On Monday, Yahoo Finance published an article examining the role of religious practice in the modern workplace. The article begins by considering a case of apparent anti-religious discrimination at the Manhattan office of JPMorgan Chase. Beginning in the early 2000s, a number of JPMorgan employees organized a Christian prayer group and bible study that met in company spaces. The group was fairly successful and well-attended for several years, but was ordered to cease meeting on company property in 2014, because corporate resources “can only be used for business purposes.”
What counts as “business purposes” becomes somewhat confusing when we look at the measures currently being taken by JPMorgan to promote corporate diversity. The bank makes company resources available to hundreds of “employee networking chapters” devoted to connecting and supporting members of various identity groups (LGBT, disabled, Latino, black, etc.). Not having been to meetings of these groups myself, I suppose it’s possible that they exist solely for “business purposes,” but I doubt it. In all probability, “business purposes” are merely the excuse for a more natural and robust goal: building communities among people who share common viewpoints and experiences.
Christians may look at this list of diversity organizations and feel aggrieved at the double standard. What distinguishes a Christian group from any of these others? Why would JPMorgan go out of its way to bus Muslim employees in the UK to prayers during the day, but ban a Christian prayer group from its offices? Surely those of Christian identity deserve just as much support as those who identify as LGBT, disabled, Asian, black, etc.
Read more at First Things.