Jewish-Owned Clinic's Decision to Close Saturdays Interferes With Religious Freedom --

The Law Should Force Them To Open Saturdays: Yes, that's the legal theory of the Spring Valley (N.Y.) NAACP, which argues that the clinic's closing Saturdays (because the doctors who run it observe the Sabbath) "stifle[s the NAACP's] efforts towards the equality, diversity, and religious freedom to encourage tolerance in our society." Uh-huh.

The NAACP's complaint (which I just got and posted here) outlines the group's theory. I had said more about the legal problems with the theory Friday, based on a newspaper account (which proved to be quite accurate). Here, let me just note a few key excerpts from the complaint:

  1. The Spring Valley NAACP's theory is that closing Saturdays is "invok[ing] their own religion to discriminate [against] the patients who practice any religion other than Hasidic Judaism ... by (a) engaging in disparate treatment of people who believe in a religion other than Hasidic Judaism and (b) failing to accommodate other religious beliefs." No word from the NAACP about whether stores of all sorts that close Sundays are breaking the law as well, or about why it's "disparate treatment" to be available the same days for Jews and non-Jews.

  2. "The willful closing of the clinic on Saturdays serves no other business purpose than to impose the extremity of their own religious beliefs in Hasidic Judaism on the community it serves which consists of predominantly African Americans and Hispanics." No word about whether complying with one's own religious beliefs about when one chooses not to work is a legtimate "business purpose" — or about why closing Saturdays because of one's religion is any worse than closing Saturdays because one wants to go home for the weekend (something that I take it even the Spring Valley NAACP wouldn't oppose).

  3. "By following the customs as set by rabbinic authority, the respondents are intentionally targeting the Christian employees and patients in general and in particular." An odd definition of "intentionally targeting," it seems to me, and again one that leads one to wonder why a Christian's closing Sundays isn't equally "intentionally targeting the [Jewish] employees and patients."

  4. "While the above named aiders and abettors have the right to follow their own moral values but they should not use their beliefs as a platform to promote religion on the members of our organization." Hard to see how there's any "promot[ing]" going on here — it's hardly that the Jews are trying to get non-Jews to convert to Judaism. It's also hard to see how the Spring Valley NAACP is serious about acknowledging the doctors' "right to follow their own moral values," since they're seeking to use the law to force the doctors to violate their moral values.

The Spring Valley NAACP also alleges employment discrimination by the clinic, and deliberate racial segregation of patients; that would be illegal, if proven, though the complaint notes no evidence of this. (The Spring Valley NAACP has also been pushing to get the Clinic "to hire a diverse staff"; to the extent this calls for race-based hiring, this might, under certain plausible circumstances, be itself a call for illegal discrimination.) But those objections from the Spring Valley NAACP are separate from the ones I note here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Jewish-Owned Clinic's Decision to Close Saturdays Interferes With Religious Freedom --
  2. NAACP Chapter Claims That It's Illegal for Jewish-Owned Medical Clinic to Close Saturdays: