The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Religious institutions and religious employers should be allowed to hire based on their views

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/14/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,291 times Debate No: 35588
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




First, I would like to make clear that this is my first debate on this site and so I apologize for any norms I may be breaking.

In the first round of this debate, I would like to focus on the fact that religious institutions should be allowed to hire based on their beliefs and therefore should not be viewed as discriminatory. Let's focus on leadership and teaching positions. A Catholic church should not have to hire an atheist as a pastor on the grounds of religious discrimination. A Muslim mosque should not have to hire a Hindu. A Buddhist temple should not have to hire a Christian. I believe that this much should be clear to anyone and will not discuss it further. Those are all religious distinctions regarding somebody taking a leadership or teaching position. Now I make the case that religious institutions have the right to deny employment in leadership positions based on a potential employee's opinion and/or behavior differing with what the religious institution teaches. I will primarily be using a Christian church as an example in this argument as they are the easiest for me to write about.

Say a non-married man who is very knowledgable and qualified in every way to be a pastor is a pastor in a church. It then becomes known that this man has been having sex, and the church decides to fire him because this is in disagreement with their teachings. Or let us say that a man, extremely qualified for a pastoral position, is known to have extramarital sex and is seeking a position in a church. The church refuses to hire him because he is at odds with their teachings. The church is well within its rights to act this way, because the church does not want someone who disagrees and acts contrary with their beliefs to be leading or teaching in their church. This is defended by the first amendment, as freedom of religion means that the government cannot force a religious institution to act contrary to their beliefs. This applies to the decision of a religious institution to hire based on a potential employee's opinion and behavior. Whether this potential employee differs from the religious institution's views in sexual preference, sexual behavior, social behavior, opinions on dogma, or any other reason is irrelevant, because religious institutions are allowed to base their hiring practices around a potential employee's opinion or behavior.

Now I will address the notion that a religious institution should be allowed to base their hiring practices at any level and for any office, from the mail room to the custodian's closet, based on religious beliefs and/or personal opinion and/or behavior.

A religious institution must maintain its beliefs throughout every level of its organization. An institution cannot denounce a behavior or belief and then be forced to accommodate a person who believes and/or acts the opposite. That also is encroaching on a religious institution's first amendment rights to behave based on their beliefs. If they are required by the government to act opposite of what they believe, the government is essentially saying that while an institution may believe something, that belief is incorrect and they must accommodate and behave according to the belief of the government instead.

Additionally, religious institutions typically seek to maintain an image that exemplifies what they teach. They should not be forced to hire someone who would tarnish the image that the institution was trying to uphold. If a church believes adultery is wrong, it should not have to maintain an adulterer as their IT technician simply because his actions occurred outside of the professional realm. If they believe a behavior is wrong, they should be allowed to base their hiring practices around it.

That is the entirety of my first argument, in my next I will be arguing that the rights I argued for above should be extended to religious-minded or community-centric businesses. You may argue against that if you wish.


I gladly take on this debate and hoep that both myself and Pro have a good enjoyable debate, especially being Pro's first debate. I am also new here so will do my best to address my side.

Priests, Ministers etc.

Firstly, I agree that priests and ministers should probably not be hired if they are atheist, muslim etc. I don't think you need to go as far as saying they shouldn't be hired because of religios belief, I think that they simply wouldn't have the qualifying attributes to do such a job.

If a minister needs to be 'connected to god', 'speak gods word' or have 'a relationship with god' as many will say, this couldn't be done if they do not believe in this God. So simply put, this would be grounds enough, not BECAUSE they are of a different religion, but by result of it.

Coffee Lady, Cleaner, Handy Man at a church

While I think positions that need to be in touch with God may need certain aspects like the above met, I don't feel that they should discriminate when hiring things such as catering for a coffee morning, a handy man to fix a roof or a cleaner to wash the floor. Whether on a full time basis or a one time hire, these positions do not need the belief in God for the position to be done properly.

Also, taking the Christian view since you have mentioned this one as examples... They are tuaght to love everyone equally, and so surely to discriminate when it is not needed actually goes against this commandement and against their own God.

