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← It can be right to discriminate against the religious

It can be right to discriminate against the religious - Comments

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 1 by gr8hands

Here, here!

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:21:00 UTC | #192121

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 2 by Dhamma

This is hopefully a great move. I'm all for it, but I'm afraid it might backfire.

Do the law use reason all of a sudden?

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:24:00 UTC | #192122

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 3 by IaninPA

You don't choose your race, sexuality, or gender.....But you do choose your religion


Quite right. I use the same argument to justify my prejudice against really fat people.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:26:00 UTC | #192123

Damien Trotter's Avatar Comment 4 by Damien Trotter

I advertised for a new job at my company and so in the advert I politely put, "Muslims and Jews need not apply." Muslims are generally cool about it, Jews don't care - but those pc nutters from the council came round straight away threatening me with a court summons for active racial discimination. Stupid, dopey bastards. I'm a pork butcher, for christ's sake.

DT

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:30:00 UTC | #192126

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 5 by hungarianelephant

If you are for human rights, then you have to be against amorphous and toxic "religious rights."

Except at the UN.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:34:00 UTC | #192128

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 6 by Tyler Durden

You don't choose your race, sexuality, or gender.....But you do choose your religion.
Eh... don't most parents choose the religion for their children? Perhaps Johann Hari is referring to adults who decide one religion over another when the are old enough to decide?

Otherwise, an excellent article.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:38:00 UTC | #192129

kkelly's Avatar Comment 8 by kkelly

Well technically, belief is largely involuntary (you can't choose to beleve the sky is green), so I wouldn't use that distinction to disqualify religion from this bill. The relevant difference is that all those other characteristics are immutable, and religion isn't. Not to say that you have NO control over your religious beliefs; you just have to not be, or aspire to not be, retarded.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:39:00 UTC | #192132

Opisthokont's Avatar Comment 7 by Opisthokont

This is fantastic -- we need more of it!!

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:39:00 UTC | #192131

Stoned_Roses's Avatar Comment 9 by Stoned_Roses

If I discriminate against someone one the basis that they follow a religion, e.g. Islam, will people not just think I'm a racist anyway? Just a thought and I might be wrong, although that's never happened before.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:40:00 UTC | #192133

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 10 by clodhopper

....."She sued, and was rewarded £4000"

Well, is there legislation I could use to successfully sue a school for discriminating against my childs application for a place because his family hold to no religion?

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:41:00 UTC | #192135

Barbara's Avatar Comment 11 by Barbara

This is excellent news. However,...

I'm not so sure the girl who wasn't hired at the salon was wrong in suing the employer. Wearing a headscarf wouldn't impede her ability to perform as a hairdresser. If it's required that her hairdressing abilities be on display, she could keep a portfolio of her work at her work station. On the other hand, if the girl were refusing to perform a task that was essential to the job, of course, she should not be hired.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:45:00 UTC | #192137

bamboospitfire's Avatar Comment 12 by bamboospitfire

My posted comment on the Indy site:


Sasha and Sean - the issue is whether a prospective employee's religion (or lack of it) affects their ability to undertake a certain sort of work. This is made clear in Johann's article with reference to Miss Great Britain, beauticians and staff employed in gay clubs.

Atheism does not prevent one from doing any job save those which require religious faith. The Church of England would be entitled to refuse employment to an outspoken atheist who wanted to join the clergy, although the very concept is obviously absurd. However, atheism does not disqualify one from any other type of employment and it would be wrong for a Christian employer to refuse to hire an atheist simply because of his or her atheism, just as it would have been wrong for the salon to refuse Ms Noah employment simply because she is a Muslim.

Importantly, the salon evidently did not refuse Ms Noah employment on religious grounds, but rather because she covers her hair - it just happens to be the case that Ms Noah covers her hair for religious reasons. That may be a fine distinction, but it is an important one which should be recognised. Ms Noah remains at liberty to uncover her hair but chooses not to do so, and thereby disqualifies herself from employment at that salon.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 08:56:00 UTC | #192139

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 13 by Cartomancer

"Religious discrimination" is terribly hard to pin down. It usually means "discrimination based on participation in the practices of a recognised major cult group", such as christianity, islam or sikhism. Independently-minded theistic people who have dreamed up their own pantheon of spirits and cobbled together their own hedge religion by themselves almost never come under the spotlight in these cases - they're generally written off as nutters alongside the tinfoil helmet crew and the flat earth society. Technically anything could be the subject of "religious" belief or practice, from a mild superstition that makes you queasy about putting shoes on tables (and hence prevents you working in a shoe shop) to a deep-seated psychological compulsion to conduct cannibalistic blood rites every full moon (which makes you an ideal candidate for the catholic priesthood).

Where does "personal conviction" end and "religion" begin? Answer, it doesn't. All religion is nothing more than acting on personal conviction. But it's not the convictions we legislate about, it's the acts they lead to.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:00:00 UTC | #192141

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 14 by Border Collie

OK, we can't hate this group any longer so let's invent or choose a group we can hate. Political correctness, the new sanctimony.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:01:00 UTC | #192142

Darwin's badger's Avatar Comment 15 by Darwin's badger

Comment #202323 by Barbara on July 1, 2008 at 9:45 am
This is excellent news. However,...

