Burqa ban vs. Christian Flag ban – Where do you fall on the ethics of the Governmental decisions?

October 7, 2010

O.K. – I know that this is a controversial subject, but at times it is worth taking the time to explore choices, consequences and opinions.

Earlier today a report came out in Fox News of – what they referred to as – a Holy War in a little town in NC (the state of my residence).  The article stated the following:

A holy war is brewing in a small North Carolina city, where the Christian flag seems to be flying everywhere.

A meeting of the King, N.C., City Council was packed on Monday with dozens of citizens who asked city officials to put the Christian flag back up at the local Veterans War Memorial. The council had voted to take down the flag rather than spend the estimated $200,000 to $300,000 it would cost to fight the American Civil Liberties Union in a First Amendment lawsuit.

“The city received inquiries from the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State suggesting that the Christian flag flying over the Veterans Memorial at Central Park violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” City Manager John Cater said. “At the advice of the city attorney, the City Council voted to take down the Christian flag at last night’s City Council meeting, citing the enormous cost associated with fighting a potential lawsuit on the issue.”

Katy Parker of the ACLU in North Carolina told FoxNews.com, “The city council did the right thing to take down the flag because it was endorsed by the city as part of a public monument. Now, if private citizens want to hold the flags, it is absolutely their right to do so.”

As an ethics speaker and author, I often pose questions that seem to illustrate the conflict between law and what many would call ethical behavior.   If you define ETHICS as “that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions,” one might easily say that the values of this community – their human conduct – represents the ethics and values that they hold fast to and to remove (as is the case here) the Christian Flag from a public display lack ethics, values and does not represent the code of human conduct that is pervasive in this tiny North Carolina town.

QUESTION: When testing the outcome of an action (the removal of the flag in this case) between the ethical beliefs of the community in contrast to the law – which should win?

Should the offense of one or two outweigh the desires of the many?


Today, according to a CNN report, top constitutional authorities in France approve the banning of the burqa and other Islamic face coverings.  The report states the following:

France’s plan to ban the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places is legal, top constitutional authorities in France ruled Thursday, so the law goes into effect immediately.

In September the French senate approved the law – making France the first European country to nationally impose such a measure. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the lower house of parliament in July.

French people back the ban by a margin of more than four to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey earlier this year.

In this case the question, like the one above, rests on the law vs. the ethical choices of a group or religious beliefs of a group and popular legislative beliefs and actions.  Female members of the Islamic faith in France are faced with a real conundrum.  Do they comply with Islamic law or expectations or do they comply with the law of the land in which they reside?

QUESTION:  Is it ethical for a government to take an action that addresses the ability of an individual to practice their religion when the interests of the population is take away that religious compliance option?

It is not my intent to express an opinion one way or the other, rather, my hope is that we raise the discussion regarding religious desire, practice, compliance, law and ethics.


How Much Is Three Years in Federal Prison Worth?

November 27, 2007


While there are those who would disagree with me – I feel that there is no amount worth the pain of prison. Having been there myself, I speak from experience.

But the Department of Justice released today that the former president and owner of ATE Tel Solutions, Rafael G. Adame, will spend three years in prison following his conviction for his involvement in a scheme to defraud the federal E-Rate program. The E-Rate program subsidizes the provision of Internet access and telecommunications services, as well as internal computer and communications networks, to economically disadvantaged schools and libraries.

The news release is attached: http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2007/November/07_at_936.html

According to the news release, ” Adame was convicted of submitting fraudulent invoices for payment to the Schools and Libraries Division of USAC from December 2001 to May 2003. As a result of the scheme to defraud the E-Rate program, Adame fraudulently obtained $106,514 in payments from USAC.”

$106,000+ in theft = three years in federal prison? I don’t get it. But then again, I did something equally as dumb and paid the price. Adame will now come to know the lesson: Every Choice Has A Consequence.

As a business ethics speaker and Senior Sales Executive in a public company, I speak to groups nationwide about choices and consequences. In fact, my most recent presentation is entitled – The Truth About Consequences! While every choice has a consequence – the fact is we can determine whether the consequence is either negative or positive.

Your thoughts about this truth?

Business Ethics Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – Signing off…

Prison – What About My Safety? Yagman’s Choices and Consequences

November 24, 2007

Stephen Yagman – recipient of the 2004 Clay awards for his outstanding achievements in Civil Rights Law was convicted of tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud in June of ’07.

Claiming that he made enemies in law enforcement for his campaigns against police abuse, Yagman (through his attorney) argues that he should be spared an active prison term due to his fear he would be physically harmed in jail.

His story is stated here by the Associated Press: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gbqVxIYShXyLtwSjK8kYiLIy_7QgD8T2GLA80

Creative…I’ll give him that. But I would be shocked if the Federal Government prosecutors would have any interest in Yagman avoiding an active prison sentence and instead – teaching at a university.

Here’s a reality check – Yagman will find that his ego will be severely deflated upon entering prison. First, most of the inmates have no clue who he is and, frankly, won’t care.

For his crime he’ll likely be sent to a minimum security prison. Fact One, the inmates there are short timers and are anticipating getting out. They have no desire to do anything that will prolong their stay. So his safety is not an issue.

Fact Two, he’ll likely be sent to a place where his enemies won’t be. For example, he would likely be shipped to a federal minimum security facility out of state – fewer people who have any knowledge of his identity.

Fact Three, Yagman has shown from his conviction that he has a disregard for the law through his actions related to hiding assets in bankruptcy and from the IRS (tax evasion). Hence, it would be far reaching to think that the government would consider him a likely candidate to teach morality.

I know what Mr. Yagman is facing as I’ve spent time in Federal prison for tax evasion myself. I did not enjoy the experience. It was humbling to say the least. However, there are several things that I learned from my prison experience that were invaluable:

  • To learn about yourself – what and what you really are – after having all aspects of ego stripped away is priceless. Sometimes you might not like what you see or come to learn, but you do learn and from that have the opportunity to grow.
  • I learned that success was not in any way defined by the things that surround us – those are the things that feed our ego’s. Rather, I learned that success comes truly from the impact you have on other people. My time in prison gave me the opportunity to come to know others and myself. It gave us all a chance to become real rather than to hide behind the illusion of who we project ourselves to be.
  • I learned that Every Choice Has A Consequence. Whether the consequence is negative or positive is up to you and the choices you make. You are in control of your choices and therefore the outcomes.
  • Finally, through a simple opportunity to speak to others about what not to do…I found my life’s calling – speaking to others and sharing simple truths. http://www.chuckgallagher.com

Perhaps Mr. Yagman will learn as I did about the truth of who he is and what true justice means. I wish him well and respect his fight…but over time, when ego identity is stripped away, perhaps he’ll come to learn more that he could have ever taught.

Any commensts?

Business Ethics Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…Texas Motivational Speaker, Chuck Gallagher