The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
ANSmith
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

Employers should not be legally obliged to accommodate their employees' religious beliefs.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,273 times Debate No: 4900
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (4)
Votes (14)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

There have been a number of instances recently where Christian employees wishing to adhere to their faith in the workplace have taken their employers to court over and duly won their respective cases.

For example, a devout Christian working as a registrar refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies as she considered them to be contrary to her religious beliefs. Her successful legal action has set the precedent that religious beliefs supersede the rights of lesbians and gays in the workplace.

http://news.bbc.co.uk...

It is clearly wrong for employers to discriminate against people from certain ethnic backgrounds because nobody chooses to be born into any particular ethnic group, so a company would not be allowed to advertise a job as follows:

"Wanted – junior sub-atomic particle physicist to work in nuclear research facility. No experience necessary as full training will be given. Shetland Islanders, Inuits and Icelanders need not apply"

However, following a religion is a matter of personal choice, and so companies should not be prosecuted for "discriminating" against people of any given faith, as BA was in the case where a pious Christian won the right to break the company policy on jewellery by insisting on wearing a necklace with a cross.

http://news.bbc.co.uk...

This is, of course, utter madness. By this logic, you could be offered a job as a matador on a Friday afternoon and on Monday morning turn up for work and announce that you had converted to Hinduism over the weekend and would be happy to do the job of a bullfighter but would not be able to stab any cows as Hindus consider bovines sacred!

Similarly, one of the female debaters on this site could be offered a job as a porn actress and turn up on the set and say tell the director that she would happy to do the job but had suddenly decided to become a devout follower of Islam and so would not be able to remove her burqa, or indeed any item of clothing and there could certainly be no intimate physical contact as this would be contrary to her religious beliefs!

It's just like a student getting a Saturday job in a pork pie factory and telling the boss on the first day that he is very happy to do the job of a pork pie maker but because he had recently chosen to become an ultra-orthodox Jew he would not be able to deal with any pork products and, as Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, he wouldn't actually be able to do any work of any description!

It seems to me that the judges in the aforementioned court cases were a couple of frothing nutjobs and I therefore affirm that, because religion is a matter of personal choice, companies should not be legally obliged to accommodate their employees' religious practices or beliefs.
ANSmith

Con

First I'd like to thank my opponent for posting this debate.

"For example, a devout Christian working as a registrar refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies as she considered them to be contrary to her religious beliefs. Her successful legal action has set the precedent that religious beliefs supersede the rights of lesbians and gays in the workplace."

While you are correct that lesbians and gays have rights, the article states that: "...registrars in Islington effectively worked on a freelance basis and could swap with each other to avoid same-sex ceremonies..." So she could have swapped with someone else to conduct the ceremony.

Religion, just like ethnicity, is a part of who we are as individuals. Those who choose to follow a certain religion shouldn't be harassed in order to do something that their job requires, and at any rate, they should know what that job entails beforehand and discuss that with their employer. Religion is important to those that choose to follow it, and an individual has just as much the right to practice their religion freely just as much as lesbians and gays have rights.

An employer, I understand, has to make a profit. They have to keep their business running. But they should also be willing to accomodate religions.

"Similarly, one of the female debaters on this site could be offered a job as a porn actress and turn up on the set and say tell the director that she would happy to do the job but had suddenly decided to become a devout follower of Islam and so would not be able to remove her burqa, or indeed any item of clothing and there could certainly be no intimate physical contact as this would be contrary to her religious beliefs!"

This is null and void, considering someone who is Islam obviously would not take a job as a porn star in the first place! Also, you can't just SUDDENLY become Islam, it takes time and learning. You would have had to had preconceived thoughts about it before hand, in which case, you wouldn't take the job.

"It's just like a student getting a Saturday job in a pork pie factory and telling the boss on the first day that he is very happy to do the job of a pork pie maker but because he had recently chosen to become an ultra-orthodox Jew he would not be able to deal with any pork products and, as Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, he wouldn't actually be able to do any work of any description!"

Again, to become a Jew takes time, as you must learn everything about the religion. And you would have to have preconceived thoughts of becoming a Jew, in which case, you obviously would not take a job that was on the Jewish Sabbath.

"It seems to me that the judges in the aforementioned court cases were a couple of frothing nut jobs and I therefore affirm that, because religion is a matter of personal choice, companies should not be legally obliged to accommodate their employees' religious practices or beliefs."

To this you could argue that being gay is a personal choice, so employers should not be legally obligated to accommodate their lifestyle. Like in the first case you mentioned.

Religion is the staple of most American homes, it means everything to them and they are willing to do anything for it. For example, I refuse to work on Sundays because of my faith. If it came down to working on Sundays or loosing my job, then I would loose my job. But my boss accommodates to my request because it's only one day out of the week. My point in this is that a person should not have to choose between their faith and their job. It would be the same as asking a gay man to choose between his partner and his job. That's not right either, wouldn't you agree?
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for taking this challenge.

