Monday, May 07, 2007

Louisiana man refuses to use fingerprinting machine

Herman Clayton lives in St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana and works as a school electrician and a Baptist minister. His school has installed a $75,000 fingerprinting system which enables employees to clock in each day by having their fingers scanned. Clayton refuses to have his finger scanned because by doing so, he says, he is violating the End of Time Doctrine.

I am not making this up. Clayton believes that a fingerprinting device is a tool of the Antichrist. If you think he is a bit of a nutcake, you are not alone; apparently, so does the Catholic Church. The Rev. William Maestri, frequent spokesman for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, said "I really don't see the connection between placing your finger on a scanner and where my immortal soul is going." An he goes further than that: ""Religious freedom is not simply a blank check to act anyway you want or expect anything you want," Maestri said."

But the Louisiana ACLU disagrees with Maestri, stating that a school's rule should never interfere with someone's right to practice his religion. Clayton can sign in easily without using the machine, therefore not not disrupting the process and not placing an undue burden on anyone. ACLU executive director Joe Cook calls it "an opportunity for a reasonable accommodation."

The case is in arbitration and the school district says it will abide by the outcome of that arbitration. But the school district's concern is that allowing Clayton to avoid using the machine will open the door to other objections and render the device a waste of money.

Note to fundamentalist, ACLU-hating idiots: The church wants Clayton to get over it; the ACLU is fighting for him.

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This case may have broader implications. The Federal Government has published an ID card standard, HSPD-12 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive) 12, which specifies requirements for biometric ID card components, including fingerprints. Someone like this electrician could make a Federal case about having to be fingerprinted in order to get, or keep, a Government job.

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