Monday, February 14

The Employee/Employer Relationship and Christian Rights

In the past month or so, I've been pondering how a Christian formulation of government might seem. In doing so, I took from Scripture moral teaching, usually in the form of laws or responsibilities, and re-interpreted them as rights by assuming that I must have those moral rights required to either carry out those responsibilities and laws. Instead of a right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness I arrived at a different list. The question I wish to address in the following, is how following the guidelines of this different list might we wish to re-interpret our understanding of the employer/employee relationship in the light of the recent discussion, i.e., the employee's freedom (privacy) to smoke tobacco in the home and the employer's freedom to hire whom he pleases by criteria of his choice.

As a reminder, the moral rights we will be taking as fundamental are:
  1. A right to worship my God, or freedom of religion.
  2. A right to raise my family in a righteous manner
  3. A right not to be killed
  4. A right to property
  5. A right to a fair system of jurisprudence.
  6. A right to charity
  7. And sexual freedom is not a right.
Now at first glance, one might be confused. How do we elicit any guidance on this from these issues. However, all is not lost. Many employers are persons (or corporations which legally have the same standing). We can structure the employer/employee relationship in analogy to the familial relationship. This does indeed have some level of scriptural basis looking at Genesis, Abraham and Jacob for example.

However the stickler in the moral right in play for how an employer may treat with his employees, "to raise my family in a righteous manner" is of course the emphasized word, "righteous". Now I am not a theologian, and I haven't studied what this word might mean in any concise manner. I hope to in the future, but ... in the meantime, I don't think smoking has very much relevance to righteousness. On the other hand, read this essay. In general the thrust of my ponderings leads me to thinking that while the employer has less explicit restrictions on what he may ask of his employer he also has more responsibility towards him. But these thoughts are a little unformed as yet. I think I will have to work more on the foundational sense of the implications of my 7 little (God given) moral rights.