Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Perfect Example of How Secular Left and Religious Right Both Get it Wrong

In Pennslyvania the federally-funded program to match workers with employers banned certain employers from posting job openings. The folks they banned are those who have religious preferences in their hiring. For example a parochial school who has an opening for a teacher or a librarian or a janitor may prefer an applicant of their own faith for the position. Too bad for them. There is a federal rule against using the program to help employers who "discriminate" on the basis of religion in their hiring.

The jobs-matching program has become so large that it is the way to get to the best talent pool of employees in the state. The program's administrators are taking a position that the ACLU would concur with. The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal group that fights discrimination against Christians in the law, has come to the defense of the religious institutions. It argues that the best employees for a Presbryterian Church school are going to be Presbryterians, or at least believers, and that the real discrimination in this case is against Christians (and those of other faiths who want to hire their own to run their religious institutions).

I lean to the idea that religion is not an immutable characteristic like race, and so if an employer wants to prefer a Presbryterian over a Wiccan it is their own business and there should be no law against discriminating against them- at least as long as they are hiring for a non-government entity. Nevertheless, both sides seem to be missing the larger point. If this point were addressed there would be nothing for liberals and conservatives to fight about, and that would be a good thing.

The point is that the government has no business being the entity that matches employers with employees in the state of Pennslyvania, or any other state. They are running an employment agency. There are private employment agencies (at least their used to be before the government started muscling in) that can do that job. The free market can do that job, so why are the taxpayers being called on to do it? The answer is likely that big business prefers it that way. They would rather the taxpayers provide them with employees than have to use their own dollars at a private employment agency.

Once the government is doing a job extra rules and regulations come with the deal. Including the goverment's prohibitions about propping up a particular sect. I don't think that is what is happening should they help churches find a Presbryterian janitor, but bureaucrats tend to err on the side of caution.

It is time for secular left and religious right to join together for the purpose of reducing government, starting with goverment programs that are really corporate welfare. Let's face it, some will always be on the lookout for any government effort to "impose religion", while others will always be on the lookout for "government persecution" of believers. If the government gets out of the employment agency business, we won't have to fight about whether the government employment agency is helping to "establish a religion" or "discriminating against Christians".

Let's get goverment out of areas of life where the free market can do a better job so that we will have that much less to fight about.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on!! We must keep the government out of areas it has no business being in.

8:53 AM, December 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Yet another example.

Problem. Too many people out of work.

Solution. Government will help them find a job.

The real estate industry figured out how to solve their problem years and years ago with the MLS. Every member brokerage agency lists their properties and everyone that is a member gets a shot at selling the property. The agent getting the listing gets a cut for finding the seller, the agent making the sale gets a cut for finding the buyer.

The same could be applied to job listings very easily. Seeking businesses contract with an employment agency and they get a cut for finding them and the agency finding the new hire gets a cut.

9:33 AM, December 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Alliance Defense Fund has it partially right. I don't agree that the best employees will be of the same denomiation, but they do need to be Christian if they are going to work for a Christian organization of any type. And no, the government has no right to step in and tell them otherwise. I mean, what happened to the "separation of church and state" that the left loves to preach (that is nowhere in the Constitution)? Seems to me that they're only worried about that "separation" so long as Christians don't have the right to publicly practice their religion.

8:48 PM, December 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Once the government is doing a job extra rules and regulations come with the deal."

That is true but it shouldn't be that way. When our nation was founded it was NOT that way. Therein lies the problem.

For instance, the first Congress funded the printing of the bible so that children in public schools would have access to its teachings and precepts. This was because the founders knew that if the precepts of the bible were not instilled in the youth of the country that there would be no way the nation could build enough jails to house those who were not restrained from within by an internal morality.

Based on the premise of this posting the founders erred in printing the Bible with taxpayer dollars because "once the government is doing a job extra rules and regulations come with the deal."

Again, this was not the case at the beginning and it should not be the case now! The government should respect and encourage the precepts of the bible as it once did (i.e. love your neighbor as you love yourself, do not murder, do not steal, etc). We would not have the levels of depravity we do now if these values were encouraged instead of regulated away.

6:11 AM, December 21, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I do think we should set people in government that encourage respect for the precepts of the Bible. That does not mean that I want to turn the federal government into the leading provider (or even a major provider) of Bibles to the populace. The Bible teachers respect for the rights of others, even our enemies.

The government as major bible supplier causes some problems. So what if Mormons want the book of Mormon published at government expense? What should the ratio between Catholic and Protestant Bibles be? Should the published Bibles be King James (from the Textus Recepticus) or the NIV, which is translated from a slightly different set of documents? Should we publish the Pentatuch in Hebrew?

I believe it was Jefferson who ordered Bibles to be printed with taxpayer dollars- pretty ironic when you consider how his "wall of separation" line has been misinterpeted.

There are situations where federal tax dollars could be spent on Bibles without it violating a plain reading of the 1st amendment. An example would be to provide Army chaplins with a supply to be used in their services. That is not an "establishment" of religion so much as a recognition of the religion that the troops bring with them. It is supporting troops in the faith that is already their choice in circumstances where "the market" can't provide them that choice because of remote location on duty.

But if the Bibles were printed for the Gideons to leave in every hotel room then that would be an error. It would be a preferential establishment of one faith even among Christiandom simply by the selection of the version of the Bible. If Jefferson or any of the Founders did that with federal tax dollars then I would say, yes, they did it in error of both the Constitution and Bible teaching about how to treat your neighbor and win souls.

Now the restriction "Congress shall make no law" does not apply to the states. The Feds have no business buying school textbooks, but if a state wanted to use a version of the Bible as a textbook I don't see that as a violation of an amendment that was meant to be a prohibition on the FEDERAL government, attempts to overstretch the 14th not withstanding.

A caveat is that many states have amendments against such in their state constitutions, and the acceptance of a particular sect of Christiandom would have to be pretty much univerally accepted in the entity buying the Bibles in order to not be taking advantage of one's neighbor.

6:51 AM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>I believe it was Jefferson who ordered Bibles to be printed with taxpayer dollars- pretty ironic when you consider how his "wall of separation" line has been misinterpeted.<<

Even more ironic when you consider that Jefferson made his own bible that omitted all miracles and any reference to Jesus being divine.

However it was not Jefferson who ordered the printing of Bibles, it was the Continental Congress who authorized it at a time when England had embargoed shipments into the US. It wasn't about morality, it was about a desired consumer good not being produced in the free market and the government stepping in to the free market. It was five years before the current US Constitution was drafted and the nation operated as confederation of independent nations. Also at that time several states had an official state religion church (ie. Connectitcuit was Congregationalists and reputed to be oppressive of Baptists).

Is the first amendment today what the framers intended? Mostly not. They almost certainly were more concerned about the government giving one flavor of protestant church a favored position over others but given the social and cultural framework of the day, public prayer wouldn't have caused them to blink.

7:21 AM, December 21, 2006  

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