was responsible for the weekend, great that people had the sense to take my position on the matter and not restrict the weekend to religious people). However I would be slightly curious why it happened to come about right around the time of rising power of the labor movement in the west, and not any other time in the several millennia of these religions before then. Maybe just a coincidence. But either way I don't really care, I like weekends and I don't want them restricted to people with particular beliefs, so that's +1 for my argument.


Generally speaking, when good things have to be imported from the past, that’s a sign the present is broken. The old things are still seen as good, so why couldn’t they be created today?

Why should we not allow new advancements? If a religion has a good idea, people in that religion should be allowed to experiment with it. Maybe it will turn into something that can benefit society at large.


These are all wild pot shots that really don't form coherent arguments against my position. And you still have not had the decency to acknowledge or accept anything I wrote, or answer my question.

I mean, you're actually trying to equate giving everyone equal rights and protections under the law with not allowing new advancements. Sorry this is just stupid bad-faith arguing tactics.

I'd be happy to come back and respond to something substantial but obviously I'm not going to keep going down this path.


> And you still have not had the decency to acknowledge or accept anything I wrote, or answer my question.

Sorry, there was just a lot to respond to and I picked what seemed like the most productive parts to reply to.

> So now you see how it wasn't an argument? You have to guess at what their actual argument!

Regardless, a rhetorical question isn't useless. Most of the famous paradoxes are rhetorical questions that sparked a lot of debate within a community. Simply because it is not an argument does not mean it's lazy or not to be responded to.

> Why must one question that?

I find this an odd question to hear on a forum full of skeptics... IMO, we should question everything. It's just the best way to engage with a world full of misleading appearances.

> My argument was not "religion is responsible for nothing that I personally like or agree with".

But if you derive benefit from something created by religion, it is somewhat hypocritical to want to stamp out the ability of religions to create benefits for people.


Strawman. I don't want to stamp out the ability of religions to create benefits for people.

At this point we're both wasting each other's time here so that's it from me responding to these dishonest comments.


This article is about a religion creating benefits for a person, but you don't want that to happen. How is that a dishonest comment?


I am also not following whatever point you are trying to make or how it relates to the person you are responding to. It has nothing to do with liking or disliking your stance, but simply with your stance or idea not being presented clearly.


  > That's not an argument.
No, it's a conversation. And I hope you're not fond of "thou shall not murder" either.


That's not an argument or a conversation.


All right, then I'll rephrase as you seem inclined towards the former and not the latter.

On what axiom do you base the premise that citizens should not murder fellow citizens in your society?


What exactly do you think it would prove if I said the ten commandments is the basis? My point is that murder should be illegal regardless of the religion of the perpetrator or the victim, not that no laws are to be influenced by or borrowed from religion!


You saying there shouldn’t be religious exceptions is a religious statement. “Should” or “should not” implies that there is an objective best way or morally just way that goes above and beyond the scientific method, any such path of reasoning unless a part of a social contract or agreed upon definitions of such, it is religious in nature and thus unable to be proven beyond the echo chamber of people who already believe it.


Many (most) governments throughout history didn’t respect religious diversity and unless Ik mistaken such intolerance tended to lead to worse outcomes. You’re fundamentally making an argument against institutional pluralism.


This begs the question around "more," as though rights were a scalar measure of something fungible granted by a state, like allocating food between children. You probably wouldn't argue against the principle of rights of a minority to protections of their interest, and in the case of this exemption, the individual is the ultimate minority.


Disagree.

There’s a big difference between an Orthodox Jew being required to work on Saturday, and someone who just likes college football.

Accommodations that come from deepseated beliefs need to be treated with utmost respect.


Disagree.

There's no reason the state should say one person's personal choice to follow a religion allows them to forever be exempt from Saturday work, but someone who chooses to follow football has no right or guarantee to ever enjoy a Saturday. They deserve equal protections.

There are many people out there far more passionate about their hobbies than many people who use their religion to excuse them from various expectations. They shouldn't be denied enjoyment.


>There's no reason the state should say one person's personal choice to follow a religion

Religious people don’t see practicing their faith as a choice though, they see it as an obligation. Watching college ball is as tedious as religion but never an obligation


Football fanatics don't see missing a game as a choice either.


There's a massive difference between I like football a lot and I am accountable to God to keep the 4th Commandment.

Ezekiel 22:8,31 ESV

"You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths... [31] Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord GOD."

Ultimately freedom of religion prevents the situation in which a person is forced to come to the conclusion that a lower authority (government) is attempting to usurp the highest authority (God). At that point, any religious person has three bad alternatives:

1. Disobey God.

2. Suffer persecution from the government.

3. Rebel against the government.


Not every religion has a violent god who threatens death and eternal suffering for operating a mouse and keyboard on a Saturday, yet people of other religions are all granted equal exemptions as those who do choose to believe they'll be struck down.


> There’s a big difference between an Orthodox Jew being required to work on Saturday, and someone who just likes college football.

You can't just leave me hanging there! What's the big difference?

What if that Saturday watching football is the person's passion and the only time of the week they feel happy? Who is a 3rd-party to step in and be the decider of what other peoples' wants and needs and feelings and beliefs are?

Surely the default, simplest, easiest, and most just position is to treat everyone the same.

> Accommodations that come from deepseated beliefs need to be treated with utmost respect.

I don't think they need to at all. Plenty of flat earthers, anti vaxxers, climate denialists, conspiracy theorists have extremely deep seated beliefs to the point of religious fervor. There are also religions or religious people whose beliefs are abhorrent or wrong to others. Why would they or any other belief religious or otherwise entitle them to respect or rights or allowances that nobody else has?

Here's how you just completely skirt all that and make it fair and equal for all: give everyone equal rights and protections.


  > > Accommodations that come from deepseated beliefs need to be treated with utmost respect.

  > I don't think they need to at all. 
Do you have a deepseated belief that people should not murder? What about people who don't have such a belief?


These flimsy rhetorical questions are not the cunning gotchas you think they are. What about people who have a deepseated belief that they should murder?

