Letters

Letters from the issue of Thursday, August 4, 2005

 Religious Rights

Missing the point: Terra Naeve? More like Terra Naive . . .

How could this woman even think she could fraternize with fellow religious fanatics at work when the restaurant had a clear policy against that ("The Last Supper," Sarah Fenske, July 21)? Then to think she could hang on to her job after that! And then, when she doesn't, filing suit!

The point she seems to be missing is, it makes employees feel just as awkward and under pressure if a supervisor invites them to Bible study as it would if he or she hits on them sexually. Either way, they feel compelled to please the supervisor by going along.

It was a clear waste of taxpayer money for the EEOC to side with her. As your story said, there was no requirement by her church that she act in such a manner toward the workers. Her church wasn't into proselytizing to that extent. You'd have to be an idiot to think that God spoke directly to this woman. This was what she wanted to do, what she wanted to believe. What happened to her is her fault.

When she does get a job, she should pay the Serranos' legal fees in monthly installments. Now that would be the good Christian thing to do!
Dale Rhoades, Phoenix

A sweetheart boss: As a former co-worker of Terra Naeve's, I'm saddened by what happened to her. She was the best boss I've ever worked for, a real sweetheart. I've got nothing against the Serrano family -- they seem like good people -- but they shouldn't have fired her.
Name withheld by request

They're good people: As a worker at Serrano's (not at the one where Terra Naeve worked), I've got to say that I have never worked for better people than the Serranos. They didn't deserve for this expensive lawsuit to happen to them. They are good religious people themselves, and now they are being portrayed as awful for firing Terra.

The workers in my restaurant couldn't believe it when Terra sued. I know I would be offended, and I would think of suing if an employer subjected me to harassment from some Bible-thumper. I wouldn't appreciate it one bit if I felt I had to go to a religious study group to hang on to my job. This would be worse than sexual harassment.

I'm glad the jury ruled for the Serranos. They deserve only the best.
Name withheld by request

Judge not: I have been a New Times reader since the beginning. Your article, without a doubt, was one of the best written and most enjoyable that I have ever read.

Thanks for being so objective and nonjudgmental to either side. I believe that one of the tests of objectivity is a story where the reader cannot tell (at the end) which side of the fence the author is on. Both parties in the story clearly had good arguments supporting their respective sides. Sarah Fenske, however, remained neutral in her reporting, and that is what made the piece so enjoyable.
Bob Slider, Mesa

Ignoring the Constitution: I have one question: What happened to freedom of speech? Tolerance to a degree is a good thing, but really -- enough is enough. Now our bosses will determine what we do in our off hours? Bible study is a bad thing now? I think my IQ dropped 10 points just reading that -- it was so stupid.

One thing you did not focus on is that this employer is trying to determine what other employees believe. According to your article, employees voluntarily attended the meetings without threat to their jobs. Hello? Is this yet another example in which the Constitution is ignored? Your article claimed that Theresa and Ric Serrano were devout Catholics. My question is, what if they were not entrepreneurs but employees and their boss told them they could not talk about their faith or have a Catholic Bible study? If they are devout Catholics, as they claim, I doubt it would go down as well.

Based on what you have shared (and I am sure there is more to it), this is ridiculous, and another example of the decline of our country -- this fashionable practice of ignoring the Constitution regarding freedom of religion.

Here is a thought: Pull out a dollar bill and read the words "In God We Trust." Oh, sorry, that is no longer fashionable. Guess what, that is exactly what made our country great.
Dee Ann Deaton, Phoenix

Bible student: Has Terra Naeve not read I Corinthians 6:1-8, where Paul instructs believers in Jesus Christ not to go to court against one another? As a born-again Christian and student of the Bible, I was greatly disturbed by this article.

