ⓘ Religion and business have throughout history interacted in ways that relate to and affected one another, as well as influenced sociocultural evolution, politic ..


ⓘ Religion and business

Religion and business have throughout history interacted in ways that relate to and affected one another, as well as influenced sociocultural evolution, political geographies, and labour laws. As businesses expand globally they seek new markets which leads to expanding their corporation’s norms and rules to encompass the new locations norms which most often involve religious rules and terms.


1. Religious tourism

Some areas, countries or cities have an economy based on religious tourism. Examples include Islamic Hajj tourism and Vatican tourism. The hotels and markets of important religious places are a source of income to the locals.


1.1. Religious tourism Pilgrimage sites

The boards or shines sometimes receive so much in donations that governments to take it under control for proper utilization of resources and management. The annual revenues of most of the religious places are not regulated.


1.2. Religious tourism Buddhism

  • Bodh Gaya – Bodh Gaya is believed to be the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site, as it is the place Buddha attained enlightenment. The Buddha achieved enlightenment meditating under the Bodhi Tree for 49 days. Bodh Gaya also has the Mahabodhi Temple, and the Vajrasana which is the seat underneath the Bodhi tree.
  • Sarnath – Sarnath is the location where Buddha delivered his first discourse, Dhammacakka Pavattana Sutta. This speech explained the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path. Sarnath is also the place where Buddha appointed his first disciples. The location is known for the temple Mulaghandhakuti Vihara, where followers visit every night to chant the Dhannacakka Pavattana Sutta.
  • Lumbini – Lumbini is believed to be the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha. Lumbini is home to the World Peace Pagoda, and the Lumbini Sacred Garden which is a symbol of world peace.

1.3. Religious tourism Christianity

  • The Church of the Holy Sepulcher - This church is believed to have been where Jesus was buried and resurrected.
  • Church of the Nativity - This is one of the oldest churches located in Bethlehem, Israel is believed to be the birthplace of Christ.
  • Vatican City – Located in Europe, Vatican City is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world. Vatican City is home to the Pope, who is the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. It is home to such works of art as Pieta, and the ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.

1.4. Religious tourism Hindu

  • Vrindavan – Vrindavan is a village where Krishna lived. The village has now grown and is home to 5.000 temples dedicated mostly to Krishna. Vrindavan is also known for housing many retired Vaishnavas hoping to return to the spiritual Vrindavan.
  • Varanasi – Varanasi is situated on the banks of the Ganges; the ancient city is known for its Golden Temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. Varanasi is known for its retirees seeking liberation. Ashes are often spread in and around the city to benefit the departed soul.
  • Marthura – Marthura is a famous city known for being the location of Krishna’s birth. It is also known for its temple Keshava Deo Mandir where Radha and Krishna are worshiped.

1.5. Religious tourism Islam

  • Al-Masjid Al Nabawe – Medina, Saudi Arabia: Also known as The Prophet’s Mosque. The Holy site was built by Prophet Muhammad and is known as one of the biggest mosques in the world.
  • Al-Masjid Alharam – Mecca, Saudi Arabia: Also known as The Grand Mosque, Al-Masjid Alharam is the largest Mosque in the world, measuring 356.800 square meters. During the Hajj period up to 2 million can be found in worship at the Mosque.
  • Dome of the Rock – The Dome of the Rock is in the Old City of Jerusalem on Temple Mount. It is the controversial a holy site for Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

1.6. Religious tourism Judaism

  • Tiberias – Tiberias is on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and is known for its historical importance in Judaism. The Jerusalem Talmud a collection of oral Jewish Law, which is used for Jewish study was created in Tiberias.
  • Jerusalem – The capital of Israel and known for being a sacred place for people of the Jewish faith. Jerusalem is home to the Western Wall which is one of the most sacred places in the world. All the synagogues around the world have the holy arch facing Jerusalem.
  • Hebron – The raised city, Hebron is located within the West Bank. Hebron is considered by many Jewish people the birthplace of Jewish civilization. Hebron also is the burial site of Jewish figures, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Leah.

