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"Do You Have Any Openly Religious Attorneys?,"

asks a Stanford Law school "Addendum to NALP Workplace Environment Questionnaire." On the one hand, it's good that they are treating "diversity" as more than a code word for race. On the other hand, how would someone who is sincerely trying to answer this figure it out? Is a lawyer "openly religious" only if he wears religious garb or jewelry? Only if he publicly talks to people about his religious? And even if there are openly religious attorneys, what does that tell us about the firm's openness to lawyers of other religions?

One more, "For social events to which spouses, domestic partners, or guests are invited, are invitations clearly extended to the partners or guests of gay and lesbian attorneys?" I appreciate that gay and lesbian lawyers might in some firms feel uncomfortable bringing their same-sex spouses, partners, boyfriends, or girlfriends, and that this might cast something of a pall on the work environment for them. But are law firms really expected to formally write on all their invitations, "partners and guests of gay and lesbian attorneys welcome"? My guess is that the firms at which gays and lesbians are most accepted are precisely the ones who don't feel the need to mention sexual orientation on their invitations, and simply tell everyone that they should feel free to bring a guest.

I sympathize with people's concerns about whether a firm culture is open to people of various religions, to gays, and to other minority groups. And I also understand that when one is trying to gather and disseminate data on a large scale, the result will often look oddly bureaucratized. But some of these attempts to gather the data -- and, implicitly, to convey to employers how they are supposed to behave -- seem to me likely to be so imprecise as to be useless, and sometimes even counterproductive.

A Northwestern Law Student (mail):
I don't think an invitation would have to use the words "gay and lesbian"; it would most likely say something like "Spouses/partners are welcome."
7.18.2007 8:58pm
A Northwestern Law Student:
On rereading, I guess it isn't as clear as I had thought. The question asks, ""For social events to which spouses, domestic partners, or guests are invited, are invitations clearly extended to the partners or guests of gay and lesbian attorneys?"

I would have supposed that an invitation line reading, "Your spouse, domestic partner, or guest is also invited" would be a perfectly clear signal that gay partners or guests are included. Is there anyone who would read such an invitation differently? Besides which, if "guests" are invited, that would seem to include a companion -- romantic or not -- of whatever gender. The better question for Stanford to ask would have been, "For social events to which spouses are invited, are invitations clearly extended to the partners of gay and lesbian attorneys?"
7.18.2007 9:05pm
DiverDan (mail):
I guess I'm a little unclear on where the line is drawn for "openly religious attorneys" -- I used to work with a partner at a large firm who wore a spot of ash on his forehead on Ash Wednesday and took Good Friday off. If you joined him for lunch on a Friday, it had to be at a restaurant with fish on the menu, as he refused to eat meat on Fridays (he apparently never got the memo from the Pope when the Catholic Church ended this practice), though he would never object if anyone else at the table ordered meat. Does that count? What about a jewish attorney that leaves work before sunset on Friday and refuses to come to the office on Saturday before sunset, and will not go out for meals except to restaurants that are certified as kosher? Or is the term "openly religious" reserved for those who want to proselytize at the office, and won't take no for an answer when they keep leaving copies of Watchtower on your desk (even after you make it clear to them that its going directly in the round file)? Does one have to obnoxious and pushy to be considered "openly religious"?
7.18.2007 9:25pm
jaed (mail):
Are you sure that "openly religious" is considered a positive, in context? Or is open religiosity considered a negative for the workplace environment, perhaps a proxy for "intolerance"?

I confess that my first impression of this question was that having attorneys who were "openly religious" would be considered a negative, although maybe I'm paranoid. (Well, I *am* paranoid, but...)
7.18.2007 10:07pm
TechieLaw (mail) (www):

Quick anecdote: I was once invited to a "diversity reception" at a firm. In their zeal to celebrate diversity, they somehow forgot to order food for those with religious dietary restrictions. (Just to be fair, the firm usually didn't make this mistake, but I thought it was amusing that they specifically forgot to do so at a celebration of diversity.)

I think this does bring another issue up, though: To what extent should a lawyer be openly religious (or even "diverse" where physical appearance is not dispositive) in the representation of a client? I have come to think that in the representation of a client, the lawyer should represent the *client*'s interest, and not the lawyer's personal agenda, whether that agenda is religious, ethnic, or otherwise.

