It was a long time ago, but it seems to me my high school government teacher said the framers of our Costiitution took care of that with the First Amendment ...
Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.With only 25 years of formal education, I'm a little hesitant to say third graders should understand the simple meaning of "the free exercise clause" ... perhaps the truth is they understand it better than a judges, lawyers, or politicians.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The constitution means nothing if "the free exercise clause" doesn't already protect us while we are at work.
At any rate AP is reporting Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) feels "Americans shouldn't have to choose between keeping their faith and keeping their job." He is co-sponsoring "the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which would require employers to make 'reasonable accommodations' to their employees' faith."
Dang, there goes another chunk of my constitutional rights down the DC sewer! By having to pass a new law to support a right clearly guaranteed by our constitution, we are collectively admiting what we thought protected us does not in fact do so!
This is consistent with other laws passed by congress in the past fifty years or so; each one intended to shore up a weak spot in our foundational rights ... all of which actually chip away at the document itself. Kind of like a river to a boulder, eventually the boulder becomes a piece of sand on the beach.
The bill ...
... could include allowing time off for the Sabbath, permitting religious garb, or exempting an employee from a task that he or she considers sinful. [CRIB note - me thinks this is the AP reporter speaking here]Well SOW'-dur, it sure as heck doesn't bode well for the employee in the long run ... and that's for sure. Are we or are we not a people governed by the people and for the people? Do we or do we not have a constitutional govenment? Is or is not the Constitution the governing law of this nation? Does it or does it not say in plain english what it purports to say?
But the bill's sponsor, Indiana Republican Mark Souder (SOW'-dur), says it wouldn't require an employer to completely change a job to suit a religious employee.
You tell me!
Bill of Rights; Constitution; Establishment clause; First amendment; Religious