Thursday, December 15, 2011

Is spike in religious discrimination claims a reflection of our polarized society?

We are not a tolerant society. We like to think that we are, but in reality, not so much. Instead, we are a polarized society. More and more, we live on the fringes with little tolerance for those whose viewpoints differ from our own. For example, consider that Lowe’s pulled their ads from TLC’s new reality show, All American Muslim.

We should not be surprised then, that religious discrimination claims in the workplace are trending upward. From Marcia Pledger, writing in The Columbus Dispatch (hat tip: i-Sight Investigation Software Blog):

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics show that religious discrimination complaints in workplace settings have more than doubled from a little over a decade ago, resulting in roughly $10 million in settlements. Last year, nearly 3,800 were filed.

“Religion has increasingly moved into the private sphere, so when it does pop up in the workplace, we’re less equipped to deal with it in a rational and evenhanded manner,” said John Gordon, chairman of the religion department at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio.

Our Founding Fathers had enough foresight to separate church and state. 220 years later, we should have enough experience to separate church from work.