I'm certainly not suggesting that a religious lawyer shouldn't demand the right to be absent from court on his holidays -- and any opposing counsel or judge who refuses a reasonable request like that should be sanctioned -- or that an Asian lawyer should try to hide their appearance, but rather that these things should be tangential to work as an advocate for a client. In other words, perhaps lawyers should be as unobtrusive as possible about their personal politics, religious beliefs, and ethnic identity when in the employ of a client.
7.18.2007 10:09pm
ReaderY:
Very often the purpose of questionaires is not to obtain information, but to communicate someone's idea of how people are supposed to be have. The "right" answer is often abundantly clear
7.18.2007 10:36pm
Truth Seeker:
I'm still not clear on how in a legal working environment lawyers can be openly gay enough so that clients know they are dealing with a sexually diverse law firm.

Surely the gay men are not expected to lisp, have limp wrists and sashay around. And the lesbian attorneys aren't required to have a dyke look. And hitting on clients of the same sex wouldn't work. So how do clients know they are getting sexually diverse attorneys working on their cases? (I read that clients these days are demaning diversity of attorneys from their law firms.)

And then, assuming that not all gays are stereotypes, how do straight-appearing gay attorneys let it be known that they are gay? Do they ask if there are gay openings?
7.18.2007 10:41pm
LongSufferingRaidersFan (mail):
Techie Law--you really think that an attorney should be able to "demand" to be absent from court due to a supposed religious holiday, and that any judge or opposing counsel who did not want to accommodate that "demand" should be sanctioned? Personally, I'd tell them to go to hell (sorry couldn't resist that last part). Seriously, though, while I think it is perfectly alright to request accommodation on such grounds, I think that "demanding" courts, clients, and counsel rearrange their perhaps very busy schedules to meet your particular religious needs--under threat of sanctions no less--is going a bit far.
7.18.2007 10:43pm
John Monad:

(he apparently never got the memo from the Pope when the Catholic Church ended this practice)


Perhaps because no such "memo" issued. The Code of Canon Law still calls for abstinence from meat on Fridays, but gives local bishop conferences the discretion to establish deviations from the practice. In the United States, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops still strongly recommends that Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays but recognizes that individual Catholics may substitute an appropriate act of penance for abstinence from meat.
7.18.2007 10:51pm
SenatorX (mail):
"Do you have any openly atheistic attorneys?"

What a crock.
7.18.2007 10:51pm
Houston Lawyer:
Rumor had it at my last firm that one of our most "out" gay partners refused to hire a summer clerk for a permanent hire because he was too gay. I've been practicing for 22 years in a number of firms and never has someone's religion or lack thereof been an issue. We don't get Good Friday as a firm holiday, but you won't find me at the office on that day.
7.18.2007 10:54pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Reminds me of a tale, no, two:

There was a civil trial here, handled by my then-partner, where the other atty asked if they could end early on Friday because he was due to go on this romantic weekend trip with his wife and "to tell you the truth, your honor, I'm awfully horny." There was no objection (gotta be professional to your opponent!). The judge announced to the jury that they were breaking early because "one of the counsel has developed a medical condition which requires urgent treatment."

When I worked at Interior, they announced a policy whereby a person could use overtime (comp time), which was generally not usable, to take time off for a religious holiday not otherwise covered. One attorney, an avid fisherman, submitted a request to take time off to worship Salmonensis, The Great Trout, who could only be appeased by ritual consumption of a trout taken on opening day. He cited caselaw to the effect that an agency cannot assess the sincerity of a person's religious beliefs, etc.
He never did get the comp. time, altho he kept demanding a response to his request.
7.18.2007 11:16pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I agree with readerY. The questionnaire could, is probably meant to, be taken as a warning.

Is there any indication that the question has to do with representation issues, or is it strictly regarding internal culture?
7.18.2007 11:21pm
Yankev (mail):
I was once invited to a "diversity reception" at a firm. In their zeal to celebrate diversity, they somehow forgot to order food for those with religious dietary restrictions. (Just to be fair, the firm usually didn't make this mistake, but I thought it was amusing that they specifically forgot to do so at a celebration of diversity.)

Techi, I used to be very active in the ABA Real Property section. About 5 years ago, they moved all of their major meetings onto Shabbos. (Their events at the annual meeting moved from Sun-Tue to Saturday with a very few on Sunday; their Spring Section Meeting moved from Thu-Fri to Sat-Sun.) That ended my participation.

