Religion and job application

So, I’m currently looking for teaching jobs, and a local Catholic school has an opening that would be a good fit for me. As it happens, I am myself Catholic. Now, I expect that a Catholic school might have a preference for hiring Catholics, but I also expect that they’re probably not allowed to ask about religion directly. But would it be a good idea for me to let them know without asking? I’m thinking that I might, for instance, list my pastor as one of my references.

Is this a good idea, or is this the sort of thing where they’d officially rather not know for the sake of covering themselves?

Faith-based organizations are exempt from the laws covering discrimination in hiring.

So, yes, go ahead and out yourself!

Huh, OK, I thought that applied only to specifically religious tasks within such an organization (a theology teacher, say). But that website says otherwise, and it’s a .gov, so I guess that’s that.

It may not be a huge advantage. I know a lot of people who work for Catholic organizations, and not one of them is Catholic. I would imagine they will ask you why you are interested in working at a faith based organization, and that will be your opportunity.

Not at all. One of my current co-workers had to quit her job managing the immigration project at a local Christian nonprofit serving refugees because she refused to sign their newly implemented statement required of all employees. It basically said that she believed in God and Jesus. Which she found offensive, even though she is herself Christian, because they were forcing all the non-Christian employees to sign too. And needless to say, given that the agency served refugees and asylum applicants from all over the globe, some of whom claimed asylum based on religious persecution, she thought some of them might be uncomfortable knowing that everyone who served them was either a practicing Christian or willing to lie about it.

Much to her chagrin, she discovered that this policy was perfectly legal.

My partner was reviewing a resume for someone applying at a Christian School. As most of the board etc are born agains it needed to reflect that she shared the same values.

I would highly recommend putting you local parish priest as a reference.

I was also disappointed in this policy recently, actually, which is why I had the cite nearby: there were some neat jobs in my field, environmental education, being posted by a new organization. But the position descriptions for every job there, from naturalist to ropes course inspector, required that applicants be “a mature follower of Jesus,” etc. The naturalist position even specified that the incumbent would reflect with students on “how the Gospels are reflected in Nature.” Fft. No thanks.

araminty: what religion? I can’t imagine that many Catholic institutions put religious requirement in their materials, but certain Protestant schools, especially non-mainline, might. And the Church doesn’t usually say “Gospel” as much or creation it up. Unless it’s teaching theology, I doubt it’s 100% relevant.

Err, I wouldn’t use the term “pastor” though. I don’t think I’ve heard it much in a Catholic context, as it’s mostly Protestant, although technically it is correct.

Let us know how it goes, I need good job search news to aspire to.

It’s not only technically correct; in the context of a parish’s organizational chart, if you will, it’s the official title of the head priest; subordinate priests have the title of “assistant pastor.”

I recently helped a workmate’s wife apply for a job at a Catholic high school. Although I am a devout atheist I was able to find out enough about the Lasallian teaching principles, that I was able to imbue her application with plenty of heartfelt commitment to the ideals without being stupid. She got the job.

If you genuinely have a commitment to something like this, just say so. You need say nothing more than, “I am committed to the principles of <something catholic>.”

To be honest, I’d be perturbed at a policy of requiring a declaration of faith, too. But if it’s just a matter of preferential hiring, that’s a different matter, and with this economy (and my own personal economy), I can’t really afford to pass up any edge I have.

Huh? That .gov web site is from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It has legal authority over all employment in America. In this case, the web page illustrates the religious exemption as allowed by law.

show up for the interview saying the rosary.

Yeah, that’s what I said. It’s a .gov page, and so is presumably correct on this matter. This surprised me, as I had thought the law was different, but since the government website on the matter can be taken as authoritative, I stand happily corrected.