Religiosity is very diverse in the United States, especially in the workplace. It is safe to say not everyone you work with holds the same beliefs you do. You likely have the same religious views as some of your co-workers, but you probably celebrate different religious traditions than others.
While Christianity is a very popular religion in America, you probably share a workspace with those who are not just Christian — your co-workers may be Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim, among many other religions. It is not unlikely you'll even encounter some co-workers who don't fall into any major religions at all.
Religious beliefs in America are more diverse than in some other countries. A main reason for this is because, as U.S. citizens, we have the right to choose which religion we wish to worship under the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is one of our basic rights in the U.S.
In this article, we will look at the relationship between business and religion in America, what our freedom of religion allows, and how religion influences society. We’ll also read Bible verses about hard work and money.
When you think about business and religion, it may be hard to see the relationship there is between the two. But because business is made up of people, religion is going to come into play.
There are many common practices, or business ethics, when it comes to religion. This is to help make the workplace a safe space for everyone.
It is common business ethics to not speak about religion with co-workers. In fact, many professionals advise that you shouldn’t speak about religion on social media as well as on job-seeking websites, such as LinkedIn. This is because religious conversations can have a strong polarizing effect on people.
An example of not mixing business with religion from a consumer standpoint is seen during the winter holidays. Instead of “Merry Christmas,” you often hear retailers wishing you “Happy Holidays.” This is especially the case for global businesses because they deal with people worldwide who have different religious beliefs.
There has also been an increase in other religious items beyond just those that are traditionally Christian being sold in stores, such as Hanukkah menorahs.
While mixing business and religion feels uncomfortable, freedom of religion in America does help employees feel comfortable worshipping their religion in public. For example, you may see someone wearing their hijab, a headscarf covering worn by Muslim women to show modesty.
Holidays that are becoming more widely known in recent years due to religious tolerance include Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and Diwali.
Human resource departments protect employees from religious discrimination in the workplace. However, business owners have to use their own decision-making abilities along with the guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC) to further prevent religious discrimination.
Under the EEOC, employers can't discriminate against employees for engaging in religious expression at the job as long as it doesn't “create an undue hardship.” An ‘undue hardship’ can take the form of cost, time, and a burden on the business.
Freedom of religion is another way our religious preference is protected in America. As U.S. citizens, this is one of our basic human rights, and it is protected under the First Amendment. We do not have to practice a specific religion, as some do in other countries. Religious people are allowed to worship whichever religion they choose publicly as well as privately without fear of government intervention.
Religious organizations and religious institutions have some different laws surrounding freedom of religion and religious discrimination, but these vary by state.
Overall, religious diversity has a positive impact on our workplaces and larger communities.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about work and earning money.
“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense” (Proverbs 12:11).
The Lord tells us we should prioritize what we put our effort and time into. Those who make hard work their top priority will have success, but those who use their time on more trivial matters will have little to show for it.
“It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in His sleep” (Psalm 127:2).
God commends hard work. However, this verse from Psalm makes a great point that we should not depend solely upon ourselves for everything we need. As Christians, we need to remember God is the great provider, and He is responsible for everything good that comes to us in our lives.
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat” (Proverbs 13:4).
We must show ambition and a desire to accomplish our goals in life. We must learn how to apply ourselves, and we will become better people for it. Those who have things come to them without any effort on their part are tainted by this, and it often shows in their character.
“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
The Lord tells us that money makes people corrupt. Those who have a taste for money are never satisfied with how much they accumulate, and this hunger becomes all-consuming. However, the Christian who concentrates on the things in life that fulfill the soul will be happy.
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).
In Proverbs, we are taught money we earn dishonestly does not satisfy us, nor do we truly appreciate it, as it isn't earned from hard work and diligence. Only money that we earn through hard work and motivation will be appreciated, and through hard work, our money will grow.
“Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” (Acts 8:20).
Peter explains that you cannot buy God nor any of the other true pleasures in life with money. This mirrors the old saying that you cannot take your money with you when you die. Money can only buy you earthly possessions — your soul does not reflect how much or how little money you have.
Religious diversity is very prevalent in America. Your neighbors might worship Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or Hinduism, while you might be Catholic. However, different does not equate to bad.
Whether you worship a more popular religion or a less prevalent one, you should not fear for your safety to conduct your religious practices.
We have the social responsibility to prevent religious discrimination and be respectful enough to not fight with those who do not share our personal beliefs.
This responsibility carries over into the workplace. It is each person's job to make sure they are providing a safe, accepting, and ethical workplace for all of their co-workers. This is especially true for business leaders, who should make sure they create a welcoming environment for all of their employees.