Friday, October 17, 2008
Yesterday morning, I spotted a story on complaints and legal actions taken by various Moslems for the sake of ending "discrimination" by employers who do not accommodate their frequent (and constantly changing) schedule of five daily prayers.
Requests by Muslims to pray at work have led to clashes with employers who say they cannot accommodate the strictly scheduled prayers.Except for a badly-titled comparison of the number of such complaints by religious group, the article is even-handed in tone. It presents what an average person would see as both sides of the issue, that of the offended Moslems and that of the businessmen. The second excerpted paragraph is a good example. Few would read the article and complain of media bias, or at least that the reporting was compromised by any kind of political agenda.
The conflicts raise questions about religious rights on the job. Muslims say they are being discriminated against and are taking their complaints to the courts and the federal government. Employers say the time out for prayer can burden other workers and disrupt operations. [bold added]
Unfortunately, in spite of what appears to be an honest effort to tell the story, this article completely fails to cover the story correctly because it accepts an old, widespread, and gravely mistaken premise in modern American politcs: Namely that the violation of property rights is justifiable for the purpose of ending racial, ethic, or religious bigotry on the part of some individuals.
This is nothing new. I have written about this problem at length before, and will not belabor it again now, although my main point bears repeating:
I abhor racism, but I must respectfully disagree. Forbidding behavior that is immoral, but does not violate the rights of someone else, is far from being "a good idea". The purpose of government is to protect the rights of individuals from being violated by the initiation of force (or the threat thereof) from other individuals. Nothing more. Nothing less.To apply this to the topic at hand, whether an employer allows religious considerations to affect his personnel decisions is of no concern to a proper government. His business is his property, and if he wants to not employ someone just because he is Moslem (or just because he isn't), that's his right -- and his problem, if that employee is best for the job.
And no one is entitled to employment under a proper government. One striking thing about the kinds of cases in this story is that one can easily imagine how having an employee who drops everything to pray at multiple times a day (that vary over the year) can render that employee (and others) less productive. News bulletin: Employers hire people to do things. Praying is usually not one of them.
But there's something else here that I find interesting. The law under which these incidents are being brought to court will have the paradoxical effect of making it even harder to decide to hire Moslem employees! Consider the combative attitude of entitlement expresseed by one attorney:
"They shouldn't be forced to choose between their job and their religion," says Rima Kapitan, an attorney who represents Muslim workers in Grand Island.Pardon me, but nobody "forced" anyone to make such a choice here. A Moslem who can't pray at Company A is perfectly free to seek employment at Company B. What is really happening here is that some Moslems are working to force employers, through nonobjecive law, to make hiring decisions that conflict with their very livelihoods!
Moslems already make the largest number of complaints about religious discrimination in the workplace. The increased likelihood that employers of Moslems will be sued or have to make who knows what accommodations any time a follower of that religion claims to be "offended" (which the cartoon riots show can be over almost anything), will make any employer with a grain of sense not want to touch a Moslem, no matter how qualified, with a ten foot pole.
If Moslems were truly concerned about their employability, they would support the full government protection of property rights. But some clearly do not, and place other considerations above the requirements for their life on earth (which include the protection of individual rights), as a famous series of atrocities in September 2001 eloquently illustrated.
If a Moslem wants to damage or end his life by appeasing Allah, that is his right -- and his problem. We should repeal all laws that violate individual rights -- such as federal anti-discrimination law -- that are harmful enough to begin with, and that can be commandeered through legal jihad to force us to obey Allah's alleged commands.