The crowning touch -- the section's Diversity Luncheon at the annual meeting -- which I had attended regularly when it was on Sunday or Monday -- was moved to Shabbos. I was told in effect that Jews were not a minority group deserving of accommodation, and that personal idiosyncracies were no reason to disrupt the Section's orderly calendar.
7.18.2007 11:49pm
Justin (mail):
Is this really worse from the alternative?
7.18.2007 11:57pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The Code of Canon Law still calls for abstinence from meat on Fridays, but gives local bishop conferences the discretion to establish deviations from the practice.

Apart from the belief that the Almighty is an educated man, to be addressed in a classical language (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, take your pick... I mean the traditional view, now they treat Him as some peasant who is comfortable with the vernacular), I've thought it proper that Roman Catholicism recognizes that mortification of the flesh should be reasonable. I'll take the crabcakes and lobster thermidor, with a double rum and coke. (grin).
7.19.2007 12:03am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
My father, an educated man born in 1920, discovered that the Spanish were excused from such fleshly mortification because of their bravery during the Reconquista.
Considering his three Purple Hearts, Silver Star, and sundry other attaboys in a later war against seriously bad guys, along with those of his colleagues, some of whom survived, he decided the bravery in defense of civilization applied to him, too. So we'll have steak this Friday.
He accumulated several lifetimes' worth of fleshly mortification in '44 and '45. He's living on the interest today.
7.19.2007 12:09am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The Spanish Army was considered the top European force for around two centuries afer the Reconquista. up until the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659), when France took the dominant role. Tough Spanish rural types made pretty good fighters.

(My area of AZ was settled in the late 17th century by such folk, at a time when England held but a toehold on the Atlantic coast).
7.19.2007 1:47am
gaysummer2L (mail):
I think what they mean is, does it say something like "partner" in addition to spouse. I think most people are more comfortable with the fact that I'm gay than the fact that I'm a) a libertarian and b) a Christian.
7.19.2007 2:56am
Eugene Volokh (www):
gaysummer2L: You might be right as to what the survey is getting at; but my sense is that many firms don't limit their invitations to spouses (or even people to whom their lawyers are engaged), but rather include girlfriends and boyfriends. This usually plays out as invitations that include "and guest" or some such, with little perceived need to elaborate on the guest's sex (though with the usually unspoken understanding that there ought to be some romantic relationship).
7.19.2007 3:03am
scote (mail):

SenatorX (mail):
"Do you have any openly atheistic attorneys?"

What a crock.

You haven't actually said anything. What is your **position** about openly atheistic attorneys?
7.19.2007 5:21am
no christians need apply (mail):
Want to be 'in the closet' as a religious attorney? Try being an observant Christian at one of the major Jewish firms in New York - and be expected to cover for the religious Jews from 3:30 Friday 'til sundown Saturday, but don't even think about taking off Good Friday or Christmas eve. It was a one way street.
7.19.2007 10:09am
Happyshooter:
Openly Religious Attorneys

That is meant as a slam, not as diversity.

Come on, you know the people staffing these schools and you know how and what they think.

In top 20 law school there is only one religion that is at all acceptable, and that is only displayed during yom kippur and in case of any scheduled formal Friday night social events.
7.19.2007 10:10am
DiverDan (mail):
Sorry about the "memo from the Pope" crack - I'm not a Catholic, and grew up hating the fact that school cafeterias where I was forced to eat lunch always served fish sticks on Fridays (and, being public school cafeterias, cheap &tasteless fish sticks at that). When that practice ended (sometime during my high school years), I was told by my Catholic friends that the "no eating meat on Fridays" was no longer required; having always been told that the Pope had the final say on Catholic dogma, I just assumed that he had eaten too many bad fish sticks at the Vatican cafeteria &finally ended my Friday lunchtime torment.
7.19.2007 10:11am
DWPittelli (mail) (www):
About 15 years ago I was asked to send out the invitations to a small (40 people) company's Hannukah/Christmas party. At the bottom I wrote "spouses and functional equivalents welcome." That got a few laughs for its crassness.

