Thursday, March 10, 2016

Whose religious freedom, part N....

Interesting take at Religion Dispatches about several cases where Muslim employees are no longer allowed a prayer break.  This would seem to be a clear case where accommodation of religion is being egregiously ignored.  After all, these employees just want a quick break. They aren't trying to make anyone else pray with them.  You would think all those conservatives would be right behind them, right?

Oh, wait.  Muslims.  Yeah, we have seen that some conservatives don't think Muslims are eligible for religious freedom.

But there's another reason, not about Muslims, but about WORKERS.  That is, employer's rights trump those of workers.
.... the requested accommodation would benefit workers, potentially at their employer’s expense, rather than the reverse. In Hobby Lobby and similar cases, employers have used religious exemptions as a way to resist progressive government regulation intended to provide a benefit to workers. In contrast, the Muslim workers in these cases are demanding enforcement of a workers’ rights protection—specifically the Civil Rights Act, a law that some conservatives and libertarians resist to this day. 
While employees say that the accommodation would not impose a meaningful burden on employers, the companies have implied that allowing prayer breaks could cause delays on rapid-fire production lines. It’s an interesting contrast that while the religious right sees no problem in shifting the cost of contraceptive health care from employers to employees or the government in order to accommodate the religious beliefs of a company’s owners, they seem unwilling to allow workers to shift even the minimal costs associated with five-minute prayer breaks to their employers. 
There are plenty of arguments for why courts should exercise caution in granting any religious accommodation in the workplace, and should carefully consider the effects an accommodation will have on employers, employees, consumers and the public. It should raise suspicion, however, when those who most adamantly demand the right for business-owners to enforce their beliefs on workers seem unwilling to speak up for the religious rights of minority workers.
Isn't it nice to know that the defense of the employer class transcends any actual principles.

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