Thinking Out Loud

July 12, 2017

Mother Seeks Christian Bookstore Job for Her Wayward Daughter

Filed under: Christianity, Humor, parenting — Tags: — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:12 am

This appeared last March on the Facebook page of an American Christian bookstore we have frequently visited. I’ve chosen not to link to the comment, but can authenticate it for you offline if need be. Note: This is more sad than funny.

I was a fan of this store until my prodigal daughter wanted me to pick her up a job application. The person who gave me the application questioned me about my daughter’s faith and how her being prodigal would make her basically unemployable to the store, because she would not be knowledgeable of the stores content.

In my mind I was thinking don’t they train you to do the job? I felt she was being biased and prejudiced because my daughter was not a practicing Christian. This is not only not what I expected from a supposedly Christ centered ministry, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that this was not at all acceptable as well, in His eyes! Jesus would NEVER turn away someone who was away from Him, especially if their was even a hint of Him being able to reach the person, especially through a ministry!

I was even more appalled when I got home and read through the application! The first thing that stood out to me was what was written just below the company logo. ” We are an equal opportunity employer “. Are you kidding me! You discriminated against my daughter in the store and there was further discrimination in the application under references, “name a pastor or church leader”, give me a break! That’s out right bias right there! Oh and they conveniently left out ” We do not discriminate against race, color, sex, RELIGION etc. etc. etc “. , how convenient! To me that further proves more bias!

Oh and yet they want the person to agree to having their life scrutinized in-depth way more than I would ever tolerate, in the applicant statement and agreement section! I would not be employable just on that section alone! If a job or a landlord or a bank or anybody wants to use my credit score against me that’s not acceptable under any condition!

For reasons why, check your bibles under how Jesus treated the poor, if you think it’s OK to deny someone just because of their credit score (which may not even be their fault IE identity theft etc. )! As far as the last paragraph in that section, it needs to be eliminated that’s not acceptable to me either! I am totally appalled by this whole thing! I will never shop at the store again! I can see Jesus being infuriated by this Companies policies as well, shame on you guys! I would have given it zero stars, but it would not let me write the review but did. So technically a big zero from me sorry to say. I know you will delete this when you read it, because your even bias in what reviews you allow visible, but know Jesus has already seen it!

So how would you reply to this?


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9 Comments »

  1. Sorry but I don’t live in the US. My take is- it is their rule and their way. If you are not fine with what you are told,so be it. As far as I’m concerned,there is freedom of choice. They chose not to employ your daughter and you chose not to shop there again. Equation balanced. I do not see any reason to raise a stink over it though. My ten kobo’s worth.
    P.S We have her side. What about the business’ side of the story?

    Comment by Jesus Wins — July 12, 2017 @ 10:19 am

  2. I wonder if the person who wrote this would like to go to a doctor’s office, if the “doctor” only had a basic medical training, but no degree? Or a lawyer’s office where the “lawyer” had read some law books but had no further qualifications? Even highly paid star athletes who get contracts with big companies like Nike or Reebok have a morality clause that says the contract can be terminated if the athlete gets caught in a scandal in their personal life, because it hurts the brand identity to continue being associated with that person.

    So if your business specializes in being a representative of Christ, and offers products related to ministry and Christian living, it seems more than reasonable to expect that the qualifications for such a position require certain prerequisites related to doing the job effectively. It is wrong to accuse the business of violating the “race, color, sex, religion, etc” discrimination laws because they are not unfairly barring application for employment based on those personal characteristics, they are simply declining to hire that individual due to her lacking specific training or credentials that are a requirement of the position itself. I bet that the bookstore would consider hiring a non-Christian for a different position — say someone to help with the bookkeeping, haul away trash, or if they opened up an attached restaurant, somebody to work in the kitchen.

    Finally, the attitude of sheer entitlement in this Facebook post is pretty evident. People who view the world in terms of how everything affects only them, and do not display enough human sympathy to consider the position of the business, often rant in a similar manner. “I got a college degree, and now I demand that someone hire me immediately”, as if the world owes you something simply for you showing up. People have turned legal protections that are in place to avoid favoritism due to factors unrelated to employment (race, color, sex, etc) upside down, and view them instead as a means of preventing employers from finding the most qualified individuals for the specific position being filled.

    Comment by George — July 12, 2017 @ 2:16 pm

    • George,well said! Thanks for being more eloquent than I. God bless.

      Comment by Jesus Wins — July 12, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

  3. By Canadian law and standards this store would be toast in a lawsuit. The store is not a a charity or not for profit. Therefore it cannot nor should not discriminste based on religious grounds. The fact is working in that environment would either show her need for Christ or push her further away. I am afraid by this behavior the store has missed an opportunity to help this prodigal come ‘home’ and add to her feelings that the church is full of hypocrites.

    Comment by Ralph Juthman — July 16, 2017 @ 9:34 am

    • It’s an American store. Here’s a screening process that we use. We also are upfront that we hire from our customer base.
      https://bookshoptalk.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/screening-potential-staff/

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 16, 2017 @ 1:39 pm

    • I’m an American, and this is an American store, so clearly different laws and standards apply. But I’m genuinely puzzled and trying to understand this viewpoint presented by Ralph, saying that in Canada, this would cause a lawsuit, and further, that it is hypocritical and has failed to help the prodigal come home. I don’t wish to be unkind or combative about it, I really do sympathize with the parent of a wayward child (empathize, in fact — I’ve been one before).

