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Religious Beliefs in Business

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Lisa0315, Sep 23, 2008.

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  1. Lisa0315

    Lisa0315 Respect Catholics and the Mother Church!

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    I am currently taking a Business Ethics class. I have to write a paper. I picked "Religious Beliefs in Business: The Ethics of Faith" as my subject/title.

    I am going to write about the following:

    1. Laws regarding religion/Constitution
    2. Hiring/Firing/Accomodating Religion
    3. Service to Customers
    4. Rental of facilities
    5. Religious icons displayed at work
    Most of this is based on the idea of civil unions and churches/faiths that oppose them. Should a Christian Church be forced to rent their facilities to a gay couple? Should a Christian business owner be forced to perform services for someone/something outside of their beliefs? (Example: Wedding photographer at a Civil Union, Nurses who do not believe in abortion, etc.)

    I would love to have input and I may incorporate some of the discussion into my paper. I am supposed to present both sides of the argument.

    Thanks in advance to participants. [​IMG]
     
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  2. exxxys

    exxxys Heathen

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    Yes, they should. Religion has no place in business. It is your own private thing.

    I am Pagan, and also a photographer. I did photography for my Catholic friends, because their faiths are irrelevent to me and I wanted to do something nice. I did makeup for my boyfriend's sister, who was in a dance recital. She's in Aisian religion, like Buddism (as am I, to some extent).

    Once again, religion has no place in the working world and should be left at home.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2008
  3. Poverello78

    Poverello78 Regular Member

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    This is a great topic. I hope there's time for me to help out once I'm no longer sick (which should be in the next day or two).

    exxxys, I believe in your last sentence you meant to say that religion has no place in the working world. Also, I'm a photographer as well. :)
     
  4. exxxys

    exxxys Heathen

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    Hahah, woops!! Yeah that's what I meant. I can get terribly confused sometimes. Thans for pointing it out to me!
     
  5. Lisa0315

    Lisa0315 Respect Catholics and the Mother Church!

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    Here is my opening paragraph and kind of where I will be going with the paper.

    In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Within this document, religious freedom was defined as “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”¹. The ethical dilemma, then, is what happens when one’s religious beliefs marginalizes another’s different belief? Is one religious group allowed to legislate its beliefs into law? How are religious beliefs carried out in the business world? Should a business be neutral in religious matters?
     
  6. Verv

    Verv Senior Veteran

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    I think you should write about it in the sense that people should have the right over their own property.

    A Church, a business owner, whomever, should be able to basically dictate what happens on their property as long as it is not violating the rights of somoene else.

    Certainly ,I have no right to go to your property and demand that you allow me to use your pool with my friends because we want to have a pool party.

    We should all be Kings of our own property.
     
  7. Lisa0315

    Lisa0315 Respect Catholics and the Mother Church!

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    I have to present both sides, so this will definitely something I will include.
     
  8. white dove

    white dove (she's a) maniac

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    I think you'd have to take into consideration past & current laws, trends and how liberal or conservative the country truly is. Ethically-speaking, I don't think anyone has the right to force their beliefs, lifestyles or views on someone else; which would include abortions, same-sex unions and common-law practices. I don't think a person (regardless of religion or lack thereof) should be forced to assist in an abortion if it is something that contradicts their own personal values. Taking another human life cannot be equated with taking a picture. That being said, there exist many others who would gladly assist either for the money, to help out another human being in a personal decision they've made, because it is something that they believe in or a combination of any of those things. It can be argued that all human beings have the right to fair and equal housing, safety, etc.., so it is not as if these people are being forgotten. That wouldn't be fair. I don't think you'd run into a shortage of people (or businesses) who would do any of the things you've mentioned so far. Because of that, I don't think that businesses who are owned by religious people should be looked down upon for refusing to provide services that blatently go against their principles (so long as basic Human Rights are not being violated). For example, one wouldn't ask a church to rent out space for a lap dance, right?


    However, I think that, in many cases, not necessarily accomodating but furthering the dialogue between two strictly opposing views can be a wonderful opportunity to share compassion and forgiveness.


    Ech, I don't know... does that make any sense?
     
  9. Crazy Liz

    Crazy Liz Well-Known Member

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    How's your paper coming along, Lisa?

    If you have time to read a slim (but dense) book as part of your research, may I suggest The Christian Witness to the State? It provides a theological basis for prophetic proclamation to a secular government, and sets reasonable limits for sound theological reasons. I think you might find some of its ideas analogous in the area of religion and business.