(There were a lot more people living with the opposite sex than with the same sex; I wasn't making some comment about homosexuality.)
7.19.2007 10:17am
Randy R. (mail):
"I'm still not clear on how in a legal working environment lawyers can be openly gay enough so that clients know they are dealing with a sexually diverse law firm. "

If the issue is communicating with clients that you have a diverse law firm, the answer is quite simple: In your website, you state that your firm supports diversity in all its forms. If that isn't enough, you can boast of your contributions to NAACP, GAYLAW, and so on, to get your point across. You can also advertise in the local gay or Hispanic or African-American newspaper, which sends a strong message that you support that community by placing ads in in their main organs of communication, that you activily seek out as clients people from those communties, and that you very likely have people just like that in your firm, or are at least very comfortable around such diverse people.

It's also good for business, in case you didn't realize it.

"Is there any indication that the question has to do with representation issues, or is it strictly regarding internal culture?"

Don't know. However, I think a firm that has a few spanish speaking attorneys probably can represent Hispanic clients better than those who don't, if the Hispanic clients can only speak spanish. Some women I know preferred a female attorney in their divorce proceedings. I myself would be happy knowing that if my attorney knows I'm gay, he won't have any problems dealing with me as a client.

Every firm has a unique culture, and some are strickly 'white shoe' and waspy. No doubt there are clients that are more comfortable with that. So I don't think any firm should be *required* to be diverse, but in general I think it a wise policy, as you want to appeal to the broadest pool of clients possible.
7.19.2007 10:22am
wm13:
no christians need apply: that certainly hasn't been my experience in my lifetime at big law firms, and I don't really believe you. Most (in fact all) of the Jews that I worked with at four firms in 20 years have been very concerned that I not work on Christian holidays. Really too concerned, due to a misunderstanding of Christian practice, which does not prohibit work on holidays. I mean, if you want to mortify the flesh, I would think proofreading indentures on Good Friday certainly qualifies.

This does remind me, though, that Weil Gotshal has (or at least had) a policy allowing employees exactly three religious holidays during the year. What's funny about this is that the policy is absolutely neutral on its face (you can take off for Diwali, if you want), but fits perfectly with the needs of Conservative Jews (or Reform Jews at the observant end of the spectrum). There are no accidents, as some say.
7.19.2007 10:24am
Whadonna More:
Apologies to the overly-sensitive evangelicals, but "openly religious" is talking about folks wearing religous articles like headcoverings, and taking non-federal holidays off. Prosthelytising is almost certainly prohibited by policy almost everywhere, but anyone with a real job knows that. As for the poor christians at "Jewish" NYC firms, great work on the reasearch before you accepted the enormous salary.
7.19.2007 10:29am
David Drake:
I have practiced law in many firms in Atlanta--one of which was predominantly Jewish, and at every one every person knew every other person's religion, denonomination, and which church or synagogue, and respected it. The only time this was an issue was when I worked at a Jewish firm and opposing counsel in a case I had--an evangelical Christian--took me to lunch one day and, after asking the usual questions about where I went to church (I think he already suspected I was a Christian,) told me that I was "unequally yoked" and that I shouldn't practice with Jews.

The openness about religion is probably due in part to the extraordinary role that religion plays in the south, where one of the first questions asked here of someone you meet is "Where do you go to church?"

As to the other question, I second the consensus that an invitation that permits one to bring "spouses and guests" would cover any person that an employee would choose to bring (within reason, of course). The initial question, which posits an invitation addressed, inter alia, to "domestic partners," appears to me on its face to invite, well, domestic partners.
7.19.2007 10:37am
GD (mail):
"As for the poor christians at "Jewish" NYC firms, great work on the reasearch before you accepted the enormous salary."

How is such research to be conducted? Religion of firm partners/associates is noticably missing from the data NALP collects.
7.19.2007 11:15am
Don Miller (mail) (www):
IANAL, but I deal with lawyers on a regular basis. Because of the nature of my area, and background, I am most familiar with LDS Attorneys.

The law firm I use the most is a father/son firm. The father is a former LDS Bishop, and his son is serving as a counselor to a Bishop currently. I fully expect him to become a Bishop someday as well.

I have two cousins that are practicing attorneys.

And as a final example, one of my friends from high school is a US Attorney. He has prosecuted high profile cases in the US and served in Columbia and Honduras helping those countries set up drug courts. While serving an LDS mission in the early 70's, he was the subject of an ABC News documentary on the LDS Church.

