On Tuesday, The Blaze (Obama’s Lawyers Seek to Remove Employment Exceptions for Religious Organizations) reported on “Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” the church and state case that many are calling one of the most important of its kind in recent years.
While this legal battle is far from over, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a separate but related instance, has offered up a major victory to the faith community — Supreme Court Offers Victory to World Vision in Religious Discrimination Lawsuit.
The Supreme Court let stand a 9th Circuit ruling that affirmed World Vision, a Christian aid organization’s, right to fire employees who don‘t share the humanitarian group’s religious beliefs. This, much like the Hosanna-Tabor case, involves the “ministerial exception,” which is a legal doctrine that provides protection to churches and religious institutions, alike, from government intervention in employment decisions.
In describing how faith plays into the organization’s hiring process, World Vision’s U.S. president, Richard Stearns, said in a statement on Monday that it is “…vital to the integrity of our mission to serve the poor as followers of Jesus Christ.”
In this particular case, the former employees who were suing the organization had initially signed a statement of faith (a document that reaffirms that they believe in Jesus Christ and the elements embraced by the organization). But when they could no longer claim that they adhered to these values, they were terminated.
The argument here, as in the Hosanna-Tabor case is that the organization, which involves itself in economic development and disaster relief activities, isn’t entirely a religious organization. Thus, in the eyes of the terminated employees and their legal team, the organization wouldn’t be exempt from Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which forbids religious discrimination). By not hearing the case, though, the Supreme Court offered up a victory to World Vision.
So why does Obama not like the ‘discriminatory religious doctrine’ that church faith organizations can hire and fire based on the employees religion?