Sunday, February 25, 2007

Is Religious Discrimination Ethical?

You bet.

Very often, people talk will say that it is improper to discriminate against anyone on account of their race, ethnicity, or religion. Setting the first two aside, what exactly is wrong with discrimination based on religion? In fact, isn't religious discrimination precisely what religious people practice on non-believers?

In practice, most religions demand discrimination favoring their religion, and therefore demand discrimination against other religions. Therefore, banning religious discrimination would require banning religion itself.

But more to the point, religion is a set of beliefs and behavioral systems based on those beliefs. Should we be prohibited from treating people according to what they believe? If my religion requires me to get drunk on the job, does that mean that employers have no right to discriminate against me? And if my religion commands me to kill people who do not share my religion, is it discrimination to scrutinize me when I enter airports?

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