All five of these men have had similar responses when I asked them about working as an attorney and being LDS. Don't talk about religion in the office. If asked, be proud of who you are. Clients want legal advice, not life choice counseling.

I think their advice would be appropriate for an attorney of any religion.
7.19.2007 11:46am
Clueful worker:
I think you are all making this much more complicated than it needs to me.

I have in my life had many, many classmates, coworkers and friends who gave off every indicia of being heterosexual. That is, I heard about their non-same-sex dates, or their non-same-sex desires. I suppose some of them may actually have been gay and trying to pass, but by the numbers it was pretty clear that I had (a) heterosexual people around me, and (b) they were not trying to hide it. Part (b) is commonly referred to as being "open."

Similarly, I've had many classmates, coworkers and friends who made no attempt to hide that they were gay. These things come up rather frequently in day-to-day discussions. You meet partners, or dates. You hear people say things, openly and without fear, that suggests sexual orientation. They don't need to sashay or bend wrists, or whatever. They're openly gay. If you don't get it, I'm a bit surprised.

And the same goes for religion. I certainly have coworkers who may or may not be religious, and they don't make it clear. But I have other coworkers who I know are religious, whether it's because they talk about it, they do things that clearly coincide with religious doctrine in ways that are unlikely absent a religious following (e.g. ash on the forehead on ash wednesday), or whatever.

Is it really so hard to understand the question being asked?
7.19.2007 11:50am
Mike in Cinci (mail):
Had a lawyer who was overtly a pro-wrestling fan. His 100+ photos with him and the wrestlers on his office wall were my first clue.
7.19.2007 12:20pm
Daniel950:
Try being an observant Christian at one of the major Jewish firms in New York - and be expected to cover for the religious Jews from 3:30 Friday 'til sundown Saturday, but don't even think about taking off Good Friday or Christmas eve. It was a one way street.


This is not entirely true (but I don't know which "major Jewish firms" you're referring to). I work at a NYC firm that that has a former presidential candidate in its name. Our partners try to reasonably accomodate everyone's Christmas vacation, but it can be difficult since so many people take off then. I've left early on Good Friday, and they even let the staff leave early on Good Friday. But, still I was very scared that if they saw me with ashes on Ash Wednesday, I'd be marked as "trouble," so I went to get ashes late in the day at St. Patrick's Cathedral, instead of showing up in the morning with them.

The real trouble comes in when they learn HOW MUCH of a Christian you are. If they learn you're pro-life, forget it. If they learn you're against gay marriage, forget it. If they learn you go to Mass every Sunday, forget it. If they learn you actually believe the doctrine, and aren't merely going through the motions, forget it.

I've had good working relations with everyone here. And none of them know I'm a pro-life, conservative Catholic (but I repeat myself).
7.19.2007 12:20pm
Constitutional Crisis (mail):
They're just ridiculous questions because no employer will answer those questions "No."

Perhaps Stanford Career Services should also ask whether the firm respects their junior attorneys.
7.19.2007 12:48pm
MartinEd (mail):
I'm surprised that no one has characterized the "openly religious attorneys" question as anti-semitic. What kind of lawyers are you?
There must be a whole cluster of law firms where there is very little discussion of religion and the only indication of "openly religious" are the purely objective indicators. They would be things like ashes on Ash Wednesday and, primarily, yarmulkes. How many attorneys, especially in large firms of bullpens, would say, "I don't know but there are a couple of guys with those Jewish hats, so the answer must be , 'yes.'"
7.19.2007 1:25pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Clueful worker: Different religious denominations differ in how visible their practices are. Orthodox Jewish men tend to be pretty "open" in their religiosity -- by their yarmulkes you will know them. But members of other religious groups don't wear religious garb or religious insignia, and rarely talk about their religion (for a variety of reasons that may have little to do with their being fearful of religious discrimination). Even when they do talk about their religion, they may talk about it only to people with whom they work closely, and not to Human Relations or for that matter to the managing partners (unless they work closely with them).

So that's the problem -- do we say that a member of one of these religions can't be "openly religious"? That he is "openly religious" unless his quietness on the subject stems from fear of hostility? That he is "openly religious" if he is temperamentally inclined to talk about such matters (some people are more extroverted and others more introverted).