2. Business ethics


Judaism outlines requirements of accurate weights and measurements in commerce, as well as prohibitions on monetary deception, verbal deception and misrepresentation. Jewish business ethics believe that god is the best source of value, believes in centrality of the community, and promise that men and women can transform themselves. The concept of business is perceived as legitimate by Judaism. There is a huge push for social responsibility in any business venture as well as a charity obligation of both public and private business organizations.


3. Food processing


Globally, halal products comprise a US$2 trillion industry.


As of 2003, the kosher industry had certified more than 100.000 products, which total approximately US$165 billion in sales annually.


4.1. Religious and business laws United Kingdom

United Kingdom labour law prohibits employer discrimination based on religion, belief, or any lack thereof.


4.2. Religious and business laws United States

In the United States, labor laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit businesses from discriminating against employees based on the basis of religion. Business law is also at times applied to religious organizations, due to their status as incorporated entities.

Religious Freedoms Act of 1993:

Stops any agency, department, or official of the United States or any state from substantially burdening a persons exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a persons exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person.

Free Exercise Clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise.

Equal Protection Clause:

Governmental body may not deny people equal protection of its governing clause.


5. Groups

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC:

A Federal Agency that pushes equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights laws.


6. Landmark United States Supreme Court cases

1961 Braunfeld v. Brown 4-5:

Abraham Braunfeld owned a retail and clothing furnishing store in Philadelphia. As an Orthodox Jew he observes Sabbath and is not allowed to work. The Pennsylvania Blue Law only allowed certain laws to remain open for business on Sunday. Because Braunfeld needs to be open six days a week for economic reasons but he couldnt be open on Saturday due to his observation of the Sabbath. The U.S Supreme court found that the Pennsylvania Blue Law wasnt unconstitutional and didnt violate the free exercise clause. The law didnt make any religious practices unlawful. It was just a way find a statewide day of rest and it was unfortunate that it fell on Sunday.

1963 Sherbert v. Verner 7-1:

Adeil Sherbert was fired because she refused to work on Saturday, which was the day of her worship as she is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Employment Security Commission ruled that people Sherbert was ineligible for unemployment benefits because not working on Saturday was not a good enough reason. The U.S Supreme Court sided with Sherbert, citing the free exercise clause.

1972 Wisconsin v. Yoder 0-9:

Jonas Yoder and Warren Miller members of the old order Amish religion, and Adin Yutzy a member of conservative Amish Mennonite Church. These three parents were prosecuted under Wisconsin law, which states that all children must attend public school till 16. The parents refused to send their children after 8th grade citing religious concerns. The U.S Supreme Court sided with Yoder, Miller, and Yutzy under the free exercise clause.

1977 Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison 7-2:

Larry Hardison was an employee at Trans World Airline. Hardison was a member of the Worldwide Church of God and refused to work on Saturdays which was his sabbath. TWA transferred his shift from night to during the day on Saturday. But he didnt keep the same seniority once he switched shifts and therefore didnt have Saturdays off. The Supreme court sided with the Trans World Airlines because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states there needs to be" reasonable” accommodations for religious exercise.

1990 Employment Division Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith 6-3:

Two employees of a private drug rehabilitation organization ingested peyote as part of their religious ceremony at a Native American Church. The employees were fired and applied for unemployment benefit but had not granted them because they were fired from workplace misconduct. The U.S Supreme Court sided with the Employment Division of Oregon stating that even though the employees took peyote for religious reasons. Peyote is illegal in the United States.

2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores 5-4:

Hobby Lobby owners have organized their stores around Christian faith. Under the Affordable Care Act ACA it talks about how for-profit businesses must provide contraceptives to all employees. The owners of Hobby Lobby sued the Department of Health and Human Services based on violation of the free exercise clause. The U.S Supreme Court sided with the Department of Health and Human Services citing there was no violation of the freedom of religion because religious beliefs must not infringe on third party people.

2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission 7-2:

Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to make a cake for a wedding between two gay men, due to the businesses religious standing. The Colorado Civil rights Commission sided with the customers on the bases of discrimination on sexual orientation. The U.S Supreme Court reversed the Colorado Civil rights Commissions decision stating that they violated the business owner of Masterpiece Cakeshops right to their free exercise of religion.