Jay Sekulow

Faith & Justice


Jay Sekulow: Victory for Religious Freedom

posted by Jay Sekulow

In an unanimous decision, the Supreme Court today issued an important decision representing a tremendous victory for religious freedom.

The high court concluded that courts should not intervene in the workings of churches. The Justices determined that the First Amendment protects the ability of churches and church schools to select their ministerial employees without government intrusion.

Here’s the background: The case involved a religiously commissioned teacher who taught in a Missouri Synod Lutheran school but was fired after she became confrontational with the school administration. The federal EEOC and the teacher herself teamed up to sue the church, claiming the church “retaliated” against her for threatening to sue over a medical disability.

A federal district court threw the case out on the grounds that the so-called “ministerial exception” to employment laws barred court review of the retaliation claim. But a federal appeals court reinstated the lawsuit, reasoning that the teacher’s religious role and duties were outweighed by her instruction of the students in secular subjects.

The Supreme Court today overturned that appeals court decision. The Court concluded that both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment protects the freedom of churches to select religiously commissioned teachers for their religious grade schools.

In its opinion, the high court concluded: “The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important,” said Chief Justice John Roberts. “But so too is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith, and carry out their mission.”

“When a minister who has been fired sues her church alleging that her termination was discriminatory, the First Amendment has struck the balance for us. The church must be free to choose those who will guide its way,” Roberts added.

We filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of itself and the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.

This decision by the Court will generate a lot of interest and analysis. The fact that the Court was unanimous in this decision underlines how an essential part of religious liberty is the principle that churches and synagogues get to select their religion teachers.

Government has no business deciding who should or should not carry out religious ministry, and we’re delighted the high court reached that conclusion.

Jay Sekulow

 



  • herbprof

    WILL YOU PLEASE GROW UP?
    Will someone please call up the Queen of England and tell her it was all a big misunderstanding. We are not grown-up enough to be really free, and could we please be forgiven, please, pretty please! Because we need our great big pacifier, the protection of the Crown, and our “Queen Mommy!”

    ”Next to go,” are the guns followed by free speech, using the classic call of the sheep, “Baaa!” As we throw the Constitution into the trash can of ancient history! Where it will be said, “this proves that they had a Republic, but they could not understand and live up to its true meaning, too bad!”

    I would be surprised if you could find more then a handful of judges today that could come anywhere close to understanding what Freedom of Religion really means (especially Justice Anthony Kennedy)? Compared to the Founding Fathers John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

    Thomas Jefferson:
    “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”

    PS
    I would like to know who has the guts to go over to the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” and explain this?
    PSS
    I am sure it will take at least a couple of days for the President to stop laughing and repeating over and over “SUCKERS!”

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