My opponent attacked my (deliberately obtuse) scenarios by suggesting that people don't suddenly become Moslems or Jews.

This may or may not be the case, but what about Christianity? People in America are always "finding God". Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons send missionaries out to convert people all the time.

Consider, if you will, the following scenario:

(Ring, Ring)

DF - Hello, Doctor Foster here.

HM - Foster – this is the hospital manager. It's ten past nine on Sunday morning. You were supposed to be performing a life-saving operation on a little girl today. Where on earth are you, for God's sake?

DF - Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain, lest He shalt smite thee. Hallelujah!

HM - What the…?

DF - Last night some Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on my door and enlightened me as to the true path to inherit the Kingdom of God. And, lo, I did repent my sins and let Jesus into my heart and the Good Book says people should take Sundays off work, so I won't be coming in today. Praise be to the Lord. Hallelujah!

HM - What are you talking about? We all have to work Sundays from time to time. People don't stop being ill at the weekends, you know. Now get your sorry *ss down here right now and bring your scalpel with you.

DF - Sorry, no can do, pal; it's against my religion. Amen.

HM - But the little girl will die…

DF - Stuff her and stuff you too. If she pegs it, it will be the Lord's will. Hallelujah!

HM - Right, that's it Foster, consider yourself well and truly sacked, you cretinous Christian crackpot.

DF - You can't sack me. I've got extra rights because I'm religious. If you fire me, I'll take you to court and sue you for discrimination. Oh, and by the way, The Bible says: "Only flesh with its soul-its blood-you must not eat" - Genesis 9:3-4, which means I won't be doing any more blood transfusions and since pretty much all my operations involve blood transfusions, there doesn't seem much point in me coming in at all, does there? Never mind, though, you'll still have to pay me and there's nothing you can do about it, ha-ha-ha-ha! Amen.

Okay, okay, I know it's an unlikely scenario and people don't suddenly find religion overnight. The point is though, that if that surgeon had become a Jehovah's Witness, which may have taken weeks or month's, he wouldn't be able to perform operations involving blood transfusions or work on Sundays. Now, because his objections are fundamental to his faith, the hospital would be legally required to accommodate his religious beliefs, thus leaving his non-religious colleagues with an extra workload.

People with faith should not have special privileges and dispensations just because they are religious. After all, one of the Jehovah's Witnesses' colleagues might follow his football team just as devoutly as someone of faith but he wouldn't be allowed to take every Saturday off to watch them play.

Religious practices and beliefs are personal matters and should not be allowed to interfere with an employee's work.
ANSmith

Con

ANSmith forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by wheelhouse3 8 years ago
wheelhouse3
Pro deserves my vote. He argued his position better.

As a member of the LDS church (aka Mormon) I face a lot of discrimination especially in the workplace. When I'm interviewed for a job I'm usually asked to work Sundays. My religion believes that in order to keep the sabbath day holy it must be a day of rest and so I when I say I refuse to work Sundays I don't usually get the job. That's my choice to not work on Sundays and I don't blame employers who don't hire me because of that choice. They need people who have flexible work hours that can accomadate the business.
However, not hiring me because of what I believe is an entirely different matter. *That* kind of discrimination should be illegal along with all other types of discrimination. It is wrong whether it's a choice or not.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, and luckily survived, albeit with deep emotional scars;), so I have to say I found your scenario quite amusing. You should know, however, that JW's are "allowed" to work on Sundays as far as their doctrine goes, but are strongly encouraged not to. Most of the ones I knew (and family that I know, but won't acknowledge I exist because I am an "apostate") didn't have to worry about this because the men were all carpenters and the women were all housewives.
Posted by flower 8 years ago
flower
For the second round you used the Jehova witnesses and a doctor. This is not a true explanation of these two worlds. Doctors take an oath to heal people. They are not allowed to refuse treatment to anyone and a Jehova witness would know that.
By picking a Jehova you first attacked a religious belief, second it is one of the more stricter beliefs out there. There are many many christians that disagree with something like this.
I agree that religious beliefs are a personal matter, but for them this is not "just" a belief it's a way of life that influences everything they do. Therefore it cannot be seen seperate from the rest of their life...
Even though the opposer missed the second round and I don't think her arguments are very strong, I still vote for her, since your arguments don't make sense to me...
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
I took an Employment Law class to which this very subject was the basis of much debate and scrutiny. I personally agree with Brian, and debate-wise I voted for him as well. Even without the missed round, Con clearly misconstrued all of Pro's arguments from R1.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by KingDebater 8 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Full Pro sweep. Conduct for the forfeit round, S&G should be obvious, Pro made his case, while Con attempted to use an irrelevant and specious argument of assertion that didn't address the question
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