I'm not so sure the girl who wasn't hired at the salon was wrong in suing the employer. Wearing a headscarf wouldn't impede her ability to perform as a hairdresser.


Barbara, my wife and I own a hair/beauty salon, and I can tell you for a fact that people don't just come in because of the quality of the haircuts. The staff are an extension of the salon, inasmuch as their appearance goes a long way toward the public's perception of the salon. I'm quite sure that people who aren't as attractive as supermodels could wear the clothes and walk up and down a catwalk, but the model is an extension of the fashion house, and by pairing beauty with the clothes, there is a psychological bond created; a form of classical conditioning, if you like.

If it's required that her hairdressing abilities be on display, she could keep a portfolio of her work at her work station.
With all due respect, most hairdressers don't cut their own hair anyway. :)
On the other hand, if the girl were refusing to perform a task that was essential to the job, of course, she should not be hired.
As I said above, "looking the part" is a task that's an essential part of the job, if one wishes to work in a trendy salon.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:05:00 UTC | #192143

decius's Avatar Comment 16 by decius

Why does the salon owner have put up with the constant view of a symbol of chauvinism and female oppression, apart from its sheer ugliness and incompatibility with the job description?
It's like being asked to hire a shackled person for the sake of fucking multiculturalism.

It's incredible that people aren't free to run their business as they see fit and they get punished for not pandering to medieval nonsense.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:06:00 UTC | #192144

Nova's Avatar Comment 17 by Nova

In the instance where the BBC sent out nearly identical job applications the discrimination may have not been very racial or racial at all. It may have been cultural which can hinder working ability. It seems many liberals are too quick to label something as racial discrimination yet we see in settings where a racial minority is within the majority culture discrimination almost never occurs and the racial difference is ignored. The difference in race may inflame cultural differences, but I think in many instances of 'racial' discrimination it is really cultural. For example if that experiment was repeated and some of the applicants had Polish looking names and the others had Anglo-Saxon names as in the original experiment I bet you would see the same discrimination even though the Polish racial majority is white like the British one because the discrimination is based mainly on culture and not race.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:14:00 UTC | #192145

Darwin's badger's Avatar Comment 18 by Darwin's badger

Oh, I forgot to mention: Bushra Noah had applied to 25 salons and been rejected every time, before she decided to sue, which suggests that it wasn't merely about her appearance. The owner of the salon, Sarah Desrosiers, is not some multi-national chain. She's an independent businesswoman who runs on a tight margin, and this has cost her nearly £6k with legal fees. If the court had awarded Noah the full amount she wanted (£15k), Desrosiers would have gone bankrupt.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:26:00 UTC | #192147

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 19 by gr8hands

Now Nova, there you go making a rational suggestion. Where will that get you?

I'm reminded of when I attended a white (I'm white) fundamentalist church service Sunday morning in a nice suit. I was utterly ignored. I enjoyed the music, so I went back for the Sunday evening service, in the same suit, and was politely acknowledged and greeted. What was the difference? A tie. In the morning, I didn't have one, wearing the shirt collar outside the jacket in a business casual fashion, and in the evening I wore the tie as traditional.

It appears the lack of a tie branded me as a dangerous outsider to be scorned and ignored, yet a traditional tie enabled me to be welcomed as one of the group. Nothing to do with my name, gender, background, color, race, creed, orientation. Just the tie.

If someone or some group wants to discriminate, they will manufacture a reason.

As for the resumes, where did they send them? Locally focused businesses typically have a different clientele and cadre than international businesses.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:32:00 UTC | #192148

vanwall's Avatar Comment 20 by vanwall

I don't see why people are so excited that, in one instance, the government actually allows employers to make their own employment decisions. Why should the government have any say in how one chooses their friends, lovers employees, employers etc? I know people think its OK to abuse employers because they are seen as somehow a quasi-public entity who should be obliged to serve the public interest. I think they should be free to choose their own associates without having to justify their choice to anyone, least of all the idiot government.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:37:00 UTC | #192149

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 21 by clodhopper

vanwall: because we have agreed that it is at least right to try, through legislation, to end various forms of discrimination in our society, no?

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 09:49:00 UTC | #192152

AdrianB's Avatar Comment 22 by AdrianB

16. Comment #202331 by decius on July 1, 2008 at 10:06 am

Why does the salon owner have put up with the constant view of a symbol of chauvinism and female oppression, apart from its sheer ugliness and incompatibility with the job description?
It's like being asked to hire a shackled person for the sake of fucking multiculturalism.

It's incredible that people aren't free to run their business as they see fit and they get punished for not pandering to medieval nonsense.

The problem with your last sentance is where do we draw the line? Remember the fuss from the Christians when new laws came in that meant we cannot discriminate against homosexuals? There was the hotel owner that maintained it was his right to refuse entry to gays. There is an argument I suppose that if a business wants to refuse custom, we should allow them????



.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:01:00 UTC | #192156

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 23 by DalaiDrivel

Hmmm... Religions seem to me like bad unions in the workplace.