Religios Employers

This is my main issue. Con, in the title has stated "religious employers should be allowed to hire based on their views". This means if the employer at walmart, your local bank, the local radio or school is religios, they should be allowed to discriminate based on nothing but their own beliefs. This is wrong, and unless Pro can justify this part further Pro's argument fails.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the challenge. I would like to address your response to my statement that religious beliefs are grounds to discriminate for leadership positions. You seem to agree with the idea but disagree with the specific statement. I'd like to address that. From a governmental standpoint, you are allowed to discriminate on the basis of qualifications for the job. However, the government cannot qualify what "having a relationship with God" consists of, and therefore could not allow that to be the sole reason for why someone is not qualified for a job. If a man attended seminary, is knowledgable in the Bible, and has led a morally upright life from a Christian perspective, he may be qualified for a specific pastoral job. If this same man converted to Islam the day before, he is no longer qualified. The government cannot look at those two men and say that one has a better relationship with God than the other. The only difference the government sees in them is that they are of different religions, and this is more than enough reason to allow a church to hire based on those men's religion. While I agree that in the eyes of most there is some additional level of insight that is desired for teaching or leadership positions, from the government's perspective, the difference the government sees is one of religion, and they should allow decisions to be made based on that element.

Now to focus on non-leadership and non-teaching positions. Religious institutions teach a certain doctrine. They tell their listeners to behave according to that doctrine. They teach that what is within that doctrine is right, and what is outside of it is wrong. The government cannot tell a religious institution to act differently than they believe. That infringes on their first amendment rights. If the government tells a religious institution to hire 'x' type of person, despite the fact that the institution believes doing 'x' is wrong, the government is essentially telling the institution that the government disagrees with their believes and they must act according to what the government believes, not what they believe. This is setting one religion lower than another and infringes on the first amendment.

Additionally, many religions only want members of their faith in certain areas of their buildings. I may be wrong here, but to my knowledge, there are parts of Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques that are typically off-limits to people who are not of their religion. They should not have to break a tenant of their religion such as this simply because repairs are needed and the government does not allow you to choose their handymen based on religion.

The point that Christians should be accepting according to their own beliefs is true. However, that does not mean they should be legally forced to hire people they disagree with. If you work for a church, you are an example of it. People will expect certain things of you and will make judgements on the church as a whole based on how you act. Therefore, a church or any religious institution should be allowed to hire based on the image that a potential employee will give to their institution.

Now I will focus on employers being allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, personal opinion, and/or behavior. There are several cases for which I will argue that a company should be allowed to discriminate on these bases, but I will first acknowledge that there are many cases in which they should not. I am not arguing that if an employer, meaning the person doing the employing, is religious then these exceptions should be in place. I am arguing if the company, as a whole, is religious, then these exceptions should. I am not saying that large corporations, such as Walmart, should be allowed to discriminate on these bases. Typically, the companies for which I am arguing will be smaller, community-centric companies.

The first argument I make is that of image. A company's success relies heavily on the image the company portrays. Let's say you are Muslim and you run a restaurant. You are an outstanding member of your local Muslim community. You follow the five pillars. You are known as being a deeply religious man. This standard of religious excellence you have brought to your restaurant. People know it as being a Muslim-friendly place. Muslims come from all around to eat at your restaurant. They come because the food is good, but they primarily come in order to support a restaurant that represents and agrees with their beliefs. As a result, business has increased and you are looking to hire a new employee. You have one opening and two candidates. One is far more qualified than the other, but he is Jewish (both in belief and ethnicity) and vehemently disagrees with Islam. If you are not allowed to use religion as a basis for your hiring practices, you hire the Jewish one. As a result, your restaurant is no longer viewed as a outstanding place exemplifying Muslim beliefs. Now it is simply a restaurant. Your image is tarnished. People still come to it, because the food is good, but you have lost a lot of clientele because you are no longer viewed how you once were. It is in cases like this that I argue religion and/or personal beliefs and/or behaviors should be allowed to discriminate by.

I'd also argue for cases in which a company is inherently religious. Christian bookstores, private religiously-affiliated schools, that type of thing. These places focus on their religion as their defining aspect, and so for the same reasons I gave in saying that religious institutions should be allowed to make decisions, I also believe inherently religious companies should be given this same consideration. On top of that, the argument based on image also applies to these companies.


I thank Pro for the last round, but there are a few points which need ot be addressed where Pro has failed.

Priests, Ministers etc.

Pro has said “the government cannot qualify what ‘having a relationship with God’ consists of, and therefore could not allow that to be the sole reason for why someone is not qualified for a job”

This is a completely flawed statement. Do you think the government decides what counts as qualified or not? The guvernment states that you can not-hire based on a lack of qualifications for the job role, the guvernment does not say what qualifies people for each job role. Let’s look at this from another job point.

