So my understanding is that in the US and Canada, there are a number of groups that are defined that explicitly protected by law against certain forms of discrimination - eg. employer discrimination against people based on their membership of that class, or discrimination by the government based on these memberships. Most of these groups make sense to me - race, colour, nation of origin, sex and/or gender, age, disability, genetics - these are all things that people have no control over whether they are members of that group. However, religion stands out as a protected class that is different from the others - people choose what religion they belong to, what beliefs they have, and how they express those beliefs.
I can understand that, historically, there was a vast amount of discrimination based on religion (and there still is, in many parts of the world). But to me, religion and political orientation are extremely similar - in both cases, what religion you belong to or what political orientation you align with are likely heavily influenced by the environment in which you are raised, but individuals can ultimately choose whether to embrace, reject, or modify the beliefs that they are taught (though, given that there is some evidence that there are differences in brain structure between liberals and conservatives, I wonder just how much choice people actually have in what political orientation they are). Thus, it seems like if one category should be a protected class, so should the other.
Likely, from a pragmatic standpoint, discrimination based on religion needed to be protected against and discrimination based on political orientation historically was limited enough that society deemed it acceptable (or maybe even desirable?). But as political polarization continues to rise, the amount of discrimination that will occur based on orientation might also be expected to rise - in this thread about whether it was ethical to screen job applications based on whether they were Trump supporters or not, I seem to recall a great number of people justifying discrimination of hiring based on that factor (though many others argued otherwise). In my opinion, this is not a good thing.
A quick search suggests that several jurisdictions HAVE added political orientation as a protected class in some contexts (eg. for employment law in California, and more broadly in the city of Seattle and the state of New Mexico). So, certainly, there is some support for protecting people from discrimination based on their political orientation - but what say you, Dopers?
If you don’t think political orientation should be a protected class, how do you feel about religion being a protected class?