Monday, February 28, 2011
You should check out William & Mary law prof Nate Oman's op-ed arguing that labor law is Catholic and anti-discrimination law is Protestant. An excerpt:
Labor law and anti-discrimination law regulate the workplace in fundamentally different ways. Anti-discrimination laws treat workers in isolation, protecting them against mistreatment on the basis of race, religion, gender, and – in some jurisdictions – sexual orientation. It holds up the ideal of an individual judged wholly independent of any accidents of birth or identity.
Labor law, in contrast, creates associations of workers, often using mild coercion, and forces management to bargain with the associations. In contrast to the individualism of anti-discrimination laws, labor law envisions an ideal marketplace in which every worker is embedded in an association that both regulates his behavior and protects his interests.
Anti-discrimination law reflects a basically Protestant view of the moral universe, while labor law reflects a basically Catholic view of the moral universe. For Martin Luther every individual came alone before the throne of God, stripped of the mediating influences of tradition, community, or priesthoods, seeking mercy for his exposed and sinful soul.
. . . .
Despite our nation's laudable commitment to religious diversity, the majority of religious Americans are Protestants and Protestant assumptions are deeply embedded in our culture. In such a culture, it is unsurprising that a body of law based on Catholic notions of solidarity, community and skepticism about the ultimate merits of unfettered individualism enjoys a more precarious position than its Protestant cousin.