Clearly "deepseated belief" is not a good basis to hand out rights to people, and a belief does not have any "need" to be given any particular respect based on how deep seated someone's faith in it might be.


Religious exemption is a proxy for an exemption of conscience. Which is something you should care about, unless you're perfectly tuned with the social zeitgeist.

And it's an excellent proxy since most people's consciences are formed by their religious beliefs (maybe not most HNers, but that's observational bias)


I think the person you're replying to is arguing all exemptions of conscience should be ubiquitous.

That we shouldn't have to rely on religion to fight that proxy battle for us.


For military service the term conscientious objector comes to mind which Wikipedia defines as “ [refusal] on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion” which seems appropriate to me.


"Refusal on the ground of freedom of thought" is enough to convey exactly the same without loss of meaning. No need to mention religion, no need for religion-specific exemptions.


Thinking about it practically… should we need to rely on it? Ideally no. But the reality seems to be, religion is getting us something we otherwise wouldn’t get. So why get rid of the good thing? If anything this is evidence of religion’s value.


> If anything this is evidence of religion’s value.

that's an odd take. a bit like saying "our founders loved X, so they carved out favorable laws for X, which is evidence that X is good."


If religion isn’t necessary to the well functioning of our system, we should expect to see just as many irreligious court challenges to this requirement that succeed. That said, we don’t. Regardless of whether it’s “inherently valuable,” it seems to be valuable here and now, in this system we live in.


Think of a religion more like a union


My point would still stand. Nobody should be given additional rights and protections under the law by virtue of being a member of a union (or political party or corporation or anything else).


Because democracy is not a tyranny of the majority, this will likely not happen, since life has so many shades of gray.


Corrupt and thoroughly outdated?


Even if you don't personally believe in any religion, it's useful for a society to formally acknowledge an authority that's greater than the individuals to whom it gives political power.


> it's useful for a society to formally acknowledge an authority that's greater than the individuals to whom it gives political power.

yes, as you noted...that higher authority is society not god. The concept of god is an attempt to impute one's/a group's morals on a society


But societies that deny God end up with a god anyway, and impute their morals on society anyway. I'd much rather have the higher authority be explicitly contemptuous of the head of state.


The problem is, you can’t poll society every time you need to decide the correct moral that applies. So you have to use your judgment, or in other words, ask yourself (aka be creative, effectively what asking God would accomplish assuming God doesn’t really exist).


So is voting


That just gives political power to people who purport to speak on behalf of this 'authority', some of whose motives or reasoning are highly questionable.


People with highly-questionable motives and reasoning inevitably show up anyway. If they have to concede that God is somebody besides themselves, then their armor has instant cracks.


I think you need to watch more televangelists cause they seem to be doing great :-/


Doesn't seem to really work that way.

Instead, they claim that <whatever they actually want to do next> is what their $deity has revealed must be done.


> The idea of a religious exemption isn't just some pastafarian variation

Anyone’s assumptions or thoughts can qualify as a religion. At least for any consistent and useful definition of religion.


And in the united states it does. A religion is any deeply held belief. That's the only standard.


> A religion is any deeply held belief.

I deeply believe in the existence of gravity. I guess that makes me a Scientitian.


And if a civic action depended on your belief in gravity, which was a belief the government did not share, then this would be relevant.


But where do you draw the line? What if I have a deeply held religious belief that human sacrifice is required by god? Can I then go around killing people? There’s got to be some kind of limit.


You draw the line at taxes.

> Members of certain religious groups (including the Amish and Mennonites) may be exempt from paying Social Security taxes. To become exempt, they must:

> Be a member of a religious sect that makes a reasonable provision of food, shelter and medical care for its dependent members and has done so continuously since December 31, 1950;

https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-02411


There is endless jurisprudence on this topic. Basically the government draws the line at where your beliefs affect others and there are different levels of urgency the government must show to trample on religious rights depending on the risk to the counterparty.


This. If my beliefs/“religion” say I can’t be fingerprinted, that’s fine. But if my beliefs say I need to sacrifice newborn babies on an altar, that’s not ok, and I will be charged with murder.


> Basically the government draws the line at where your beliefs affect others

Circumcision shows that this is not even the case.


There are plenty of lines around what rights a genuinely held belief entitles you to. What the parent is saying is that there is no line between religious and other deeply-held beliefs.


And they rarely do in countries that award special privileges to “religions”.

It all comes down to whether some court, quite arbitrarily, rules whether one's convictions are a “religion” or not, and if they be, one may derive special privileges from it.


It's actually not great, although I agree with you on several points. to be sure, people are not livestock.

But first, I'm not a member of any organized religion, so even though I might find something acceptable I can't invoke a religious exception since my unique spiritual outlook is unlikely to meet any court's threshold of acceptability.

Second, I honestly think this guy's religious claim is bullshit. There's no Christian stricture on concealing your identity, and given that the fingerprint was sought pursuant to a background check, I can even come up with a religious argument for why he should have complied (Matthew 22:22).

So while I support this guy's desire nt to be fingerprinted as a matter of human dignity, I don't think a religious exemption is the way to do it. Those have instead become a catch-all excuse for overtly religious people to opt out of things they don't like without having to meet the same threshold of legal credibility as others.


> taking things from you under duress or coercion is not consent

This was his job. With his private sector employer. Who paid him money in exchange for services.

Someone being forced to resign because their work requirements are incompatible with their beliefs is part of having a moral code. You're not entitled to be able to work in a specific job.

Refusing to being tracked with an identifier, when you're working in a security sensitive job, is absolutely "an undue hardship" on your employer.

And the idea that alternative accommodations for a background check exist is bullshit. By definition, they all boil down to attesting to your identity + searching for a certain class of records against that identity.

(I'm all for creating equality by leveling the playing field for things outside of individual's control, but at some point, you're harming everyone else's equality by making bad-faith... faith claims)


> This was his job. With his private sector employer. Who paid him money in exchange for services.

Who then changed the agreement from not even mentioning requiring fingerprinting to absolutely requiring it. That's the most egregious bad-faith example in this story.

