Steven D. Jamar
sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Tue Aug 11 19:24:19 PDT 1998
The belief/status distinction is difficult to maintain in any number of
situations. There is always the "I believe that everyone but adherents to
my faith cannot do this kind of work" sort of belief. And beliefs about
status - like in Mark's hypothetical - are another sort of line smudging.
Nonetheless, there are actual cases where a person is discrimated against
solely because of that person's status - discrimination against - exclusion
from. And these, to me, are generally fairly easy. "I will not hire
Christians." "I will not hire Jews." " I will not hire Muslims." etc.
But where the reason for not hiring is because of a religious belief of the
employee being antagonistic to the religious belief of the employer - that
So I would not want to have a clear, sharp rule here. But push come to
shove, I would favor the employee being accommodated.
Other than belief and status are actions - a whole 'nother kettle of fish.
And I think it is here that most of the bad decisions come - including some
of the ones Rick Duncan mentioned.
>I am wondering whether the belief/status distinction is biased
>towards Christianity or at least favors some religions over others..
>Consider the following. For religious reasons, person X believes
>that he or she can only rent an apartment to a fellow Jew. Person Y
>asks to rent the apartment. Person Y attends temple regularly,
>observes Shabbat, etc.. Alas, Person Y does not have a Jewish mother
>and, evidence reveals, did not have a proper conversion ritual .
>Person Z asks to rent the apartment. Person Z has a Jewish mother,
>but no other indicia of Judaism. I take it that an orthodox Jew
>would/might nevertheless prefer Z to Y.
>Mark A. Graber
>mgraber at bss2.umd.edu
Steven D. Jamar
Professor of Law
Director LRW Program
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
vox: 202-806-8017 fax: 202-806-8428
email: sjamar at law.howard.edu
"Metaphysics is not reality. Metaphysics is names about reality.
Metaphysics is a restaurant where they give you a thirty-thousand page menu
and no food."
Robert M. Pirsig, Lila, p. 63 (1991).
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