$150,000 for ‘Mark of the Beast’ man

$150,000 for ‘Mark of the Beast’ man

Back in 2013, Tommy Eden, an employment law attorney in Alabama, wrote on his blog that companies should ‘reasonably accommodate’ the religious beliefs of their employees, and avoid ‘engaging in a Bible sword drill’ with them.

He was commenting on the case of Beverly R Butcher Jr, an evangelical Christian and an employee at the Consolidation Coal Company in West Virginia, part of Consol Energy Inc.

The company had installed an attendance tracking system for payroll purposes at their Robinson Run Mine that required employees to electronically sign-in using a biometric hand scanner.

Butcher cited religious reasons for refusing to submit to scanning in a letter to his employers. In it he explained:

The relationship between hand scanning technology and the Mark of the Beast and the anti-Christ as discussed in the Bible.

That’s when the “Bible sword drill” came into play. His managers responded by handing Butcher a letter written by its scanner provider, Recognition Systems, Inc.

The  letter discussed the vendor’s interpretation of Chapter 13, Verse 16 of the Book of Revelation contained in the Bible; pointed out that the text of that verse references the Mark of the Beast only on the right hand and forehead; and suggested that persons with concerns about the Mark of the Beast “be enrolled” with their left hand and palm facing up.

The letter concluded with an assurance the scanner does not, in fact, have any connections with “the Mark of the Beast”.

Butcher, who worked for the mine for 35 years, proposed that he continue submitting his time and attendance manually as he had previously done, or that he be permitted to check in and check out with his supervisor.

But Butchers managers told him told him to submit to hand scanning, using his left hand turned palm up rather than his right hand.

Butcher rejected their offer, stating that he was prohibited by his religion from submitting to scanning of either hand. The managers declined to accommodate Butcher’s request to be exempted from the biometric sign-in, telling him that he would be subject to disciplinary action if he refused to use the biometric hand scanning system.

Butcher promptly retired and specifically informed his managers that he was leaving involuntarily. He said he was doing so under protest and felt that he had no choice but to retire because of their refusal to grant the requested exemption.

At least two persons employed at the Robinson Run Mine at the time that Butcher requested religious accommodation were permitted exemptions from biometric hand scanning due to missing fingers. These two persons were permitted to submit their time and attendance by other means.

Butcher then filed  a charge claiming religious discrimination – and earlier this month he won $150,000 in compensatory damages.

At a later hearing, Senior Judge Frederick P Stamp Jr will decide back pay and front pay owed to Butcher.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had sued Consol Energy on behalf of Butcher, and jury found that Butcher:

Had a sincere religious belief that conflicted with an employment requirement.

The jury also found that Consol Energy failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for Butcher’s beliefs and that it wouldn’t have been an “undue hardship” to do so.

Consol Energy Inc will appeal to the Fourth Circuit, according to one of its attorneys, Jeff Grove.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

17 responses to “$150,000 for ‘Mark of the Beast’ man”

  1. Broga says:

    It seems that Butcher was “accommodated” by the company but that was never going to be enough. For the fundie one piece of accommodation will be extended and the limits pushed till they are stopped. Then they can claim to be victimised. Butcher, as usual, must be a selective reader of the bible.

  2. John says:

    What happened to ‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto “god” what is “god’s”‘?
    Butcher should have been happy to sign-in with the new system.
    Instead, he is defying the words of his own “prophet”.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Matthew 5:30 provides the answer to Mr. Eden’s problem.

  4. Barry Duke says:

    In case you’re wondering what Matthew 5:30 says, here’s the link:

  5. dennis says:

    Will he give $15,000 to his church plus the 10% for back and front pay? just a lay conman who probably preaches sometimes and his name is Beverly? ok to much to put my head ach harassed brain today.

  6. barriejohn says:

    I must confess that when I first stumbled across this story I thought that it must be another spoof. What on earth were the employers thinking of, arguing with this lunatic on the minutiae of his Bible verses; what got into the jury; and what on earth possessed the judge to award damages on top of yet unspecified past and future earnings? It’s almost unbelievable – I say “almost”, because, once again, I remember Christians in my youth coming up with similar nonsense regarding “The Mark of the Beast”, which was almost an obsession with some of them. Many, for instance, refused to shop at the Coop because it was a “communist” organization. Proof? Well, besides “worker control”, their symbol was a wheatsheaf (Communist), and they gave you a number. It is almost beyond belief that educated people can come up with such rubbish, but they do, and there’s no point in trying to use logic to counteract their weird views ’cause it ain’t gonna work!

