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Religion in the Workplace.


Judge Hades

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Oh yes, another religion talk from yours truly but this time I am siding with Religion. In the news recently there were a couple of stories talking about two women, one being a Christian and the other a Muslim, who both have similar problems. They fel that they are being discriminated against by their respectful employers for not letting them wear religious aspects belonging to their faith.

 

The Christian woman is employed by British Airways nd wears a piece of jewelly, a necklace with a cross, out in the open Sounds pretty inocuous to me but the peeps of BA say it is against policy to allow jewelry be worn out in the open. Now my question is, where is the harm in it? Is she harassing other people for not being Christians? No. Is it interfering with her work? No. Is it costing the company money if she wears it out in the open? No. So where is the bloody harm?!?! Let her wear her cross necklace and not make a stink of it. Its harming no one.

 

The same can be said about this Muslim woman who is a teacher's assistance. She wears a viel as her sect in Islam dictates but the school demands that she not wear the viel. She would comply to this if no men teachers were present in the class room, but the school didn't like that alternativ either. Personally I don't see how wearing viel would get in the way of the teaching experience for the kids. Frankly it would probably expose the kids to a more diverse culture and raise questions about the Islamic traditions and increase awarenes in diversity. I see this as a good thing.

 

So can oen be religious in the work place and follow the tenets of their beliefs? As long as they don't harass others about their religion, create a hostile work environment on their religion, and don't cut in the profit margins I see why not. Let people follow the tenets of their religion if it causes no harm to others or the business/employment in question.

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Oh yes, another religion talk from yours truly but this time I am siding with Religion.  In the news recently there were a couple of stories talking about two women, one being a Christian and the other a Muslim, who both have similar problems.  They fel that they are being discriminated against by their respectful employers for not letting them wear religious aspects belonging to their faith.

 

The Christian woman is employed by British Airways nd wears a piece of jewelly, a necklace with a cross, out in the open  Sounds pretty inocuous to me but the peeps of BA say it is against policy to allow jewelry be worn out in the open.  Now my question is, where is the harm in it?  Is she harassing other people for not being Christians?  No.  Is it interfering with her work?  No.  Is it costing the company money if she wears it out in the open?  No.  So where is the bloody harm?!?!  Let her wear her cross necklace and not make a stink of it.  Its harming no one.

 

The same can be said about this Muslim woman who is a teacher's assistance.  She wears a viel as her sect in Islam dictates but the school demands that she not wear the viel.  She would comply to this if no men teachers were present in the class room, but the school didn't like that alternativ either.  Personally I don't see how wearing viel would get in the way of the teaching experience for the kids.  Frankly it would probably expose the kids to a more diverse culture and raise questions about the Islamic traditions and increase awarenes in diversity.  I see this as a good thing.

 

So can oen be religious in the work place and follow the tenets of their beliefs?  As long as they don't harass others about their religion, create a hostile work environment on their religion, and don't cut in the profit margins I see why not.  Let people follow the tenets of their religion if it causes no harm to others or the business/employment in question.

 

The first scenario is pretty straight forward. No exposed jewelry. The second...couldn't tell ya.

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

 

- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

 

"I have also been slowly coming to the realisation that knowledge and happiness are not necessarily coincident, and quite often mutually exclusive" - meta

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Jewelery (of any kind) are often not allowed on work places.. I doubt it's becuase of the religious meaning!

But wearing a veil - there I agree with you .. that would probably add to cultural understanding and diversity! unless they have a general rule against headwear etc.. then she shouldn't be allowed - same rules for everyone!

Edited by Rosbjerg

Fortune favors the bald.

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What is wrong with exposed jewelry? Why is that such a problem?

 

I don't mind the same rules for everyone, as long as they aren't really discriminatory. Such as if she is the only Muslim and they made a no headgear rule how much will that really effect the other non-Muslim teaching staff?

Edited by Judge Hades
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The first scenario is pretty straight forward. No exposed jewelry. The second...couldn't tell ya.

Heh, the first scenario is straight forward. BA has the right to set its a drress code.

 

With the teacher there are a couple of things:

 

She wears a viel as her sect in Islam dictates

This isn't true, Islam does not dictate the wearing of a veil. In practice its basically up to the individual woman if she wears the veil.

Personally I don't see how wearing viel would get in the way of the teaching experience for the kids. Frankly it would probably expose the kids to a more diverse culture and raise questions about the Islamic traditions and increase awarenes in diversity. I see this as a good thing.

I think face to face contact is incredibly important when teaching and just conversing in general. IMO it does create a barrier and concealing ones face always creates an air of distrust. The womans caveat of wearing it in front of male colleagues only is hypocritical nonsense since she already removed it once for an interview with a male governor of the school.

Edited by Surreptishus
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Religion is a private thing and should be practiced in one's own privacy.

I think all religious symbols should be removed from public places, unless it is a gathering of a religious group.

 

There was a case here in Montreal a few years ago where a Sikh(sp?) boy needed to carry around a knife as part of his religion. It was not considered a weapon by his religion, only ceremonial in nature(and not for sacrifices!) and the blade was dull.

It was a rather big debate, mostly because of the security risks but also because there was the question of the effect it could have for other religions as well. If we keep him from carrying around a kirpan(the knife in question) are we obliged to keep Catholics and Jews from also wearing their religious symbols?