If a business can arbitrarily declare "You now all need to pass background checks including fingerprinting to keep your jobs", what's to stop them saying "You now need to accept getting paid half of what we'd agreed to when you were employed"?

There was an employment agreement, the employer wished to add conditions to that after the agreement was reached between the two parties. And there apparent "re negotiation" of that agreement was the company saying "OK, you're fired". And the EEOC and the court both decided that was not OK. Which seems like the right outcome to me, regardless of whether the "religious discrimination" makes any sense or not. I'd totally expect the prosecution lawyers to play whatever the strongest argument the law had available to them. I would totally let a lawyer convince me it was appropriate to claim I have a christian belief and that part of that means I do not want to be fingerprinted, if that allowed them to use the most powerful legal argument against an employer who had arbitrarily and capriciously fired me on the spot for resisting being fingerprinted to keep the job I'd had to 16 months without that requirement.


> what's to stop them saying "You now need to accept getting paid half of what we'd agreed to when you were employed"?

In most of the US, for most US jobs, absolutely nothing. The vast majority of US workers are at-will employees. Their boss can call them up at any point and say “We’ve decided that starting next pay period, we’ll be cutting your salary in half. Have a great day!” The employee’s options are to accept that or start job hunting.


Yeah - I've never quite understood that "at will" employment status you have over there.

Here in Australia, we're a fair bit more heavily unionised than you are over there, which helps keep some of the power imbalance in the employers favour in check.

Not that unionisation is perfect though either. When I was growing up it was a regular thing for unions to wield their collective power in aggressively overreaching ways - it was common for transport unions and fuel industry unions to have extended strikes over pay claims right before christmas, tand truck drivers would stop delivering to stores, oil refineries would shut down resulting in fuel rationing, and dock workers would stand down resulting in queues full of container ships full of imported goods on the horizon at the beach in summer.


The point of at will employment is that there's supposed to be a free labor market. In that employers are free to act as they desire (hire and fire) and employees are free to act as they desire (hired and quit).

The reaction to a bad job is... you quit and find another one.

Granted, there are substantial power balances between the parties, which is why even the US adds some federal protections (can't fire or decide not to hire for certain protected reasons, wage and work hour limitations) and states can add more (most relevant to HN, California's ignoring non-compete agreements).

But this particular example just smacks of entitlement, when the government worker protection departments should probably be spending more time on chicken processing factories running 18 hour shifts around band saws and paying minimum wage.


>The reaction to a bad job is... you quit and find another one.

Which is also an option in non At-Will Employment states.


Yes, but limitations on the fire and hire employer side make that a different proposition.

The harder it becomes to fire people, the harder it becomes to hire them.


> The point of privacy laws are that your consent is required, and taking things from you under duress or coercion is not consent.

This seems like your taking it a bit to the extreme. We both agree that for me to hire you to do a job I’m allowed to know who you are right? And that to identify the one person out of the world population I am allowed to keep a record with enough details that I can identify if a person is in fact you, right? Now if my bookeping of people changes from “roughly visually resembles the same person” which we both agree is a rubbish measure if any kind of security is involved to “has known fingerprint” and you refuse to comply, why then should I not be allowed to fire the person who I can no-longer identify out of the world population?

You have complete freedom to not want people to see your face or know your fingerprint, but you just cannot take away the freedom of a potential employer to be able to identify who you are by the means they decide.


In most states in the United States, the notion of consent in the employment context is very different than, say, European privacy law. In European law, consent from an employee is almost impossible to obtain for any significant decision because of the inherent power imbalance in an employment relationship.

However, in the United States, where most employees are employed "at will," deciding to remain an employee is often considered to be consent. The law considers that you have choice: you choose to work there and consent, or you chose to not work there.

In this story, it appears that there is a separate law considering religious freedom and not privacy that requires employers to make some accommodations when not too burdensome.


This, alone, is not the full picture. It's trivially easy to get into utter absurdity. What if an employer decides they can only identify people by surgically grafting special ID cards to their foreheads?

There is - obviously - more at play here than simply the right of the employer to identify employees by any means they wish. There is some level of reasonableness here as well.

This moves the argument into murkier grounds, as now we have to figure out how reasonable fingerprints are in any given situation.


If they decide that, then you don't have an inherent right to work there. You're allowed to quit.

It's similar to how people who are unwilling to dispense reproductive care or contraceptives have many career options available to them - but no inherent right to be pharmacists or doctors.


This seems patently ridiculous. How can there be no limits just because a perspective employee can theoretically refuse?

What if all the companies decided to have these requirements?

There's an inherent power imbalance here that isn't so simple as dismissing any issues simply because there is no literal gun being held to the head at the moment of decision.

And I'll assume even you have limits somewhere. For example, predicating employment for a cushy remote via snail-mail job on a specific person happening to die... Eventually you just get to the most threadbare excuses for soliciting illegal activity.


You don't have a right to work anywhere specific, but you do have a right as an employee that a big list of things cannot be required by your employer.


You're just arguing against the idea of employment laws as a concept. Where do you draw the line? I would have assumed "Employers don't have a right to require physical mutilation" would have been a universal belief, but apparently not.


That a completely different and silly argument. Should an employer be allowed to raise an employees wage? Yes, sure.... but no, if hey are allowed to modify the terms of employment hat must mean they’ve also should have he right to steal employees first borne!!?

You trying to argue against fingerprinting, a identification practice so damn common that’s almost everyone currently has a device in their pocket using it, by saying “but what if they then adopt something completely unacceptable!!?” That’s not an argument against the simple known technology, it’s just an absurd slippery sloop argument where you pretend everything is one giant variation of similar actions an therefore nothing must ever change for fear that this could mean over negative changes could come.


I was trying to use an absurd example to point out that it's not unreasonable to set some limits on what an employer can ask of a (possibly potential) employee.

I was not commenting on what those limits are or should be. I was only pointing out that they exist.

I don't understand how this relates to your own example. You seem to be trying to say that a contract is either completely mutable in an unlimited way or else totally immutable? I don't see how that's true at all. There are many limits on contracts already, and yet they still change frequently as situations change.