  7. L.Long says:

    Well we know the dude is not a dimwit, as he was able to not only NOT be fired but win money he does not deserve thanks to a dimwit judge. The whole religious accommodation BS is really BS. How does non-provable BS compare to a person with missing fingers????
    If I was a co-worker there I would invent some silly BS and when fired sue the guys and use this case as precedence. After all that is all the religious bigots are doing, making schite up and then scream RELIGION!!!!!

  8. Cali Ron says:

    @Trevor Blake:
    Nice biblical reference!

    I fail to see how “a sincere religious belief” requires accommodation. What does sincerity have to do with it. You can sincerely believe in any crazy thing, including imaginary beings, but why should crazy beliefs be accommodated? And how does this shit even rate a jury trial? It should have been throw out of court as the frivolous BS it is. Religioun is like a cancer spreading it’s inane dogma through our culture corrupting everything.

  9. andym says:

    @Broga. I read this and immediately thought of you. It’s about your Old Mucker. As worrying as it is interesting.

  10. John the Drunkard says:

    And the court is supposed to evaluate the ‘sincerity’ of beliefs? And the ‘sincere’ beliefs of ANY religious persuasion are automatically protected. Why not the ‘sincere’ beliefs of other crazies?

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Is there no limit to the stupidity of men? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.)

  12. Broga says:

    @andym: That is one hell of an article and I’m grateful to you for sending it. Not only is Charles a disgrace but so are the arse lickers who support him and force his superstitions on others. The clown turned his back at a social gathering on a Nobel Prize winner whose opinions he didn’t like.

    What happened to Ernst beggars belief. When the royals need treatment they are quick to head to the top of the queue for the best clinical treatment.

    You might like to hear of the only time I was in the vicinity of Charles Windsor. My parents-in-law lived near Windsor Great Park and we used to stay with them for a few days. One day I took my son, then aged six or seven, to the Park for a walk. Charles and his chinless wonder mates were clumping around playing polo. We watched for a few minutes and then they dismounted and Charles, in the midst of a group, was near us.

    I said to my son, “Look, that’s Prince Charles.”

    He said, “Where? I can’t see him.” This happened a couple of times and he still said he couldn’t see him.

    I walked closer and pointed and said, “That’s him.”

    My son looked and said, “Is that all?”

    Says it all, doesn’t it.

  13. barriejohn says:

    He’s going to love this idea:

    Just read the comments!

  14. jay says:

    Here in the US you can sue (often successfully) for all kinds of stupid suits. The same law that lets atheists sue for being subjected to Bible verses also brings us this stuff. Constitutionally, ‘sincerity of belief’ is a pretty low bar (hey pastafarians have used it) and as stupid as it might seem, the alternative is having the court (the state) decide what is a real belief and what is not and hence defining a religion which runs into 1A trouble.

    Personally, we really could use a complete legal overhaul in this area, but the vested interests of trial lawyers and their bleeding heart “think of the poor victims” refrain makes it rather unlikely.

    A few years ago when my wife was getting a new cell phone number, the clerk discreetly asked if a ‘666’ exchange was ok. I think it shocked him a bit when she said “yes I WANT that one”

  15. Robster says:

    So, if I was to have a sincere religious belief that working three days a week instead of five was required of me, I’d be allowed to in the US and expect no negative response. Is that how this works? Jesus f’n christ.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Jay: When Ronald Reagan retired, the ranch that he bought had the number 666 and he had it changed , as if that would make any difference in the “spirit world” – but then we all know about Nancy and her “astrological” nonsense!

    Many of us are sceptical about the motives of government and big business, and I fully understand people who want to keep as much of their life private and under their own control as possible, but these clowns just take things too far.

  17. Newspaniard says:

    Hmmmm… If I was a cynical old bugger, I might look with suspicion on the motives of anyone who refused to clock in and out. For example, has he another day job? Does he like to sleep in late on Mondays? Has he a girlfriend with whom he must “pray” during working hours, requiring him to leave work early 3 days a week? Just sayin’