The government cannot qualify what ‘artistic vision’ consists of, anymore than ‘having a relationship with god’. But people could be not taken on for not having artistic vision, as that may very well be a qualification for getting an artist job. The same could be said for ‘creative flair’, ‘having an eye for it’, ‘natural talent’, and all similar things. The same can be said when it comes to music too, any many other jobs. If an artist does not have those, and the employer is requiring someone with those skills to qualify them for the job, then that artist would not meet the requirements for that job, no matter how much they had studied art.

To take it back to religion, in just the same way, if it is a requirement of the religion for the person to have a ‘relationship with god’ which is a term well used within certain religions, then being an atheist or of another religion would show that the person in question does not have that particular relationship with God.

Also, many religions (Christianity for example) say specifically not to follow other gods. In the bible it says to stone people of other religions to death, so surely at very least, having them working for the religion as a leading figure would cause issues and have a negative effect on the religion and it’s mission.

Handymen and Rights

Pro says “The government cannot tell a religious institution to act differently than they believe.” And “This is setting one religion lower than another and infringes on the first amendment.”

Of course they can! A religion is not above the law. They are people just like everyone else. If the religion is doing something which causes harm (for example discriminating against people) then laws can be brought in and enforced to stop that harm.

If what you have said was true, a religion could believe its ok to kill someone and the government could not tell them to not kill that person. This is insane, and severely wrong.

It is not infringing on any rights. It would only be putting one religion above the others if they were saying this to one religion. These laws would / are (depending on where you stay) enforced across the board. Every religion has to abide by the same laws. To assume it is, would be to assume that there are separate rules for one specific group. While this is true in the bible, this is not the way laws work today.

Pro has also put forward “Additionally, many religions only want members of their faith in certain areas of their buildings.” This falls in line with what I said. The persons religion is not why they would not be hired. If the church has rules that only Christian people can go into room 243, and a proposed handyman is Muslim and cant go fix something in room 243, the restriction of access would impede the handyman’s ability to do his job to the same standard as a Christian handyman.

The hiring judgement would be based on how the religion affected the person’s ability to do the job, not just “don’t hire him, he’s one of ‘those’ guys. The outcome is the same, but the journey to get there is different. This is important because if there was no difference in how they could do their job, there is no reasons to discriminate against one religion for another.

Religious Employers

Pro has said in the title "religious employers should be allowed to hire based on their views".

He has now backed up on this to say “religions COMPANIES should be allowed to hire based on how other religions will affect their public image”. These are two separate claims, and I will talk about both.

First off, the first one is still wrong and no points have been made otherwise. If I open a newsagents, there is no reason for me to say “I’m an atheist therefore I do not want to hire religious people” or vice versa.

My point stands that Pro’s claim of “religious employers should be allowed to hire based on their views” is wrong. Pro needs to address this and back up this claim.

As for what it has been changed to, Pro is no longer talking about hiring based on belief and has moved on to how this belief effects the public image of the company. Unfortunitly we cannot hire based on public image. If this were true, we could justify not hiring any person based on weight, skin colour, gender, or anything at all to be honest, as it may “effect the public image of the company”.

There is no reason that myself, as an atheist, would do any better or worse of a job than any Christian when a Christian book store is hiring. The only time it should be used would be if the 2 candidates are absolutely matched, and you could say that the person religion may give them better insight into the books available when customers come in, but again you would need to back this up.

You can’t just categorically say “group x should be aloud to not hire group b, because they are a bunch of jews”.

I look forward to Pro's reply and the following round.

Debate Round No. 2


I'm quitting the site, as I have gotten tired of it and realized that it's stresssing me out too much, so enjoy your win. You made some good points and did a good job. Sorry for balking. Anyways, I'd like to say just one last thing about this debate. I didn't back up on my claim about employers. Employer can mean either the organization that hires someone or the person that hires someone. I was referencing the former meaning at all points in this debate. So that is all, have fun with your life.


As Pro has stated, he "didn't back up on my claim about employers."
His last round is also basically an FF.

I thank Pro for the debate and hope he finds something more rewarding for him personally.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by David.McIntosh 5 years ago
Hi, Ragnar, just wondering if you could let me know why I got marked down on Conduct? I'm new so it would help for future debates if nothing else. Just not sure why?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession (not the same as an FF).