      But it is a place of employment. Almost certainly, there will be multiple applicants for an open position. Every position has certain prerequisites and requirements to do that job effectively. The best-qualified candidate is likely to be the one to get the job. That happens thousands of times every day, in every industry and profession.

      I have heard of the concept of “missionary dating”, where a believer dates an unbeliever in an attempt to convert the unbeliever — something which most wisdom seems to discourage, by the way. So are you suggesting that the store should engage in “missionary hiring”, and give a position to a less-qualified candidate in hopes of having some spiritual impact on her life? And that any failure to do this is somehow “hypocrisy”? I don’t even understand the term “hypocrisy” in this context at all (hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another, or having a different standard for others than for yourself). How do you know that the person that was hired instead isn’t a good, hardworking Christian parent with extremely pressing financial needs, who can really use this opportunity, and is far better qualified for the open position? I can think of an almost limitless number of suggestions for how to help the prodigal child return home, and “giving them a job at a Christian bookstore” is not particularly high on that list. Seriously.

      I guess my last question would be regarding the laws in Canada that are in place to prevent discrimination based on race, color, religion, etc. Are these laws absolute in their reach? Is there any sensible leeway given when the result is at odds with the general intention? Can the law force a mosque to hire anti-Muslim activists, or a Christian church-related business to hire openly-activist atheists, or an organization dedicated to spreading an atheist/humanist anti-religion message to hire an openly-Christian person, even if doing so might bring chaos and dissent to that organization? Surely, the intention of the law is to prevent discrimination for a position like policeman, dog catcher, accountant, construction worker, but not to force a business to hire a less-qualified candidate for a position related to religion, which requires some knowledge and experience with the specifics of that religion, right? There are dozens of factors taken into consideration during hiring. Any one of these can make an applicant a poor fit for the job. It sounds heavy-handed and disingenuous to use the weight of the law against upstanding and well-intentioned business owners, when they are clearly basing their decision on practical concerns, not on bigotry or hatred.

      Comment by George — July 17, 2017 @ 3:32 pm

      • Hi George. I’m not aware of any cases in Canada where a Christian bookstore has had to face litigation over not hiring someone. Not yet. Not so far. But this is an age where just about every U.S. state has a “gay wedding cake case” or something similar. And yes, Canada is more absolute on equity and rights, and not as pro-business as the U.S. So I don’t think that Ralph’s comment is out-of-line, though this blog has a vast majority of U.S. readers and I didn’t anticipate that comment. The potential lawsuits you mention in your last paragraph probably haven’t happened so far because of the general tolerance and religious plurality in the country. But in terms of law, Ralph is quite correct. Google things like the Trinity Western University Law School accreditation issue, or the Christian Horizons morality clause case and you’ll see Canadian examples of what Ralph suggested.

        Sidebar: Many years ago a Christian bookstore which we ourselves owned in Eastern Ontario inadvertently hired a non-Christian because an existing employee — also a half-sister as I remember it — basically lied to us. We had a number of things to process and work through in that case, and perhaps sometime in the future I will write about the various emotions we experienced as we tried to find a solution to having a non-believer representing the various Christian authors and musicians and Bible translations we carried.

        Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 17, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

      • Hi Paul, Thanks for your response (sorry, I think we have embedded comments too many layers deep and it won’t let me reply directly to yours.)

        I did look up the two cases you mentioned, and found the results somewhat confusing, but very interesting. It definitely sounds like Canadian law is “secular” and “liberal” by default, and it sounds like Christian beliefs are considered a small and peculiar minority, that are seen as being discriminatory in general — at least that’s the general tenor of the articles and comments I found on those two cases. On the other hand, it sounds like much of it is arguing over semantics, and that in general, Canadian law does seem to allow for the fact that employees of inherently religious organizations can be subject to codes of conduct, as long as it can be proven that such conduct is directly related to the service or product they are providing (in other words, not forcing someone to violate their conscience as a religious person when in the process of providing a religious service or charity).

        Found this little gem in regards to the TWU case… The BC Appeal Court, in its conclusion wrote:

        “A society that does not admit of and accommodate differences cannot be a free and democratic society — one in which its citizens are free to think, to disagree, to debate and to challenge the accepted view without fear of reprisal. This case demonstrates that a well-intentioned majority acting in the name of tolerance and liberalism, can, if unchecked, impose its views on the minority in a manner that is in itself intolerant and illiberal.”

        It’s quite fascinating, and I’ve definitely seen a similar phenomenon occur here in the U.S. where the people who speak of openness, tolerance, and liberal protection of “all people” end up discriminating specifically against Christians, without giving the same sort of “tolerance and respect” as they seem to allow for most other personal opinions and moralities.

        Anyway, I don’t want to belabor the point here. It’s been a very interesting discussion, and quite eye-opening for me, with regards to understanding the differences in the Canadian and U.S. views of the legal issues surrounding free practice of religious beliefs vs. government enforcement of protection from various forms of discrimination. As you noted, we have our own kinds of legal battles going on in the U.S. regarding these issues, and I don’t see them being settled to everyone’s satisfaction any time soon. There are simply too many diametrically opposed positions in the arena of ideas, for each and every one to be exercised without being perceived to offend or disrespect someone else’s ideas and views.

        Comment by George — July 18, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

  4. It’s a business, not a “ministry”. Everything else ridiculous that this woman said comes from that misapprehension.

    Comment by brendt — July 16, 2017 @ 3:17 pm


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