The problem is even more serious than with trying to determine whether someone is openly gay or lesbian. Most people tend to be romantically involved with someone fairly seriously at some point; at most jobs there are mixed business/social functions to which romantic partners are invited; and many people put up pictures of their romantic partners. All this suggests that most gays and lesbians who aren't actively trying to hide their sexual orientation will eventually make it known in some relatively visible way. This need not be so, however, as to members of some (though not other) religious groups.
7.19.2007 1:33pm
Whadonna More:


GD:
How is such research to be conducted? Religion of firm partners/associates is noticably missing from the data NALP collects.

see, e.g. Greedy Associates board.



Prof V -
So that's the problem -- do we say that a member of one of these religions can't be "openly religious"?

We don't often say that a heterosexual can be "openly straight" because it's the norm. The "openly" modifier indicates that the subject is ordinarily a matter that is somehow disfavored in the relevant context.

It seems clear to me that the question isn't directed to being "openly" Catholic in Boston, "openly" Jewish (at least Reform/Conservative) in NYC or "openly" Protestant in Dallas. Perhaps it would apply to an evangelical who totes a bible at all times in SFO, though.
7.19.2007 2:10pm
AST (mail):
If your firm needs a token "openly religious attorney" I'm available. I can also be "openly rebellious" and "openly litigious."
7.19.2007 2:43pm
Cornellian (mail):
The real trouble comes in when they learn HOW MUCH of a Christian you are. If they learn you're pro-life, forget it. If they learn you're against gay marriage, forget it. If they learn you go to Mass every Sunday, forget it. If they learn you actually believe the doctrine, and aren't merely going through the motions, forget it.

Perhaps your attitude that your position on these issues makes you more Christian than the next guy is the real problem.
7.19.2007 2:51pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Ughh, I'm with SenatorX where is the love for atheists?

I mean if they were seriously interested in increasing diversity or improving the lot of a politically unpopular group then what about atheists? Of course that is never going to happen because then they run the risk of having to defend people's behavior that is openly disdanful of other religious beliefs. In other words they are actually interested in promoting a certain flavor of conformity not diversity.

Of course I don't think religious belief should be protected from private discrimination at all.
7.19.2007 2:56pm
Daniel950:
Perhaps your attitude that your position on these issues makes you more Christian than the next guy is the real problem.


I don't know what you mean by that, but I take it as an attempt to mask your own bigotry.
7.19.2007 3:08pm
NickM (mail) (www):
I know two attorneys who wear Knights of Columbus lapel pins to public networking/social functions (both have been leaders in the KofC local chapter). Does that count as openly religious? [Membership in the Knights of Columbus is restricted to Roman Catholic men.] I have a feeling both of them also attend Ash Wednesday services, but I don't think I've seen either one of them on such a day.

How about a necklace with a cross or crucifix on it - or a cross or crucifix on the attorney's office wall? A religious bumper sticker/fish symbol on the car?

What if you send your kids to parochial schools?

Openly religious is a silly phrase.

Nick
7.19.2007 3:23pm
Cornellian (mail):
I don't know what you mean by that, but I take it as an attempt to mask your own bigotry.

Read your original post. You seem to think that there are degrees of Christianity depending upon one's position on the issue of abortion, among others. Christianity is not yours to define.

And re "bigotry" you don't get a free pass for your policy choices by labeling them as religiously mandated.
7.19.2007 3:25pm
Daniel950:
You seem to think that there are degrees of Christianity depending upon one's position on the issue of abortion, among others. Christianity is not yours to define.

And re "bigotry" you don't get a free pass for your policy choices by labeling them as religiously mandated.


You can be a "bad" Christian or, more specifically, a "bad" Catholic, yes. But, for instance, a practicing Catholic really can't be pro-choice. Any Catholic who's pro-choice is not really Catholic, as they let their politics come before their faith. Being pro-life IS religiously mandated for Catholics. If you're a pro-choice Catholic, you shouldn't receive the Eucharist and you should go to confession until you repent. It's a serious, serious sin, and really a delusion, to pretend that child murder is compatible with the Catholic faith (and if you dispute it's child murder to begin with, that's also another incompatibility with the faith).

Would you feel comfortable firing someone merely because they were pro-life, especially if they told you that they're pro-life because of their faith? What about if someone told you that their faith meant they couldn't approve of so-called gay "marriage."? Would you feel comfortable firing them after that?