Hang on there. Allowing religious exemptions, and only religious exemptions, is a tiny fraction of the way to getting actual non-coerced consent.


That has its benefits given that anyone could otherwise just make up beliefs on the spot to suit their need. Religion requires a bit more institutionalisation and weight.


When it comes to biometrics, why is it bad if I decide on the spot I'm not okay with it, as opposed to having decided as part of an institution?


It shouldn't, but the organized religions have largely held their ground on principle, when others have given up rights for broken promises of safety, or equality, or "for the greater good," but most of all, because they think it'll only apply to others or be used in a limited scope.

And that's never the case.


How is that distinction constitutional? Privately held beliefs are illegitimate unless they are held with a registered institution?


There often (not always) is no functional way to tell the difference between a belief made up on the spot and a “religious” belief.


Could someone just start a religion that disallows taxation and stop paying taxes?


I very much doubt that any government would allow that, for obvious reasons.


There are other somewhat similar cases however.

In Finland, conscription may be avoided by being a Jehova's witness, that sole religion, on the basis of that it is a non-violent religion, ignoring that many other religions have similar tenants, and many non-religious people are also deeply pacifist who are still conscript. — That sole religion, so named, is exempted from conscription.

And one only need prove membership, not prove that one actually holds those non-violent beliefs to be exempt.


It's unfortunate that one needs to make up a god to be exempt from the some of the most awful governmental abuses like conscription, but I'd rather have such an exemption than not have it at all.


There are pop-up churches giving religious exceptions to the covid vaccine. People are clearly using using religious exemptions as a loophole for "but I don't wanna."


By "don't wanna," do you mean decline to consent?


[flagged]


Please don't take HN threads into religious flamewar. It's not what this site is for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


"Harrington informed APRS in July 2017 that having his fingerprints captured was contrary to his 'sincerely held religious belief.'"

Good on him, but I thought they actually checked up on the whole "religious beliefs" thing? Is this an actual Christian belief?

Edit: "Plaintiff, a devout Christian, informed AST that the Book of Revelation prohibits the “mark of the devil” which she believed included fingerprinting and that she would not get into Heaven if fingerprinted. She asked AST for an accommodation, such as undergoing a different type of background check that did not require fingerprinting.

AST purportedly informed her that no accommodations were available and terminated her employment for refusing to comply with CPSL’s fingerprinting requirement.

Asserting that AST allowed at least one employee with “unreadable” fingerprints to participate in an alternative background check, plaintiff’s ensuing lawsuit alleged religious discrimination and unlawful retaliation." https://tbowleslaw.com/religious-objection-mandatory-fingerp...


Not a lawyer, but seems from the outside that they key thing is that another employee did get an alternate background check. So being told no accommodations are available is BS.

Seems like a pretty straightforward argument from there to saying the employee is being discriminated against for a sincerely held religious belief. The belief itself being fringe hogwash is irrelevant.

Plus the employee offering to accept an alternative form of verification seems to point to the belief (however dumb) being sincere.


Ah, must've skimmed past that part! yeah, that seems pretty clear-cut. Thanks!


On the other hand, afaik the mark of the beast is something placed/written on you by the antichrist. Whereas your fingerprints, are, like, part of your body. So even if you grant that the mark of the beast is a thing people believe in this doesn’t make much sense.


> something placed/written on you

That is a reasonable and mainstream interpretation, but one has to wonder how someone living in the first century AD would conceptualise a system of biometric surveillance and control, so that they could write about it using the language of the day.

If someone uses their thumbprint to register their identity with their phone, and uses that biometric to unlock a digital copy of a government-issued ID, for example, then it seems almost pedantic to quibble about whether the "mark" is placed or stored on their body, or on their device, or in "the cloud".

Also, the book of Revelation equates "the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name", suggesting that taking a "name" can be equivalently bad to taking a "mark", and that there is a system of assigning numeric (perhaps digital) values to human-readable names.

It is hard to say precisely what constitutes taking a number separately from taking a mark, but I think that a reasonable analogy (even if not a correct interpretation) is a system where people's digital identities are stored under the control of a single global database. The "number" could refer to the digital value of the entire database, or there could be a hierarchical system with a central key exercising authority over regional keys, which exercise authority over per-person keys, like the web PKI only more centralised at the top.


omg stop. This is just sophistry.

There are lots of good arguments against the surveillance state or the idea of privacy as a fundamental right, reverse-engineering 2000 year old religious visions to mean something opposite of their plainly stated text (notwithstanding translation) is neither necessary nor helpful.

Need I remind you that the events of the New Testament start around the time of a Roman census, so the idea of individuals' own names being catalogued by the state was not an unfamiliar concept even back then.


I wasn't trying to suggest that the book of Revelation is the only reason to support the idea of privacy as a fundamental right. It is of course possible for people to support that right for many other good reasons.

However, I'm not sure if the "plainly stated text" of Revelation really has such a clear and unambiguous interpretation. Compare Revelation 19:16 which also talks about someone having a name written on them, which I don't think anyone would take literally, and they certainly wouldn't the previous verse where a sharp sword comes out of someone's mouth to strike down nations.

You may not find these interpretations helpful, but others do, and it's fine to see things differently. Also, you're right that Roman censuses would be well known to individuals living in the first century AD, as was the practice of branding slaves, so these would be natural analogies for the writer to use to convey spiritual truths, and perhaps more complicated as-yet-uninvented systems.


> one has to wonder how someone living in the first century AD would conceptualise a system of biometric surveillance and control

I submit that one does not, in fact, have to wonder that.


Okay, let me rephrase that.

If one believes that the events described in Revelation are events which are destined to occur in our future, and they were written about from the perspective of a man who lived in the first century AD, then it is worth considering the possibility that the events described would involve systems that would be difficult for him to understand and describe in the way that we see them.

Under such a set of assumptions, someone who is interested in interpreting the prophecy should wonder whether biometric surveillance is the sort of system that would be expressed by such a first century writer in the way that the beast system is expressed in Revelation.