They seem to attempt to present workers with rights they shouldn't have.

i.e. "I want this job, decreeing that my physical appearance is not open to criticism nor can it disqualify me from employment."

Now to paraphrase one Douglas Adams here:

"Why not?"

"Because its not!"

The legitimacy of religious rights seems to me to rest on the legitimacy of religions themselves. Arguments for religion's utility are made constantly by the religious, although with their constant groping for evidence to support their insupportable "faith," it can be generally agreed that verifiable truth trumps considerations of utility and the benefits of illusion. Having read Sam Harris' account of Pragmatism in the End of Faith is particularly enlightening here I find.

I must say, the Supreme Courts of countries beleaguered by attempts to politicise sexual, racial and other forms of discrimination (scientific?) at the hands of the religious impress me in their resistance to the viral corruption inherent in religious influence.

There is no evidence for religious metaphysical truths, and (thankfully) therefore none for the morals derived in tandem. That a Supreme Court (or perhaps simply the government, as Johann Hari mentions) here has clearly denied criminalisation of religious discrimination warmly reminds me that a) the dubious philosophical and scientific implications of religion are not lost on its members, and b) with so many stupid people eager to jump into a nation's driver's seat, there are smart individuals already there to kick them out.

To finish esoterically....

Yes indeed, I delight in seeing another light appearing to fend off the ever-encroaching darkness. :)

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:06:00 UTC | #192157

HeyBishop's Avatar Comment 24 by HeyBishop

I agree with every word in this article.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:07:00 UTC | #192159

ilchymis's Avatar Comment 25 by ilchymis

Comment #202307 by gr8hands on July 1, 2008 at 9:21 am
Here, here!


Where, where? :)

But yes, I agree.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:16:00 UTC | #192162

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 26 by EvidenceOnly

The article states: "You don't choose your race, sexuality, or gender, and they don't affect how well you do your job. But you do choose your religion."

While in theory you can choose your religion, in reality your religion is mostly determined by the religion of your parents and/or where in the world you were born.

All religions know that they need to control your mind from when you are very young and there is an enormous pressure to keep you from choosing a different religion or no religion at all.

Add to that the constant push to eliminate evidence-based education (evolutionary biology) that limits the number of people who can escape this religious stranglehold on society.

Society is way too accommodating to religious nonsense.

- if you don't want a picture taken of your face, you have decided that you will not drive a car.
- if you believe that the bible is a science book, you have decided not to be a science teacher.
- if you don't want to prescribe or sell birth control pills, you have decided not to be a doctor or a pharmacist.
- if you don't want to learn how to fly a plane, you have decided not to become a pilot.

It is really obvious when something is discrimination versus common sense.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:18:00 UTC | #192166

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 27 by DalaiDrivel

It just occurred to me to add one justification, if any further could possibly be needed for this Equality Bill:

All of humanity is equal, but all humanisms are NOT created equal.

It is Canada Day today, and with the above statement I raise an especially extended two-fingered salute to dogmatism and superstition, and my beloved country's resistance (thus far...) to it!

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:25:00 UTC | #192169

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 28 by DalaiDrivel

EvidenceOnly,

"- if you don't want to learn how to fly a plane, you have decided not to become a pilot."

No- the 9/11 hijackers certainly wanted to learn how to fly a plane. Sadly, what nobody figured out in time was why they didn't bother to learn how to take off and land it...

Your other points are superb, and eminently rational.

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:29:00 UTC | #192170

encephalloyd's Avatar Comment 29 by encephalloyd

i do not believe that discrimination based on religion should be legal or that it is moral. discrimination should be allowed based on ability and willingness to perform the job, so long as it is not based on the forbidden criteria - age, gender, race, sexuality - and is relevant to the task at hand. examples follow:

- STRIPPER WANTED - must be willing to dance exotically for patrons while au naturel; climb poles and hang upside down; drop it like it's hot; allow patrons to hurl filthy lucre at you while you perform on stage and slip dingy one-dollar bills in your thong; give lap dances to patrons; id est, SEXUAL PRUDES NEED NOT APPLY
- BOUNCER AT TRANSSEXUAL CLUB NEEDED - must be willing to treat patrons with respect, administer first aide to patrons, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, should they need it; perform pat downs and searches for security purposes; id est, HOMOPHOBES NEED NOT APPLY
- COIFFEUR / COIFFEUSE WANTED - must be willing to be coiffed by co-coiffeurs; display coiffure to clients during business hours; participate in fashion shows ...

i think that the above types of discrimination are fair in all obvious cases, and that they are not discrimination is based on religion. i'm sure that there are many (legal) porn stars and strippers who are avowedly christians.

some care has to be taken to make sure that the requirements are reasonable. for example, an invidious form of gender discrimination might take the form of "must be able to bench press 150 pounds" for a computer programmer position (not that i could bench 150 pounds, but what does that have to do with hacking C?).

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:34:00 UTC | #192174

encephalloyd's Avatar Comment 30 by encephalloyd

p.s. the (arguably) most important rule of web two point O development is being broken by this site (which i otherwise love): "DON'T BREAK THE BACK BUTTON!"

:(

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 10:36:00 UTC | #192175