Religious Freedom is Good for Business
Attendees of the JRCLS Leadership Conference were treated with a speech by Brian Grim, Founder and President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Prior to his work with the foundation, Grim worked at Pew Research Center. He is viewed as a world leader regarding religious freedom issues.
The Foundation is the first organization dedicated to educating businesses about why religious freedom will enable them to be more productive and successful. To that end, Grim has been traveling the world to meet with government and business leaders. Recent research shows that “economic growth and global competitiveness are stronger when social hostilities involving religion are low and government respect for, and protection of, the universally recognized human right of freedom is high.”
Grim calls for a broader definition of corporate social responsibility (“CSR”), advocating that part of being good corporate citizens includes respecting the religious beliefs of employees. Such measures would be welcome in the United States, for example, as one-third of its citizens have experienced or witnessed religious discrimination in the work force. Grim has published a brochure regarding four to five companies who have included respect for religious beliefs as part of their definition of CSR. He was recently able to present the brochure to the Secretary General to the United Nations.
The application of the principles Grim advocates are evidenced by his work to help Lutheran converts in Pakistan. Grim met with leaders of the Lutheran Church in Finland who told him of the Dalits, prior Hindus of the “untouchable” caste, consigned to be garbage collectors. Grim suggested getting the Pakistani business community involved to create training and jobs in the waste management industry for these converts in an effort he coined “waste to wealth.” For the Dalits and others experiencing religious persecution worldwide, Grim’s efforts are an immeasurable blessing.
For more information, the Foundation’s website address is: http://religiousfreedomandbusiness.org/.
By Julie Smith
Posted: November 10, 2014