31 January 2012

Religious charities as employers

I see there is some brouhaha about whether religious organizations which provide services to people of other faiths will be required to pay for their employees' birth control.

Both Stephen Bainbridge and Megan McArdle have good commentary on this, with which I agree. Please read their posts. To avoid repeating what they have already written, I will say only this:

A religious employer has a certain relationship with its employees. It also has a certain relationship with the people it provides services to. Kevin Drum, et al. are telling me that the church has to alter its relationship with its employees based on the nature of its relationship to the service recipients. That strikes me as exceedingly odd.

Imagine a law which requires schools to offer teachers lengthy maternity leave. It would make very little sense to me to exempt schools whose student body was all boys. Making decisions based on the composition of the faculty is one thing, but the characteristics of the students seem entirely irrelevant.

Similarly why would the faith of the people using a soup kitchen or homeless shelter or clinic affect the relationship between the charity sponsoring these services and the people they pay to operate them?

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