    One other thing that would be important to consider WRT the UN Declaration is the difference between an outright prohibition, enforced by such things as censorship, seizure of property, fines or imprisonment, and the giving or withholding of state benefits, such as public funding or tax breaks. When professions are licensed by the state and given special privileges, do those who choose to enter those professions do so with the understanding that they, in turn, owe the state certain responsibilities? That has certainly been a part of traditional professional ethics in the legal and medical fields. OTOH, even trained and licensed professionals have limitations and talents - areas of greater and lesser competency. While it is considered unethical to turn away a patient or client because of their religion, it is also considered unethical to take on a case outside the professional's area of competence. Many professionals limit their practices in such a way that they simply do not get involved in areas of practice that would cause them to face ethical dilemmas of providing services they find objectionable.

    So WRT the two cases currently working their way toward the SCOTUS, if the photographer had not photographed weddings and similar events, or if the doctor had not provided AI services, the issues of their refusal to serve particular clients/patients would never have arisen.

    Personally, when I went into the legal profession, I had high hopes of keeping my hands clean from such messy ethical issues as divorce, but found myself gradually pushed in that direction as a specialty. I found the moral struggles I went through during those years particularly formative. Although I am now retired from law practice, I have found that those ethical struggles have prepared me in profound ways for my new "career" in ministry. I am glad I had to face nitty-gritty day-to-day ethical issues where my values and my clients' values were different. By the time I retired, I had learned, rather than refusing a client, to tell a potential client honestly and personally when I thought my own values and feelings might interfere with my ability to represent them as effectively as someone else. I don't remember having to turn down a case, because the client could see that I was not the right lawyer for them.

    The doctor in the case going up to SCOTUS had an exclusive contract with her patient's insurance carrier. That is an analogous business position to the holder of a state monopoly. The patient could not obtain the services her insurance policy entitled her to receive because the doctor discriminated against her. Ethically, I think she violated her obligation to the insurance company. If she had not gotten into an exclusive contractual relationship with a company prohibited from discriminating, she would have had a better ethical basis for taking her stand. By taking the exclusive contract, though, she compromised her ethics. She took on an obligation to offer the same services to all their insureds. Perhaps at the time she made that contract, she didn't understand what it would entail (Jephthah might be an analogous biblical story), but the die was cast at that point. She gave up her option to simply refuse and make a referral to another doctor, since no other doctor could provide the services under the patient's insurance plan.

    If she'd been smarter, she could have gone to bat for the patient with the insurance carrier and asked them to cover the procedure under another doctor, but that would have jeopardized her lucrative economic position with the insurance company. They might have used this as an occasion to terminate her exclusive contract. Being willing to accept the economic consequences is always a consideration when making ethical choices in business, even in the clear cases, like the choice to cheat or not to cheat. It is no less a consideration in cases where different people in society have different ethical and religious values.
     
  10. Armistead

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    I am not up on many of the actual laws, but overall nurses that do abortion do so in Clinics and they support the work. My Sister-in-Law, who is a head nurse at a large hospitals says they do not operate as an abortion clinic.

    However, there are times where due to life of the mother, ect..abortions are done or happen. During these times, she says no nurse is forced to partake of any actions against their faith.

    I know of no churches that are forced to do anything against their will, nor should they.

    Service to customers...There your customers and you have free will to promote as you please. Most people work for money, they don't care about the religion behind something. Most, even atheist will strive to
    work with anyones beliefs, as long as it is not forced on them.

    I run a small business. I have dealt with lawyers over
    religious issues. Mainly, working on Sundays. Many refuse. On my applications, I have weekend work is often required. Any refusing to work weekends are subject to dismissal....and make them sign it...Obvious, it's a longer lawyer written statement, but that's the gist of it.

    As a Christian, my business is to make a living, not a tool for others to promote any religious belief. Certainly, people are free to read the bible, pray, ect..during breaks, lunch, ect...but nothing is allowed that would
    bother other people. Sadly, I have fired many Christians who would rather
    promote their beliefs on others than work........
     
  11. JCFantasy23

    JCFantasy23 In a Kingdom by the Sea. Staff Member Administrator Supporter CF Senior Ambassador Angels Team

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    Your paper sounds fascinating, please keep us updated.
     
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