Thursday, December 6, 2007

Personal Religion and Professional Performance

Mitt Romney should have a simple answer, the same one for all of us whose professional requirements sometimes may conflict with a personal religious tenet, and that is:

* My religion is personal.
* All religions have the golden rule at the core: do unto others as you would have them do unto you (and variatons on that phrasing).
* That single value infuses my professional actions.
* If there is a conflict between my religious beliefs (and duties) and professional responsibilities and duties, actions in the professional sphere will (must)be guided by the reciprocal kindness rule and performed as required in the professional context.

Separation of church and state should inform the separation of professional actions from religious beliefs, observations and actions.

A deeply devout Christian who doesn't believe in the death penalty may still enforce it if that is the law. He or she can work to change the law, but must obey it until changed.

A pharmacist who doesn't believe in abortion must still sell morning after pills approved by the FDA to those qualified to buy them. The personal religious belief should not override professional actions and responsibilities.

A president of one faith may fully pracitice his or her faith, but must be religion-neutral in dealings with the world's people who hold diverse religions or no religion at all. Advancing a pinched view of religion serves neither religion nor public professional performance and leadership.