I suppose that means that a sincerely held religious belief need not actually be a tenet of the religion you follow, so long as you believe it, and believe it is related to your religion. Personally this seems like a gray area that is ripe for abuse. But I guess until such abuse becomes much more commonplace, we will not see a reform in the degree to which religious beliefs are favored by the courts.

On the other hand, if such abuse becomes more prominent and causes more interference with how business gets done, then you could imagine a scenario where one-off beliefs are much less favored, and the state has to get involved in figuring out whether the belief is actually religious, or if it's just some random thing you believe that you attach religious significance to. (Distinguishing minority religious views from this will be extremely difficult.)


Generally the courts in their wisdom have decided its not the States interest to be pontificating on which religious beliefs are valid and sanctioned and which are not. That would be putting the cart before the horse. If the State gets to decide, then you might as well throw out all religious beliefs. The state is the Church.

Hence the standard that the belief just needs to be deeply held. I know that the knee jerk reaction is to give government more power. But you know, in America the power is with the people still.

If the State and corporations gets to decide what you put in your body, and what God you get to believe in, then the foundational promise of America is dead.


I have my own opinions about the wisdom of the courts. There are plenty of countries where religious beliefs are given far less leeway to interfere with secular contracts and associations, and many of those countries are still fine places to live. IMO, that's the proper place for religion, but there would have to be much abuse before we countenanced going in that direction in the US.


> secular contracts and associations, and many of those countries are still fine places to live.

Sure, that’s a great answer for people who aren’t religious or whose religious practices happen to line up well with secular “contracts and associations”. Not good for devout people though.


Hard to design a policy that is beneficial to all possible folks affected by that policy, especially when the interests of some stakeholders are in conflict.


> for a sincerely held religious belief.

You can't just let every single human claim whatever they want is a religious belief. To claim that having your likeness captured (whether it's a photo of your face, your foot, your fingers, or whatever) is against your religious beliefs is laughable. Does the person not have no drivers license (their face captured by a camera)?

If we can claim whatever we want, well it's against my religious belief to be fired.


The courts really do not want to get into the bussiness of dictating people's religion. They explicitly do not require that a religious belief be well supported by the text, orthodoxy, or any denomination of the religion. Nor do they require that a religious belief is self consistent or unchanging through time. It is possible to argue that a belief is not sincerly held, but it is very difficult to win such an arguement. As such these legal arguemnts are almost always about what constitutes a 'reasonable accomodation'.

Perpetual employment is not a reasonable accomodation; but if you work in HR at a large company, you could probably get out of handling the firing of other employees.

In practice what this means is that if an employee says they have a strong personal conviction about something, the employer must offer reasonable accomodations if any are available, or be prepared to show that the claim was made in bad faith.


I legitimately knew a ~50 year old person, when I was a child, who believed that having your photograph taken captured part of your soul, and she would not allow her photograph to be taken.

Apparently it was a widely-held Native American religious belief: https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/8380/did-some-c...


You are cherry picking from the comment (and the article):

> the key thing is that another employee did get an alternate background check

It doesn't matter if it's a religious belief that you approve of or not. The point is it was possible but was not offered as an option for this person.


Nah, you're assuming I'm discussing the case in the article, when in fact I'm just talking about religious belief exemptions in general.


> Does the person not have no drivers license

It's legal to not have a driver's license, if one does not drive on public roads.


It depends. I’m 99% certain the Amish would not approve of fingerprinting. But it’s certainly not a widespread belief among the most popular mainstream Christian sects. However some states allow for a religious exemption that is based on personal belief, so one doesn’t need their pastor or priest to agree.


Hmm, I had no idea one way or the other about the Amish and fingerprints, but you made me curious. Seems it's not so, as in Illinois they worked with the state to avoid getting photographed for their state ID by getting one based on their fingerprints instead.

https://will.illinois.edu/news/story/amish-can-apply-for-sta...


Ironically, the Amish position is based solely on their strong stance on Aniconism[0], but in the process of their objection they have revealed that the state ID system gives people the choice of having their forehead or their right hand recorded, which are precisely the areas where the "mark of the beast" is taken, according to the book of Revelation.[1]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aniconism#Among_Christians_tod...

[1] https://biblehub.com/revelation/13-16.htm


yeah, I'm confused what belief is held such that you can't be fingerprinted. My initial searching for what that might be is mostly "Mark of the Beast". Which seems odd.


The whole of Revelations is certainly odd, but that doesn't stop a whole lot of people from finding some interpretation of it they can believe in. That some people might interpret it to be a warning against biometrics doesn't strike me as particularly odd, relative to the oddness of other beliefs derived from [or justified using] this book.


Fingerprinting could not in any way be interpreted as the "mark of the beast" because there is no mark put on the person during fingerprinting. So that wouldn't stand any scrutiny. Religious or otherwise.


You have to be careful when you interpret a religious passage.

For starters you don't (do you?) speak the original language, so you're at the mercy of the translator for the term "mark"

But, going more meta, most religious traditions don't have a strict textual interpretation of their texts. Certainly the author could not have known fingerprinting techniques 2000 years ago. It is not unreasonable to interpret "mark" to be an identifier.

Of course then the "fingerprint" mark would have to be compatible with the rest of Revelations.


> Certainly the author could not have known fingerprinting techniques 2000 years ago.

Citation needed.

> It is not unreasonable to interpret "mark" to be an identifier.

Adding an identifier, perhaps. But to interpret that passage to refer to taking pictures or imprints? That is unreasonable.


The government will not and can not look into the provenance of your belief.

Whether or not this is an 'actual christian belief' is not something the federal or state government can comment on.

If the man holds it sincerely then the state must take him at his word.

Edit: why am I being down voted ...? This is the accepted legal standard


That’s orthogonal to court, the standard is not whether others hold that belief but whether the belief is sincerely held.

Given that he identifies as Christian and whatever he believes got a ruling in his favor I would say that it’s an “actual” belief.


It is a religion, with many denominations. Not quite sure what the criteria is for when something varies such that it wouldn't be considered Christian.


There is no criteria. Anyone who calls themselves Christian is a Christian. The same goes for any other religion. All religions have differing internal beliefs, so there is no objective definition of a “true believer.”