 

He was eventually allowed to carry the knife to school because no one of this religion would use the item in question as a weapon, much the same way no one thinks of sinking a pencil in someone's throat.

 

I always asked myself what is the risk of someone else, let's say a protestant, from stealing the Kirpan and sinking it in a teacher's throat?

 

 

So, I believe it's all or nothing. Either we allow everyone the right to fully express their religion, or we allow no one.

Since, it seems, many who are offended by the exposition of religious symbols contrary to their own religion sometimes become violent about it, for safety's sake, I would prefer the second option.

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I read the story on the BA issue. BA allows Muslim ladies to wear scarves and Sikhs to wear turbans because it's not practical to hide those religious items. For Christians it's not strictly necessary to wear the cross visibly (BA has nothing against them wearing it below their uniform) so that's pretty much it. Of course the next question people are asking is whether other faiths should be forced to hide their expressions of faith while the other more visible ones are allowed.

Spreading beauty with my katana.

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Religion is a private thing and should be practiced in one's own privacy.

I think all religious symbols should be removed from public places, unless it is a gathering of a religious group.

so much for the concept of freedom, eh? you're "free" to believe as you wish, but you must, for the sake of everyone else, not do it openly. sorry man, but that's the antithesis of "freedom of religion." this is the definition of oppression.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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oh, by "this is the definition of oppression" i mean astro's statement. if BA wants to limit jewelry, all jewelry, there's no oppression there. if a school thinks a muslim woman should teach without a veil, then i think she should comply as well. her duty is to the children she's teaching.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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Interesting cases. The jewelry argument might be a safety hazard. I'm assuming it's not just a cross that is against the rules. They are probably trying to avoid the risk of it catching anywhere. Isn't there clothing she can wear that doesn't expose the necklace?

 

The Muslim veil is a bit odd. Hades did say that it was a particular sect that required the veil, as must muslim women I know only feel the need to cover their hair. That does seem like it's more of a distraction than is warranted, but I think I'll look into the reasons behind viel wearing before I make an opinion.

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The school issue is just bias. Many Muslim women feel strongly about covering themselves including their face. People dress differently. It is worthwhile for children to undertstand this.

 

There is no reason to make an issue of it.

 

I'm inclined to think similarly in regard to the airline and wearing the cross - unless there is some safety issue I don't understand (I doubt it - well - maybe it could flop into peoples faces when the stewardess leans over or something - a shorter chain may be in order) or some reason to believe that the stewardess is just trolling for a fight.

 

Interestingly if you put these dress styles together - head and face covering plus external cross - you get someone who looks sort of like the old style Roman Catholic Nuns who taught me when I was young. I liked them alot. :)

Edited by Colrom

As dark is the absence of light, so evil is the absence of good.

If you would destroy evil, do good.

 

Evil cannot be perfected. Thank God.

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Taks did you even read the rest of my post?

yes, i did. no matter how you slice it, ANY form of suppression is oppression. telling someone they cannot wear a cross because it may offend someone else is NOT freedom. in the end, you still said that you think ALL religious displays should be suppressed except in "certain cases" so to speak.

 

telling someone they cannot wear a cross in a work environment because that is not the public image they want displayed, however, is another story. a company, being a private entity and all, has a right to project the image they desire.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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For the Christian, it's not a big deal. Whether one wears the cross necklace or not has no bearing to one's faith. Furthermore, if it's a dress code issue it's a dress code issue. To be sure, both sides could try and cooperate more, but still.

 

For the veil.. again. It was only during the rise of the fundamentalist movements in the early 20th century or so that the veil became so widespread. Before, it was a small sector of the Muslim population that chose to wear it.

 

There needs to be a consistency; if the religion dictates one MUST wear it or something at all costs, then there is debate; if it is not required, then there is no debate.

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For the Christian, it's not a big deal. Whether one wears the cross necklace or not has no bearing to one's faith. Furthermore, if it's a dress code issue it's a dress code issue. To be sure, both sides could try and cooperate more, but still.

 

For the veil.. again. It was only during the rise of the fundamentalist movements in the early 20th century or so that the veil became so widespread. Before, it was a small sector of the Muslim population that chose to wear it.

 

There needs to be a consistency; if the religion dictates one MUST wear it or something at all costs, then there is debate; if it is not required, then there is no debate.

exaaaaactly. well said.

 

w.r.t. the first point, btw... the woman on the airline is probably just hopping on the "persecution" bandwagon that seems to be so popular today. everybody wants to make a federal (er, global) case out of minutae because in the world of "politically correct," they can. :(

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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Dress codes are legal. Period. No jewelry means no jewelry. If a school doesn't want its teachers veiled, then they have a right to say so. If said teacher doesn't want to remove her veil (which, btw, is NOT a requirement of Islam) then she can find herself a position which allows her to wear it.

 

Sorry, but I'm not feeling particularly charitable toward peeps who confuse "rights" with "wants".

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It does have to deal with her particular sect of Islam, which is heavily influenced by cultural upbringing, so I do disagree with you there, Di. :devil: Those about the jewelry makes a good case why and maybe the Christian woman is overreacting, but I still don't see the harm in it.

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