A Parade of Ideological Conformity

Well, look, clearly it was wrong of the city fire department — with its openly devout Christian fire chief — to order its men to participate in a faith-based parade during which they were subjected to aggressive and offensive suggestions as to their own religions… oh, wait a sec; that’s not how the story goes:

In 28 years of responding to fires and saving lives, Fire Capt. John Ghiotto of the San Diego Fire Department never thought his job would require him to attend a Gay Pride parade.
“I’ve dealt with finding bodies in burning buildings, traffic accidents with kids, but I’ve never been so stressed out before until this incident,” Ghiotto told FOXNews.com in an exclusive interview.
Ghiotto and three other firefighters filed a sexual harassment complaint against the city’s fire department last week after being forced to attend the parade in uniform despite objections they made to superiors.
“I don’t want anybody else to go through this. This is a whole different ball game. I think our officials up above need to look at this,” Ghiotto said.
The firefighters claim parade attendees made obscene gestures, uttered inappropriate remarks and displayed lewd behavior that made them uncomfortable. They also demanded a work environment without discrimination and harassment.
The four men allege they were ordered by a battalion chief to attend last month’s parade and feared consequences for failure to do so, since refusing to follow a direct order constitutes disciplinary action.
If the men refused to follow the direct order, they could have been suspended on the spot and stripped of any chance for a promotion, according to their manual, Ghiotto said. It was Ghiotto’s first direct order.
Ghiotto, engineer Jason Hewitt and firefighters Chad Allison and Alex Kane filed the complaint, which includes detailed descriptions of their allegations. Their fire station is along the parade route.
“You could not even look at the crowd without getting some type of sexual gesture,” Ghiotto said in the complaint. “The experience left me feeling humiliated, embarrassed and offended by this event.”
San Diego fire chief Tracy Jarman, an open lesbian, said she apologized to the men, according to a statement. Jarman said any kind of sexual harassment is “unacceptable, and is never tolerated” in the department.
“I am deeply concerned and troubled by the allegations that have been made. I take them seriously,” Jarman said in a statement.

The FoxNews article stresses that the order came from a battalion chief, but according to Ghiotto’s complaint (PDF):

I asked the chief if he was giving me and my crew a direct order to attend
this parade , and he said “yes”. He was given a direct order from Chief Carle via chain of
command that engine 5 and the on duty crew was to participate in the parade.

Not surprisingly, we also get another example of an assumption of bigotry being used to invalidate legitimate complaints and opinions. According to Chad Allison:

I have heard that Assistant Chief Jeff Carle attended a
meeting with the Local 145 and made us out to be a group of guys that have issues with
homosexuality and that he was in the parade and did not see anything offensive .

The sexual-harassment aspect of this story is not the fundamental travesty. Rather, it is the enforcement of an essentially religious worldview that ought to be the subject of the complaint. I know libertines and secularists find the suggestion irksome, but it does not make the subject of their zealotry any less of a religion that they declare it to be Nature and Truth.

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16 years ago

Let’s be fair to all religions and ideologies: Public safety personnel ought not to be required to march in ANY kind of parade. It creates too many uncomfortable situations and hard feelings, and unnecessary union-management conflicts.
If hetero firefighters don’t want to march in a gay parade, they shouldn’t have to. If Muslim firefighters don’t want to march in a Columbus Day parade, or Jewish firefighters in a Christmas parade, they shouldn’t have to, either.

Pat Crowley
16 years ago

Thats right. The oppressed Christian minority.

16 years ago

Simply no reason why these men, who’s job it is to FIGHT FIRES should have been forced to march in a gay pride parade. The chief was wrong.
I’m sure Pat would have been there in a chicken suit having a GRAND time.

16 years ago

There shouldn’t be a Gay Pride Parade, or a display of the kind that is currently labelled as such. No pride there. Nothng gay about it.

16 years ago

“Public safety personnel ought not to be required to march in ANY kind of parade.”
Agreed. And this incident is Exhibit A.

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