Should religion really be a protected class? Should political orientation be one?

I can certainly understand that with the seeing-eye dog. Their refusal would also apply to non-service dogs, I assume, and you mentioned people carrying alcohol. Do you also think the Commission would have an easy time with the suit, if the cabbies sued saying the requirement that they take passengers carrying alcohol is a violation of their religious freedom?

Apparently they did - but I haven’t been able to find anything more recent than this which describes the drivers’ appeal of a lower court ruling denying them an injunction and therefore letting the new rules take affect.

I do want to point out that as far as I tell these rules only applied at airport pick-up spot where cabbies and customers wait in lines and the rules often depend on the situation - for example, there might be no problem with dog-refusing drivers if the situation was one in which the customer called a dispatcher who could immediately assign the job to a driver who didn’t mind dogs. That’s very different from someone having 20 parties who arrived after him get a cab before him because the first 20 cabbies preferred to go to the back of the line rather than taking his service dog.

Which is the status quo ante and not recidivism. Maybe you think it didn’t soften its stance enough, but I was referring to developments in pastoral care, specifically the Synods on the Family in 2014 and 2015.

Yes, when splinter religions form they will often be more extreme. You say it is because people ignore qualifiers when it suits them - certainly that is true some of the time, I’m not sure if it’s true all of the time or even most of the time, especially with the rank and file. Especially when a religion makes specific promises, apostacy may be attributed to the failure to deliver on those promises.

I will relate some Shakespeare I read just yesterday. Charles, Dauphin of France places his trust in the holy prophecy of Joan la Pucelle,

Presently we’ll try: come, let’s away about it:
No prophet will I trust, if she prove false. ~Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part I

I’m pretty sure the state is allowed to mandate vaccination with no exception for religion. Religion does not trump public interests, even if religion is a protected characteristic - I think the Supreme Court ruled explicitly on that one in a case involving peyote.


Note that use or even possession of cannabis >0.3% THC (marijuana) for any reason whatsoever is technically illegal in all 50 states.


To me this seems like part and parcel of being a cab driving. You will pick up people with seeing eye dogs, you will pick up people who have been drinking, or on their way to have adulterous sex at a hotel. IMHO, it is a silly complaint to object to these things on religious grounds when any reasonable person knows that is part of the job. This seems like applying for a job as a brothel working in Nevada, and asking for an exemption because your religion teaches that prostitution is immoral.

A similar objection may be made to the cake maker, but as Kennedy said in Obergefell, this is a new thing, people have very serious beliefs against it, and accommodations can be made differently in that instance. I don’t need a cake right this moment, but I very well do a taxi and the logistics of it just wouldn’t work to make a fair wait while a new cabbie was dispatched.

This suggests that we perhaps should protect freedom of religion because it is, in some sense, immutable (or at least less mutable than say, my favorite TV show). People are raised in a faith and usually stick with it, with varying levels of adherence, over their lives. Most of our protected categories are for immutable characteristics. I’m am fully on board for rules that say we should all learn to peacefully coexist with people different than us, including people with different religions.

But, treating religion like an immutable characteristic suggests that we should not bother extending religious protection to people who chose a new faith as an adult.

In some cases, I might be okay with that. If you want a COVID vaccine waiver due to a “religious belief” from some order you joined over the internet two weeks ago, we can safely ignore it. If you choose a church that says you can’t be in the same room with gay people or black people, tough noogies. People can judge you and discriminate against you based on your choices and actions, “religion” notwithstanding. What would this mean for exploited Scientologists?

But denying religious protection for the converted would interfere with the marketplace for religious ideas. It would be hard to establish a Church of Satan in such a world. It might also be hard to reform religious practices around, let’s say, gay marriage if sides are fighting over which side is the one true religion.

A good and sensible policy.

I don’t think it’s necessary that protected classes all neatly fit into the “immutable characteristic” box. And, really, most of them don’t, totally. Sex and race are also somewhat mutable. Religion is for many people innate and immutable, established in early childhood. For some, it isn’t, but it’s still often a foundational identity-defining characteristic.

As tempting as it is to try to find a single feature of protected classes (that they are immutable characteristics) and then argue that it should be the only factor that determines protected status, we should not do so. I find it hard to imagine that protecting only those people who keep the religion they grew up with from religious discrimination would make our society better.

I think a much more important question with regards to protected classes than whether membership in the class is innate or immutable is “Is there current or historical broad discrimination based on membership in the class”. There is for race, sex, and religion, regardless of how membership in that class is attained. There really isn’t for political orientation.

I would reiterate that looking as religious beliefs as immutable is a mistake. But it’s a mistake I see here fairly frequently due to bias.

The most popular religions have endured because of their ability to persuade and convert, and, once converted, to retain. There is an appeal in this to people. Everyone here needs to understand that. But people here don’t, and think that pansecularism is going to win the day. It isn’t, there are competing drives to separate into subgroups. Sorry for the semi-hijack.

I’ll note the idea of protected classes and protecting them due to their immutability is relatively recent in the grand scheme of things. But “freedom of conscience” to worship as you see fit, goes back several hundred years and is seen as a core enlightenment value, this grew out of the fact an awful lot of governments used to persecute and even kill people for “worshipping the wrong way.”

We enshrined in the First Amendment that we generally are against that as a founding principle in this country. Now, that had nothing to do with private business associations, but society and the scope of government oversight has changed over the centuries, and by the mid-20th century it was seen as pretty reasonable to limit private business in its ability to discriminate, and religious practice was seen as desirable to include in that.

To be honest I actually wouldn’t mind the same regulations around protected classes being extended to “political beliefs.” But it would need to be understood more narrowly. I would say there should be a law against an employer trying to pressure someone into voting a specific way, or threatening punishment or “bad outcomes” if you don’t vote a certain way (even though we have an anonymous ballot, this still imo is negative behavior we should not permit.) I would also say in states that have public voter registration by party, you shouldn’t be able to make hiring/firing decisions based on voter registration, nor on public voter donation records.

However where it gets cloudy is “political speech”, political speech of a certain type can be disruptive at the work force, and can also be bad for the public reputation of the company, so I don’t think it should be protected in the same way. I think religion is already handled similarly to this. If I’m Muslim, my employer cannot discriminate against me because of that, but there’s limits to the accommodation he is required to provide. For example, I can’t just set my prayer rug up facing Mecca in the middle of the entrance lobby of the office and start doing one of my 5 daily prayers at the appointed time. That’s obviously not reasonable. If I’m a conservative Muslim with strongly held beliefs on traditional gender views, I can’t tell women in the office they should “cover up” or “defer to men in their personal dealings.” If I went on the local news and started advocating for extremist Muslim ideology that many people might find offensive, I would not expect my employer to tolerate that. So even though I’d actually be inclined to see some protections around political belief tied into our current civil rights law, it would need to have rails and limits to it just like religion does.

I generally am against on principle hiring or firing someone based on how they vote or what party the belong to, but if they choose to express themselves politically in a disruptive or offensive way I think as an employer I should have a right to take actions to sever my relationship with them.