I believe it's not the same for any other religion. For example conversions to Judaism are overseen by a religious court.


An actual court in the US will probably not try to legislate whether a person is of the Jewish faith or not, _regardless_ of what some other religious "court" says.

Probably (IANAL) if a person says that they observe the Jewish faith and that this is a deeply held belief, regardless of whether some religious organization recognizes him/her, that will be enough for the courts.


Sorry, I was talking from the believer's point of view; not from a law perspective. You are probably right about that.


> It is a religion, with many denominations.

The whole of it defies neat categorization. People who self-describe as Christians can't even universally agree which texts are authentic and holy and which are heretical frauds. The only thing they all universally share is the inclination to call themselves Christians (more than a few are eager to contest whether other self-described Christians are in fact Christians.)

One particular example: I was raised to believe that the Book of Mormon is a heretical fraud, and consequently to believe that Mormons are not real Christians (despite claiming to be.)


> People who self-describe as Christians can't even universally agree which texts are authentic and holy and which are heretical frauds. The only thing they all universally share is the inclination to call themselves Christians.

Interesting perspective- when I was much younger, I was taught that a Christian is anybody who believes that Christ is the Savior and that he atoned for the sins of humanity. Is there an "official" definition?


It doesn't matter whether it's "considered" Christian or not. All that matters legally is whether it's a sincerely held religious belief.


How could a court possibly establish whether or not a belief is sincerely held? The whole thing is a farce.


The same way the courts decide whether or not someone committed a crime or any other issue. The judge or jury ultimately decides the facts based on what is presented.


Depending on the Christian denomination there may be explicit provision for personal conscience in interpreting certain things within the context of your faith.


Let's face it: The company did the right thing for its clients getting rid of a dumb-ass, even if it cost them $65K.

Unless, of course, it was all a ruse to simply avoid being fingerprinted (and one would think that the company would've sought evidence... such as church attendance... of being a "devout Christian"). In that case... not such a dṳmb-ȧṡs.


It seems that the decision to fire him was completely unjustified:

> APRS had requested that its employees be fingerprinted as a result of a background check requirement of one of its clients

> APRS terminated Harrington [...] without asking the client whether an exemption was available [...] even though alternatives to fingerprinting were available.


Interesting that he was religiously opposed to fingerprinting but had no problem with the debt collection aspect. I seem to recall Jesus being not-too-complimentary about the tax collectors of the time who hounded people for money.


They were money changers being thieves. For debt collection see Exodus 22:25.

For tax collection, he wasn't opposed, if they were not stealing for personal gain. Matthew 17:24 and following for instructions to pay Roman taxes. Luke 19:8 for theft repayment by corrupt officials.


There's a lot of things that people who never read the bible will never find out about.

Numbers 31

> Now kill all the boys.

> And kill every woman who has slept with a man,

> but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.


You say that people who never read the Bible will never find out about Numbers 31, yet here you are telling many people who never read the Bible about Numbers 31. I almost wonder if the average atheist is more likely to be aware of this Biblical narrative than the average Christian, but I'm not sure what that would prove if true.

Anyway, it's worth linking to the Wikipedia article which provides the background to that chapter[0] and pointing out that at the time of the events described in Numbers 31, it was the standard practice of nations to commit cultural genocide against their enemies (to prevent a continuing cycle of violence), by killing off their males and their widows, leaving only the unmarried to assimilate into the victorious society.

Less violently, it was common for men to defect to a foreign culture when taking a wife from that culture, which had been the case with Israelite men and Midianite women. It was that potential for cultural extinction (and literal extinction, as a deadly plague struck the Israelites after this) which lead to the war whose rules of engagement you quoted.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_31#Background


I'm not seeing where in the link you shared it states that this was the standard practice.

But that aside, if we're allowed to dismiss certain aspects of the bible because they are no longer culturally relevant, how do we decide which tenets should be followed at all?


I didn't mean to suggest that the Wikipedia article covered the standard practice of people groups at that time, but the Old Testament (not to mention the past 2000 years) is full of examples of nations attempting to exterminate the Jewish people.

To give just a couple of examples, there is the case of Pharaoh ordering the killing of all male children at the start of Exodus[0], and in Esther chapter 3 we see that the antagonist Haman's plan was "to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus".[1]

Anyway, I don't think Christians should dismiss aspects of the Bible that are culturally difficult, but there are principles for applying its contents to modern situations. The relevant principle here would be that the Ten Commandments are to be generally followed at all times, but God may choose to give specific instructions for specific situations which override those commandments. Reassuringly, it wasn't up to Moses to decide whether or not to attack the Midianites, as he was given that as a direct instruction, in his capacity as the political leader of the Israelites.

[0] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%201&vers...

[1] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Esther%203&vers...


I'm not even an atheist but okay.

The point is there's a ton of stuff in there that just never seemed to get mentioned when I used to go to church. I get the feeling people try really hard to ignore them.

So I make it a point to bring them up.


Jesus preached to debt/tax collectors, prosecutors, etc because they were the ones who needed it.


Well he also told people to give Caesar what Caesar was owed. You can justify virtually any belief by picking different parts out of those books. Dunking on self-described Christians by trying to identify the "true" Christian beliefs and pointing out their deviation from that is utterly pointless. They've been doing this with each other for the better part of two thousand years, and all it amounted to was ever more division and disagreement.


Time to start the Church of Not Getting Fingerprinted so that we can all get exempted.


The Satanic Temple has been pushing to use religious exemptions around laws such as Texas' recent abortion law.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/Sata...


The Satanists are a perfect poison pill to overbroad exemptions. They have all ready staged a figurative middle finger to religious carve-outs with their 10 commandments protest (disguised as a Moloch statue, of course). 'Oh, I thought this was for all faiths to be treated equally...'

And since it's a new/fake religion, their beliefs are a blank slate which can be adapted to whichever liberty or situation presents itself. They are daring the courts to call their belief insincere--something the courts are rightly trepidatious about deciding what constitutes bona-fide belief.

