Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tyson’s Foods Backs Down, Reinstates Labor Day

Tyson Foods has announced they have reached a new agreement with their union and will not substitute a Muslim holiday for Labor Day beyond this first year. In the future employees will be given a floating holiday which may be the Muslim holiday, the employees birthday, or any other day of the employee’s choosing.

When I first read the report that Tyson Foods was agreeing to a union contract that replaced Labor Day with a Muslim holiday at its chicken processing plant in Shelbyville, I predicted that there would be an outpouring of outrage. (link) There was. This substitution of the Muslim holiday for labor day only occurred at this one plant where 700 of the 1000 employees are Somali refugees and are Muslim.

The chatters and bloggers have been going nuts ever since this story broke. The peasants-with-pitchforks crowd have been in frenzy.

“Marshall Earp” a chatter at Republican Party posted the story about the holiday change and titled his post “Tyson Supports Terrorist.” Other chatters were equally outraged and bombastic. Sometimes the Internet can take on a mob mentality. Chatters were encouraging each other to call Tyson’s and complain and chatters were vowing never to purchase Tyson’s products again. One chatter said so many people where calling Tyson’s that their phone lines were jammed for days.

Some of the websites that were encouraging this response were decidedly Christian and patriotic. I am sure this attitude is not going to win many Christian converts and it doesn’t make me want to proclaim myself a Christian. Religion and patriotism are unfortunately often used as a cover for bigotry. Some of the chatters made the argument that if the shoe was on the other foot and we were in a Muslim nation that we would not be accommodated in this manner. I don’t understand that logic. Aren’t we supposed to be more democratic and more tolerant than fanatical Muslim regimes and police states? Is our goal be like those Muslim nations of whom we disapprove?

In World War II, America imprisoned thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry for the simply crime of being Japanese. We have since apologized and condemned that action. Unfortunately, I don’t think we have come very far and we are just as capable of doing the same thing again.

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  1. Had there not been such outrage Tyson would never have backed down.

    And it has nothing to do with bigotry or being less tolerant. It has to do with the fact that if we continue to cater to the whims and desires of an intolerant religion, they are going to demand more and eventually we are going to see Sharia Law in this country.
    Yes freedom of religion is very important, but not when one particular religion has no tolerance for any other religion than its own. Look at Britain, banks removed piggy banks for fear of offending Muslims. Some school changed the story of the 3 Little Pigs. I'm sorry but I'm not willing to sacrifice my freedom.

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