Here’s the part that seemed odd to me:
MUST BE A CURRENT PRACTICING CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST AND MEMBER OF THE MOTHER CHURCH
Despite the plural, that was the only qualification listed in the ad. To get more information, you have to email them, which signals to me they’re trying to hide something.
If, like me, you hadn’t heard of The Principia, you could probably tell from the screaming minimum qualification that it’s a Christian Scientist organization, and it claims to be a liberal arts college, only one where “students, faculty, and staff are expected to be practicing Christian Scientists who rely on God for healing and regularly attend a Christian Science Sunday School or church.”
So much for academic freedom, open debate, intellectual diversity, and all those other things we hope to find in colleges. They do probably spend a lot less on the health center than other colleges, though, so maybe that lowers the tuition costs.
The very brief ad with little information and the all caps minimum qualification were odd in themselves, but the qualification alone should have been a signal to the ALA that this ad wasn’t appropriate for an organization that opposes discriminatory hiring practices.
Is the ALA so desperate for ad revenue that they’ll advertise library jobs at places that practice discrimination in hiring?
The ALA has a fund, the Merritt Humanitarian Fund, that “is devoted to the support, maintenance, medical care, and welfare of librarians who, in the Trustees’ opinion, are: Denied employment rights or discriminated against on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, age, disability, or place of national origin.”
One might think that an organization with a fund like this might balk at advertising for a library that actively promoted religious discrimination in hiring.
It’s not clear to me if this discrimination is even legal. According to the EEOC website, “An employee cannot be forced to participate (or not participate) in a religious activity as a condition of employment.”
And here it’s noted that, “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment.”
So if the EEOC is correct, then The Principia is in clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If that’s the case, they’ve probably never been challenged in court because no one but a Christian Scientist would want to work there anyway.
Though many consider Christian Science to be a cult rather than a religion, and certainly not a science in any sense, that’s irrelevant for my point. The only difference I can tell between a cult and a religion is the number of people who believe the teachings, and there are plenty of required beliefs in every revealed religion that require faith rather than reason to accept.
Once you accept the idea that there’s an immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient being who somehow knows and cares about every human being and intercedes in human affairs, then it’s kind of silly to fight about the details, though that’s all many religious believers throughout history have wanted to fight about.
Thus, it doesn’t matter to me about the particular religion here. I would make the same criticism if there was an ad at the ALA job site for a library requiring a candidate to be Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu, or for that matter red headed, left handed, Asian, or homosexual.
The question is whether the organization that supposedly represents American libraries should implicitly approve of a library that openly discriminates in hiring on the basis of religion. Is that acceptable to the ALA, or to you? Or was this ad accepted without thinking about its implications?
My suggestion: drop the ad. Let libraries with discriminatory hiring practices find another venue to hawk their jobs.