It's pretty much the religious exceptionist's worst nightmare--a parody religion set up to leech off any religious benefits or exclusions. Okay, you don't believe in birth control? Well I don't believe in blood transfusions/cancer/insulin. Your move, Christians.


> And since it's a new/fake religion, their beliefs are a blank slate which can be adapted to whichever liberty or situation presents itself.

Perhaps, but that's not necessary here. Making decisions for yourself is a huge part of Satanism.


I like the Satanists for the purposes of showing/challenging legal exceptions for religious beliefs. Unfortunately a big hole I see in this logic is the notion of "reasonable accommodation"; that is to say, what is considered a reasonable accommodation would be influenced by the majority religions. So, certain opinions on certain medical procedures would be considered reasonable, while others wouldn't be, and a heavily-Christian-influenced cultural notion of reasonability would of course be biased towards Christian religious beliefs...


I once created the Church of the Exploding Light to get around a municipal fireworks ban. Perhaps we could be part of the same meta-church?


IMO the solution is simple: if you give an exception, everyone gets it. You don't need to prove your beliefs are bona-fide. That's just not something we want employers or the courts getting involved in.


And church of possession and consumption of chemicals of any forumlae for personal use.


I propose a Church of Pacifism and Anti-Surveillance to get us out of all kinds of large-scale destructive mischief.


I suspect this is an engineered situation/story/post. I suspect it is designed to drum up conflict and destabilize a society. Who really benefits from this is up for debate, and I won't speculate.

That out of the way, fingerprints and faces are essentially public. Unless you wear a mask and gloves in public, you are visible. And even so, you'll shed some DNA material here and there. If you're so concerned about that, you should wear a clean room suit.

Since I think this is a social conflict bait situation, I won't bite. But we here at HN are hopefully of a higher level rational mind that we recognize that interacting in the current world means allowing quite a lot of observation of who goes where. I'm not talking about Facebook, but I am talking about facial recognition and people folling you with evidence bags (if some organization believes there is value in doing so).


Thank you for pointing this out. I wish more people thought like this instead of instantly reacting. It turns out the Internet in the real-world is opposite of Monsters Inc. The crux of the movie was that children's laughter had more power than their frightful screams. Publishers have discovered that rage-inducing click-bait is more profitable than in-depth stories that help us resolve issues.

It doesn't matter if I wholeheartedly agree with an article that causes me to have negative emotions. Yes, the climate is getting worse. Yes, a few power plants and containers ships are responsible for a significant fraction of the pollutants. Yes, humans are not working to fix it fast enough. Yes, politician X supports horrible thing Y.

Nevertheless, I don't recall giving a push notification the right to trigger my emotions.


> I'm not talking about Facebook, but I am talking about facial recognition and people folling you with evidence bags (if some organization believes there is value in doing so).

I wouldn't put those in the same category.

Automatic facial recognition is a huge and invasive change to the level of tracking that's possible.

Being followed 1:1 is not.

Going near public areas should not be consent for everyone in the world to be tracked as if a squad of paparazzi is following them.


facial recognition technologies and fingerprinting are not normal and please, don't try to normalize them. biometric surveillance technologies (such as facial recognition) in public places should be limited, but also other form of biometric data — such as of faces but also of gait, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes and other biometric or behavioural signals.

When monitored, we change behaviour and self-censor.

When categorised, we are judged and discriminated against.

It's a vicious circle of power imbalances.

This is NOT normal.


It is normal because it can be captured easily and silently. This is not like some device which you walk by which scratches you and steals your DNA. This is you being who you are, open for all to see, and being seen by people and cameras.

Here on HN we already know that when shopping in the US (and probably other countries) we are being monitored and facially tracked.

The only power imbalance is the power we give to people to use this information. You can theoretically vote against people who would use this information. Stop shopping in those places, stop walking in areas with known cameras, or wear an AI defeating mask. But this is the world we live in.

You already leave far more information in your internet use than you probably do by walking around town unless you are hyper vigilant.


Something being easy to do doesn’t mean it is “normal”.


surveillance capitalism is a political decision, not a random development. let's not normalize mass data collection. because it opens door to totalitarianism.


most of my family agreed to get fingerprinted to get free gym membership (family friend runs the gym and you scan your thumb at the door for access). It pissed me off so much.


Modern fingerprint reader systems don’t capture and store an entire fingerprint. They use algorithms that extract a number of features from the print. You can’t extract someone’s fingerprint from a gym’s fingerprint scanning system and run it through a background check database, for example.

If you’re concerned about giving up identifiable data points, the photo on your gym membership account is more likely to be usable in other search contexts than the application-specific reduced fingerprint data stored in their scanner.


Or one's simple legal name and billing address.

I'm honestly a fair bit more concern about that dealing in legal names and addresses is still so common than I am about tracking cookies, but, as usual, people are more afraid of new things than of old, even if the old be more dangerous.


> You can’t extract someone’s fingerprint from a gym’s fingerprint scanning system and run it through a background check database, for example.

Until they swap out the reader at the door for one that also saves fingerprint images (if the one there doesn't support that already!).


> You can’t extract someone’s fingerprint from a gym’s fingerprint scanning system and run it through a background check database, for example.

Reversing the algorithm in order to generate a plausible fingerprint from the features stored by the scanner seems much simpler than cracking a secure hash function, since the scanner algorithm has to deal with imprecise inputs.

Whether the generated fingerprint would match the relevant record in the background check database depends on whether the features extracted by the scanner are sufficiently different from those used by the background check system, and I suspect that companies just reuse the same algorithms for both.


Why did it piss you off? Is the fingerprint being used for something other than access? Is it even stored in a format that would allow it to be used for something else?

I'm pretty privacy and personal freedom conscious- for example I wouldn't go anywhere that made me scan a QR code or use an app. But I can't think of any concern I have with a private business using my fingerprint as an access token, unless I'm also signing that they can use it for other stuff.


> unless I'm also signing that they can use it for other stuff.

I find your trust in the strength of a terms of service agreement baffling.

