Spirituality in the Workplace: Each Faith Offers Guidelines For Business Ethics

Posted on May 12, 2009


Helen Gray, The Kansas City Star

Shortly after the Bernard Madoff story broke, “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” broadcast a program called “Jewish Reaction to Madoff Scandal.” […]

In the broadcast, Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz of Silver Spring, Md., said Madoff’s crime was an affront to the Jewish religion. […]

“If you are not honest in business, you are not a religious Jew, because the same Bible, the same God that requires certain ritual observances — keeping kosher, observing the Shabbat and the like — says you have to be honest in your business affairs.”

As with Judaism, other faiths have teachings and principles that should serve as guidelines for conducting business ethically. Among them:

Christianity: Henry Spaulding, Christian ethics professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, said the Christian faith should be lived out in all of life, including business.

This holistic approach to morality means “the virtues of graciousness, fairness, justice, generosity and honesty should guide a Christian business scheme for ethics,” he said. […]

Islam: Because Islam looks at itself as a way of life, not just a religion, business ethics cannot be separated from a Muslim’s daily life, said professor Rafik Beekun, author of “Islamic Business Ethics” and co-director of the Center for Corporate Governance and Business Ethics at the University of Nevada.

“In the Qur’an, man is described as the trustee of God on earth, so he must act in accordance with the conditions of that trust,” he said. “The role model for Muslims is the Prophet, and the word that God uses to describe the Prophet’s pattern of behavior is khuluq, which is a derivative of the word ‘ethics.’ So the role model for Muslims should be a model of behavior that is based on ethics.” [more]