Generally, the Nazarene church does not recognize Catholics as "real" Christians; could this be the loophole Ms. Naeve is using to justify her defiance of Paul's instruction regarding lawsuits? If she doesn't see the Serrano family as Christians, what kind of Christian example is she setting for the unsaved by causing Serrano's to lose clientele because of this lawsuit?

What about Ms. Naeve's signed agreement with Serrano's against fraternization -- is she also not familiar with Ecclesiastes 5:5,6, which speaks to making vows? And what about Matthew 5:33-37, where believers are instructed to keep their word? There is also Ephesians 6:5-7, which outlines the employee/employer relationship clearly as a master and servant model.

Is Ms. Naeve a "baby Christian" and yet unfamiliar with the Bible's guidelines for living in the world while not being a part of it? If this is the case, Ms. Naeve's pastor should have known better and advised her appropriately (a whole other subject that begs scrutiny).
Kelly A. Siebecke, Concrete, Washington

Management/employee division: Thank you for taking the time to go in-depth on the Serrano's story. I lead a small nondenominational Christian group at my house, but I believe that Serrano's policy is fair. There should be a division between management and employees to keep things fair at a place of business. My company (I am a warehouse manager) does not have that policy, but it is something I try to practice on my own. When fellow employees ask me what religion I belong to, I tell them. But I tell them how it has been good for me, my life before and after discovering God.
R. Van Damme, via the Internet

Hearing God's call: This is only the second time in my 66 years that I have found it necessary to comment on a newspaper article, but there are a couple of fairly glaring facts that apparently were not pursued by either the defense or the prosecution in this matter. In fact, the subhead to your article ("It's not easy when your boss tells you to do one thing and God tells you to do another") hit the nail on the head!

I think it's obvious that it can be proven by verifiable facts that Serrano's did tell Terra Naeve that she was prohibited from fraternizing "with subordinates outside of work. Period." What cannot be ascertained at all is that Ms. Naeve heard "God's call." I find it incredulous that a government entity would pursue the Serranos based upon a totally unverifiable statement. Why should the government have taken the position that Ms. Naeve's word transcended facts? Ms. Naeve could no more prove that God had called her to do this work than Serrano's could prove that He had not; consequently, the law should favor Serrano's, for you simply cannot make the exception the government made in this matter without bursting the dam! Also, it is preposterous -- if not absurd -- to expect one to believe that God spoke to her through a manmade religion!

Now, if you're saying to yourself, "Huh! The nerve of this guy to make a statement like that! Who does he think he is?", then you have some idea of how I felt about the government pursuing a case so vigorously without any credible proof of Ms. Naeve's claim! That is ridiculous! It was inappropriate for Sarah Fenske to write, "and God tells you to do another," because you cannot prove that God spoke to Ms. Naeve and told her what to do.
Francis Vigneri, via the Internet

Film Schooled

You were expecting Casablanca?: I went to see Wedding Crashers based on Robert Wilonsky's review, and I want Wilonsky to give me my damn money back ("Always a Bridesmaid," Film, July 14)!

He compared it to Old School, which also starred Vince Vaughn, and I can see the comparison, except that Old School was twice as funny.

The only really funny part of Wedding Crashers was when Will Ferrell came on screen briefly. And that was the part that Wilonsky thought was the least funny. Go figure!

Vince Vaughn was so over the top that his character was ridiculous. It was as if he had no lines to learn; the writer and director just seemingly let him riff about anything he liked. The result was a babbling bore.

Wilonsky was right about one thing, though. The movie was way too long. There was only enough comedy here for maybe a half-hour sitcom.
Corey Gillespie, Tucson

A second take: You guys were sure on the money about Wedding Crashers. Comic genius!

Only I take issue with Robert Wilonsky's saying the movie should have been cut when Vince Vaughn's and Owen Wilson's characters are outed as impostors and forced to leave the estate of Christopher Walken's character. What followed, while maybe not as slapstick funny as earlier stuff in the movie, was the best part of the film.
Clyde Cathcart, via the Internet

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