What do you mean by "free pass"? Are you targeting Christians for holding these views? Are you willing to risk violating the law by firing someone for their religious beliefs merely because you think they're "policy choices"?
7.19.2007 4:03pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
My law firm is full of openly religious attorneys. It isn't a big deal around here. I can't understand why so many people are obsessed with the number of [insert category, i.e. gay, Hispanic, female] attorneys at a law firm. The partners at my law firm are staunchly conservative yet have the one of the most diverse law firms around, not by design, but by merit hiring. I know of at least two firms that, when they are hiring, only call the applicants that fit the qualification they need at that time. In other words, if a white female leaves, they'll post the job and only interview white females and hire one. How dumb is that?
7.19.2007 5:27pm
Madeline:
Read your original post. You seem to think that there are degrees of Christianity depending upon one's position on the issue of abortion, among others. Christianity is not yours to define.

And re "bigotry" you don't get a free pass for your policy choices by labeling them as religiously mandated.



Cornellian,

Much as we may sometimes want our wish to be reality, reality will be what it is. The fact of the matter is that some religions have fundamental tenets that it's adherents must agree to in order to be rightful followers of that religion. In lay terms, some religions come with deal breakers. Disagreeing with those tenets as a personal belief does not mean that one cannot be spiritual, or cannot believe in God, but it does mean that you can not be religious as that religion defines it.

To illustrate with some broad examples:

You cannot identify as a Jew and also believe in Jesus. No matter what Jews-for-Jesus says, the orthodoxy of Judaism does not accept Jesus as the messiah. The doctrinal requirements of Judaism is clear in this regard. If you believe in Jesus, then you are something other than a Jew.

Similarly, in order to be Catholic you have to accept certain things-- you have to believe in the resurrection, you have to believe in the Eucharist, and also accept the definitions of the other Sacraments. These are the requirements of Catholicism. You can not accept these things and still have faith in God and follow what your belief is about the example of Jesus-- and that is broadly Christian, in a spiritual sense-- but you are something other than Catholic.
7.19.2007 5:41pm
Madeline:
Just to clarify some cloudy grammar at the end of my post: You can have faith in God and follow your beliefs about the example of Jesus, and still reject the doctrinal requirements of Catholicism; but to do so does make you something other than Catholic.
7.19.2007 5:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
Daniel: "Any Catholic who's pro-choice is not really Catholic, as they let their politics come before their faith. Being pro-life IS religiously mandated for Catholics. If you're a pro-choice Catholic, you shouldn't receive the Eucharist and you should go to confession until you repent."

Likewise, any Catholic who favors the death penalty is not really Catholic, and any Catholic who does not truly believe that Catholicism is one and only true path to salvation isn't really a Catholic.
Thererfore, true Catholics believe that all non-Catholics are going to hell. There might be an exception for Jews, however.

Madeline: "The fact of the matter is that some religions have fundamental tenets that it's adherents must agree to in order to be rightful followers of that religion."

I'm not sure that is true. Once one is baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church, you pretty much can't leave it. You can refuse to go to Mass, are pro-life, or believe that gays are human beings too, and that will only mean at worst you are a 'lapsed' Catholic, but Catholic nonetheless.
Furthermore, the Church routinely counts among its flock anyone who believes anything at all as long as they were once baptized. If these people were not rightful followers, then why would the Church count them as members?
7.19.2007 6:10pm
Cornellian (mail):
Much as we may sometimes want our wish to be reality, reality will be what it is. The fact of the matter is that some religions have fundamental tenets that it's adherents must agree to in order to be rightful followers of that religion. In lay terms, some religions come with deal breakers. Disagreeing with those tenets as a personal belief does not mean that one cannot be spiritual, or cannot believe in God, but it does mean that you can not be religious as that religion defines it.


I'm fine with that as a general concept - you can't call yourself a Christian if you believe Jesus Christ never existed, or that he was just an ordinary guy, but the original poster referred to how Christian he was, not how Catholic he was. As to whether one can be a Catholic and still be pro-choice, I don't know the answer to that, and don't particularly care, since I'm not Catholic but I've seen different opinions on the subject. A belief that abortion isn't always murder from the instant of conception is perfectly compatible with any number of protestant denominations and I don't see why they're any less Christian than Catholics.
7.19.2007 7:36pm
Daniel950:
Randy,

You're the last person in the world who should be opinion on who is or is not really Catholic, and what Catholics believe. If you had any intellectual honesty at all, you'd cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church when you make such statements. As it is, I don't think anyone on this blog is dumb enough to believe you.
7.19.2007 7:48pm
SenatorX (mail):
Thanks exactly how I feel TruePath.
7.19.2007 9:52pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Do You Have Any Openly Religious Attorneys?



