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More on the Union Issue

In a court case reported also earlier in this column, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling which supported a woman who refused to join a union and refused to pay dues to that union. The Grand Rapids’ Press gave this report in its issue of December 15, 1982:

A Michigan woman who refused to pay union dues because of her religious beliefs must be rehired even though the union has a closed shop contract, according to a federal appeals court. 

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court Tuesday, ruling that Doris McDaniel was illegally fired from her job with Essex International’s wire products division in Berrien Springs, Mich. 

McDaniel said her Seventh-Day Adventist Church teaches members not to belong to labor unions or support them financially. She was fired on Dec. 28, 1972, after refusing to pay union dues under the closed-shop agreement where she worked. 

A three-judge appellate panel ruled unanimously Tuesday that Essex International and the International Association of Machinists should have tried to work out an arrangement with McDaniel, of Mount Pleasant, Mich. The union insisted she be fired.

The court said the firing violated the Civil Bights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination because of religious beliefs. 

“No expenditures for overtime or additional wages would have been involved,” the court said. “Nor was there any issue of seniority. . . . There was no evidence that any other employee would be adversely affected if McDaniel had been permitted to retain her job without joining the union or paying union dues.” 

It was the second time the case came before the 6th Circuit. 

The union rejected McDaniel’s offer to pay her share of the union’s collective bargaining costs and donate the rest of her union dues to a non-religious charity. The union said she should pay normal union dues and fees. 

The appellate court said Title XVII of the Civil Bights Act prohibits employers from firing someone because of their religious beliefs. 

“The prohibitions of the act apply equally to unions, which are forbidden to interfere with employment opportunities because of a person’s religion or ‘to cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual,'” the court stated.

The account appears very clear. One can not be forced to join a union contrary to his religious convictions—nor may he be fired nor may an employer refuse to hire one on the ground of his refusal to join a union on religious principles. The case for members of our churches would be even stronger than that of the woman mentioned in the article. The Seventh Day Adventists do indeed oppose union membership and the financial support of the same—yet do not maintain that church membership is absolutely incompatible with union membership. One can be a member of the Seventh Day Adventists while belonging to the union. Our churches do not allow this. Therefore, it would appear that our own members would have even a stronger argument against belonging to a union than did the woman mentioned above. 

So often the law of the land is used against the Christian. I am convinced that we ought to use the law properly where we can in order that our own lives might be made a bit easier. We have a law which does not allow religious (and other) discrimination. We have a court ruling which specifically applies that law to the matter of union membership and religious conviction. Then, why can not one or more of our members test this for themselves? Let us see once if one can begin work in a closed shop without joining a union because of religious conviction. Let us see if any employer refuses to hire because one can not belong to the union. And let us, as fellow saints, be ready to support such effort when it is properly done. 

It seems to me also that no one ought to lose his job because of refusal to work on Sunday. That too would be a matter of religious conviction. One ought not just submit to that which is contrary to the laws of the land.

How Absurd Is Evolution

Two other quotes from the Grand Rapids’ Press, both found in the issue of December 11, 1982, treat the matter of evolution and creationism. One article reports of an attempt to stop the teaching of creationism in Hudsonville Public Schools. The ACLU is involved:

The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has demanded copies of any materials issued by the Hudsonville School District regarding its position on the teaching of creationism and evolution. 

If the materials substantiate that the school district is teaching creationism in its classrooms, a complaint will be filed with the Michigan Attorney General’s office. . . . 

In November the West Shore chapter of the ACLU demanded that the Hudsonville schools terminate the teaching of creationism in its 10th grade biology classes or face legal action. 

The school board refused to act on the demand and Superintendent Jack Musser said that until someone can prove the district is violating the Constitution in presenting both theories, the practice will continue. . . . 

“. . .The boards’ ‘policy’ is simply that we agree both (evolution and creationism) should be presented.” 

A resolution adopted by the state Board of Education in March states that it is “opposed to the teaching, in public educational institutions, of any course in religion which is outside of the realm of a secular program of education.” 

The resolution specifically singles out creationism and orders any school district attempting “to indoctrinate toward any particular belief or disbelief (to) cease and desist such teaching.” 

Simon said it’s up to the Department of Education to stop Hudsonville if the district is teaching creationism in its classrooms. 

“If no action is taken there, we are fully prepared to challenge in court any religious instruction in our public schools,” Simon added. . . .

Of great interest was another article in this same issue of the Press which presented the views of two British scientists that Darwinian evolution is simply absurd and impossible. These, of course, do not hold to the Scriptural creation account, yet insist that life on this planet could only come through the effort of some outside direction.

An eminent British scientist has mounted a new assault on the Darwinian evolutionary theory, saying the possibility of it being true are “so utter minuscule” as to be absurd.

Modern developments in micro-biology have “made it overwhelmingly clear that the truth is quite otherwise,” says Sir Fred Hoyle, internationally recognized astronomer and mathematician. 

He directly challenges both the Darwinian concept of gradual evolution of different life forms from common origins, and also that the first living cells developed by random processes in some primordial ooze. 

The chances of that happening are not sensibly “different from zero,” he says. 

Hoyle, 67, with numerous honors in his field, makes the case in collaboration with Chandra Wickramasinghe, also a British scientist, in a new book, “Evolution from Space,” published by Simon and Schuster. 

They say biomolecules are now known to be so enormously complex that “quite explicit instructions” were necessary for their assembly and that other means than “natural selection” were required for life’s development.

“The requisite information came from an “intelligence,’ the beckoning specter,” they conclude, calling it a series of question marks, or God. “The new evidence points clearly and decisively to a cosmic origin of life.” 

In making their case, they array findings of microbiology, mathematics, computer technology and the fossil record against the Darwin theory, declaring it has been undercut by new knowledge. 

They say that paleontologists for years have recognized that “the slow evolutionary connections required by the theory did not happen” but it hasn’t made much impression on general opinion. 

The chances of random chemical shufflings in some primordial soup producing the complex basic enzymes of life are only one to 10 to the 40,000th power, or one followed by 40,000 zeros, the two scientists calculate. 

In effect, they say, the chances are nil, so “outrageously small” it would be incredible “even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.” They add: 

“Darwinian evolution is most unlikely to get even one polypeptide (chain of essential life substances) right, let alone the thousands on which living cells depend for survival.

“This situation is well known to geneticists and yet nobody seems to blow the whistle decisively on the theory. If Darwinism were not considered socially desirable… it would of course be otherwise.” 

. . .For some, it may not “matter too much that belief in Darwinism is at variance with the truth,” the authors say, but “it does matter that students of biology are taught the same incorrect history” of life’s development. 

. . .They say that Darwinism depends on “mutations” or “garbling” of genetic inheritance, which is almost always harmful, as a means to program evolution to more complex forms, and add: 

“Every competent space mathematician would assure you that such a Darwinian idea had no chance of working. . . . Every computer expert will in fact assure you that throwing random mistakes into a computer is no way to improve it. . . .”

These scientists continue by stating their “vastly more logical theory—that life stemmed from microgenetic fragments from outer space, ‘exactly the right size to ride on, the light waves of stars,’ arriving ‘at peak intervals, thus explaining the sudden bursts of new life forms shown by the fossil record . . . . ” Their theory is no more Scriptural, of course, than is evolution. Yet these men concede that some outside “force” must have brought life to this earth. Surely then the Scriptural account is not so “unscientific” as it is often made to be. And imagine the nonsense of forbidding the “unscientific” creation account to be taught in a biology class while insisting that evolution is the only “scientific” account. But that is the foolishness of man!