There, for all the world to see, was what amounted to a very ordinary job, being offered. It is a fairly simple role, but a couple of conditions make it somewhat exclusive. Applicants are - get this - required to be Christian, to behave like good Christians (specifically: 'exemplify the teachings of Christ') and to sign a declaration of faith which is a condition of employment.
I am aghast at this. I should say that it's not the first time I've seen this pre-condition to employment, but I am still aghast. Which may mean that I am doubly aghast; I'm not really sure. If I carry on like this I might O/D on ghast, which is probably not a good thing. Fortunately, on this page I can vent my spleen (which is where ghast is produced within my body) and relieve the burden somewhat. This goes some way to explaining my curmudgeonly postings; a surplus of ghast. Anyway, I'm in danger of digressing once again; let's get back to ghast-reduction...
SO! In order to be hired for what is a straightforward job, this bible-thumping educational establishment is allowed to openly, brazenly and with prejudice aforethought, discriminate on the grounds of religion. I can understand that such a policy might seem sensible to some people; that making sure only Christians work on a Christian campus makes good sense, and after all why shouldn't they? My response to that is that making this stipulation is clearly discriminatory and flies in the face of labour law. This stipulation discriminates on the grounds of religion for a role which has no ecumenical element, yet apparently it's allowed.
I will assume for the moment that church-related establishments have an exception under labour law. Let's just say that such an exception exists, because if it doesn't then this group of superstitious foods is clearly breaking the law by overtly discriminating on the basis of religious belief. So, rather than go into that, I'll just accept that for now, it's not unlawful.
This brings me to the reasons for the stipulation. I struggle to come up with any reasoning for this condition which does not make prejudiced assumptions about people of other religious creeds (which of course will almost by definition include a great many people from different cultural backgrounds and very probably anyone who isn't heterosexual), or about people who, like myself, do not have any religious beliefs. There are implied assumptions in this approach; assumptions which almost seem like irrational fears about morality, ethics and acceptability. I would love to know how such prejudicial assumptions can be made without ever even meeting such candidates, and where the assumption of moral and ethical superiority connects with Christianity. In my experience, there is no direct and unique connection.
To exclude applicants of different faiths or no faith and to require a contract about the way the post-holder thinks is a bigoted, mediaeval approach to the issue, and is simply unacceptable. Such a belief is stereotypical, prejudiced (a belief about an individual without any evidence to support it) and overtly discriminatory - all this in a country which claims to promote multiculturalism and acceptance of difference.It's simple, really simple - but apparently it's allowed (which is, I hope you'll agree, a different issue).
It also tells me something about the solidity of the so-called faith of the people who designed and apply this condition to their employees. It would seem that a non-Christian would be a threat to their community. Really? Is the presence of difference really a threat? If so, why? I am always amused by allegedly religious people who refuse to listen to or even debate matters of belief. I'd have thought that true faith would be able to stand up to reasoned argument (but that's perhaps asking too much when faith is in fact merely hope based upon anecdotal tales) and that people 'of faith' would relish the idea of debating their beliefs with non-believers.
This kind of insular, don't-talk-to-me-I-don't-want-to-hear-anything-that-challenges-my-view-of-the-world approach is nonsensensical and self-destructive in the long term. It results in monasteries (where the truly dysfunctional go in order to never have their beliefs even slightly questioned) and convents, places where humans disappear and waste their lives. This attitude in the wider world - remember we're talking about an advertisement for a security guard - doesn't belong, and should be unlawful if it isn't already.
Why should a religious organisation receive special treatment, I wonder? What is the philosophical, economic, moral or ethical basis for such an approach these days? Why is a religious organisation (a collection of people who believe a certain thing based on legend) any different from a professional organisation? Perhaps that's an awkward question, but I do hope that someone takes me up on it.
In the meantime, I might just apply for that job and lie about my beliefs in order to get it...that would be an interesting debate in court.