On the other hand, how would someone who is sincerely trying to answer this figure it out?


When they win a case, do they leap up and shout, "Thank you, Jesus!"?

That would be one way... ;-)
7.20.2007 12:24am
Randy R. (mail):
And why would you say that, Daniel? The fact is that I was indeed baptised and confirmed in the Catholic church, and I have been told that even though I don't go to church any more, I am still a Catholic, just a lapsed one. So I wouldn't exactly be the 'last person' to talk about this stuff.

I do know that the Catholic Church has made many pronouncements regarding the death penalty, and even against the Iraq War. This is common knowledge. Do you not accept it?

I don't particularly care whether anyone is or isn't really a Catholic. But it was YOU who stated that you are more Catholic than others, and that if you don't toe the line with regards to Catholic teachings, you must refuse the eucharist until you repent.

So I'm just curious as to whether you are toe the line on everything the Church teaches, such as the death penalty and the Iraq War, and if not, do you refuse the eucharist until you repent? And if not, then would anyone on this blog be dumb enough to believe you when you claim to be more Christian than other people?
7.20.2007 1:03am
Daniel950:
So I'm just curious as to whether you are toe the line on everything the Church teaches, such as the death penalty and the Iraq War, and if not, do you refuse the eucharist until you repent? And if not, then would anyone on this blog be dumb enough to believe you when you claim to be more Christian than other people?


In general, yes. Specifically, however, if you read the Catechism, it says flat-out that the death penalty is permissible, but only in rare situations (not to be used as an instrument of justice in regular crimes, for instance, like it is in Saudi Arabia). The Church usually appeals to mercy, but it is not a sin to institute the death penalty, and a Catholic executive can do it and remain in good standing. Additionally, if you understood the nature of Just War, you'd understand that while the moral conditions are authoritative, the prudential judgments are left to the authorities and the people responsible for making the decisions (aka: the Pope cannot opine on intel). Hence, the Church doesn't require you to adhere to the prudential judgments of the Pope or any of the bishops, only their moral authority.
7.20.2007 11:31am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What if the law firm answered, "Stanford. None of your business. Butt out."?
7.20.2007 12:07pm
neurodoc:
Dave Hardy: "When I worked at Interior, they announced a policy whereby a person could use overtime (comp time), which was generally not usable, to take time off for a religious holiday not otherwise covered."
Unless the agency could show a truly compelling reason why the employee could not be excused to observe a religious holiday (e.g., doctor or nurse responsible for care of acutely ill patients and no one to fill in for them), the employee had to be allowed "religious comp" time. Annual leave could be used for that purpose, or if the employee preferred, they had to be allowed to work additional hours before or after to make up for the time used for the religious observance. No question about it.

"One attorney, an avid fisherman, submitted a request to take time off to worship Salmonensis, The Great Trout, who could only be appeased by ritual consumption of a trout taken on opening day. He cited caselaw to the effect that an agency cannot assess the sincerity of a person's religious beliefs, etc. He never did get the comp. time, altho he kept demanding a response to his request."

Perfectly proper for a federal manager not to approve leave to your colleague. It might be a closer question whether they could count persistence at this silliness as something like "disruptiveness" ("he kept demanding to a response to his request") when evaluating his job performance or considering him for promotion to a more senior or responsible position., not withstanding professions of "sincerely held religous beliefs."
7.21.2007 3:19am
neurodoc:
Randy R and Daniel950, I have no dog in the who-can-and-who-cannot-call-themselves-a-Catholic fight, but I am a bit surprised that the two of you did not engage about that question for non-celibate homosexuals. Whatever your answers might be, though, I see no relevance to "Do You Have Any Openly Religious Attorneys."

Daniel950, you say, "The real trouble comes in when they learn HOW MUCH of a Christian you are." What "real trouble" have you or others in your firm found themselves in when it was learned by others "HOW MUCH of a Christian you are"? Are you more receptive to colleagues who don't share your particular religious views than they are to you? If not, what exactly are you complaining about?
7.21.2007 3:53am