If they get a court order it doesn't matter what you allowed them to do with it. And even without a court order, if they used your fingerprint in ways you didn't allow, how would you know? They wouldn't be the first company to break the law when they think they can get away with it. Even if you trust them, what about when they go bankrupt, or acquired by a chain gym, and all their assets (fingerprints included) suddenly belong to less-scrupulous people.


The biggest reason I don't care is that I doubt they are asking for or recording something from which they can reconstruct my fingerprint. They are reading it into a proprietary scanner run by a local gym (this is an assumption, but I'll bet its true). The scanner has some proprietary code that checks if my fingerprint matches the next time. It can't export a fingerprint file, it cant share it with anyone. If I'm wrong, and they are actually scanning some portable fingerprint image that is readily used either to provide and example for comparison to others, or so generate a fingerprint, then your comment applies. But my guess is it's just a local gym with a scanner and a database that exists in the proprietary scanner software.

I'd be much more concerned about giving my fingerprint to apple or lenovo or whatever device provider.

Incidentally, I could be entirely wrong. For example, if there is some Fingerprint-as-a-service company the gym uses that lets you create a portable ID based on your fingerprint, I would refuse.


I find it helpful to assume an adversarial worldview to any service that collects or handles data.

You've mentioned some reasonable assumptions about how this system might work. But it's ultimately trust in a black box and a manufacturer with whom you have no personal or business relationship. You have no way of knowing if, at any time, your assumptions are still correct, or if one day in the future what's inside the box gets changed out.

What incentives would it take for that to happen? To my imagination, not much. E.g. the manufacturer thinks it can start a side business collecting and selling your full prints. There is certainly a market for them, so why not collect them? Maybe law enforcement sees these devices proliferating and convinces lawmakers to require that the prints be stored to support local investigations. Who would be against catching predators at your gym? Meanwhile the gym doesn't care because this isn't it's problem---and it gets a discount.

Things can change fast. If it seems possible, someone is probably thinking about how to do it.


> unless I'm also signing that they can use it for other stuff.

Person at desk during signup:

"Just press agree and then insert your thump on the reader below."

That "agree" part is where they inserted their vague allusions to doing what they want


Disappointed that the person had to claim religious beliefs to protect common dignity. Owners of those companies should be fined into oblivion. Maybe by then they will realize what a scum they are.


The company is a debt collector - they are already a bunch of bloodsuckers from the start.


The article does not say whether the person has a driving license or another form of ID that requires fingerprinting.

Note, I’m not saying that an employer should be allowed to fingerprint, which they should not. I’m simply pointing to the absurdity of the religious exemption as I’m pretty sure no religion says that a person cannot be fingerprinted.



It seems there are plenty of government interactions that need fingerprinting now. FINRA and OPM/DOD come to mind, plus anything involving children typically needs a federal and state print check.


I recently took a job with a charity which is run by the federal government. I had to be ink-fingerprinted to take the job. Ink fingerprinting is rare these days. I had to go the San Jose main jail to have it done -- no appointment needed, they have 24x7x365 service. The woman who took my prints seemed thrilled to be working with a cooperative person.

I was previously fingerprinted because of securities industry requirements.

There's no way this case is going to finish well for the plaintiff -- securities laws go back a long way.


How about the church of not needing a college degree to get a job


Sure, if you can attend the church conference of "My brother-in-law runs the place" they will find you an opportunity.


Nah, sue for religious discrimination when it's found out that someone else already employed also doesn't have a degree.


I'm not sure why people are so weird about fingerprints and facial recognition. Your biometrics are not secret at all, any more than your hair color.

You fingerprint yourself in every restaurant with glass cups, and leave those prints behind when you depart.


Would you mind posting here and now web links to pictures of your face and your fingerprints?


Pictures of my face are on my website, and have been uploaded to Facebook and Instagram many times by my friends.

My fingerprints have been provided to several vendors and government agencies (Clear, TSA pre) who have industry-average data security (that is to say, I expect them to leak).

None are secret. Come up to me the next time I make a public appearance and you are welcome to my fingerprints. :)


Please use IPFS [0] too, for posterity

[0] https://ipfs.io/#install


Because they aren’t just collecting a fingerprint - they are capable of monitoring you for extended periods.

Today, that means any arrest can be reported to your employer in near real-time, prior to conviction. As biometrics become more popular, employers and others will get access to more and more data.

In my personal life, I’m monitored by 6 different entities for compliance with various laws. It’s pretty gross and an invasion of privacy.


> You fingerprint yourself in every restaurant with glass cups, and leave those prints behind when you depart.

By your reasoning, you also leave your fingerprints on the number keys you press at the ATM when entering your PIN. So your bank PIN, by your logic, is also no more private than your fingerprints or your hair color, correct?


What's your home address? What's your social security number? Send me some nudes, everyone has genitalia right? Leave your door unlocked when you go to bed tonight, you have nothing to hide right?

This is such a bad and harmful take.


I find this to be a lazy take though. Plenty of cultures have no nudity shame, have a culture of no locked doors, and know both who everyone is and where they live.

I am privacy conscious, but this is a weak argument.


It's to illustrate a point, not directly to explain privacy. Most people in English speaking countries do not live in such places, and do have to worry about privacy in such ways.

Unfortunately there's no real way of convincing someone so blind to privacy and its importance without big, dramatic examples. Such people need theatre to understand very fundamental things. Hence my comment.

The majority of people I've faced who claim the whole "I have nothing to hide" simply haven't faced a violation of privacy in a way that is meaningful to them, and thus don't understand its importance.


Those are weak examples though. They're not compelling. Most people wouldn't really care if the government had a nude photo of them. And the reason people lock their front doors is for security, not privacy.


My home address and SSN are secret.

Imagery of my face and fingers is not.

There's a big difference between what you and I are talking about.


It's not about having them, it's about how they're using them.


So you wouldn't object if someone followed you to every restaurant and collected your fingerprints off the glasses you use? You wouldn't be a bit creeped out by that?

Something doesn't have to be a secret for it to feel private.


So you wouldn't object if someone followed you to every restaurant

I think most readers stopped here.


I certainly did




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