In reflecting on the Slaughterhouse story, it seems that there needs to be more on the continuum of social adaptation and general social change. The fact that, for religious reasons, particular slaugherhouse owners won’t slaughter pigs would seem to provide more business opportunities for others without similar reservations. Similarly, certain lawyers won’t engage in certain types of law. The lawyer who won’t do criminal law or divorces creates opportunities for others–either more business for existing practitioners or entry opportunities for others. Henry Morgentaler’s abortion practice exists in significant part because many medical professionals will not engage in that procedure, irrespective of its deemed legality in Canada.
How far will or should this extend? When Sunday closing laws were abolished in Ontario, it was made clear that no businessperson with objections, religious-based or otherwise, could be compelled by a shopping mall landlord to stay open on Sundays. In many malls, it is taken as a given that certain stores remain closed on that day. On the other hand, what about someone whose religious day is Friday, Saturday, or another time during the week? Is such a person able to close his or her business in a major shopping mall? Why must almost all businesses in Ontario be compelled to close on Christmas Day and Good Friday?
I once worked with a Muslim who was prepared to work on Christmas Day in return for another day off. Didn’t work, since he would be the only one there. I once worked for an accounting firm where the Jewish holidays were observed. All non-Jewish employees were also given the time off, with pay, because there was a religious prohibition against making any money on those days. When Easter came around, in April, being one of the busiest times of the accounting firm’s year, I was asked not to take the time off unless I was actually going to be in church. Seemed reasonable to me.
A mall near where I live and where I shop contains a significant Muslim shopping population. This is based on my non-scientific visual survey of the number of families around me with members wearing hijabs. And where “significant” is defined (by me) to mean at least one in five mall patrons, at the times when I am there. Subject to errors in my perception or unreasonableness in my definition.
The mall Santa gave up a number of years ago. They are piping in the Christmas music again this year. Doesn’t seem reasonable, to me.