The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just released its new guidelines on religious discrimination in the work place. It is long. There is a LOT of material there. Though I've scanned it, I have not completed it yet. So far, it seems fairly straightforward & simply repeats what we've come to understand as reasonable accommodations under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Here's the link. Bookmark it for future reference.
As I glanced over it, I was struck by the complexity needed to explain the guidelines. It is amazing how detailed the examples have to be & the letter of law dictates in order to protect religious liberty.
It should be all so simple: Treat others the way you would want to be treated & just be fair. Really. That's the jest of the whole thing.
It took all those words & countless man hours to compile something that should be so simple.
But application of even simple laws in a Fallen World is not so simple.
What makes me appreciate the complexity of the EEOC guidelines is the knowledge that once it was my spiritual ancestors who were on the receiving end of the discrimination. Baptists were THE original Rebel Rousers on the whole separation of church & state thing. The very idea that the state has no place in the spiritual matters of one's conscience was one of the defining doctrines of Baptistic thought. We've held that doctrine for 400 years.
However, I do feel the doctrine is falling on deaf years; not because it is we don't hear it, but because we no longer understand it since we no longer lived it. Discrimination always seems to be what is done to you & never what you do towards another.
Protecting all Americans from religious discrimination is a noble task. Here's hoping the new guidelines will keep religious in the work place for a long, long time.