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Hall of Shame:

Hosannas for the Court

Wall Street Journal editors
Posted: January 11, 2012.

Print: Wall Street Journal

excerpt:

It was a banner day for religious freedom yesterday as the Supreme Court ruled that government can’t tell religious institutions whom they can hire and fire as “ministers.” The unanimous decision was a crushing rebuke to the Obama Administration, which had taken the radical position that churches are little different from any other employer in job disputes.

In the High Court’s latest support for the First Amendment, all nine Justices upheld what’s known as the “ministerial exception” in employment disputes, recognizing a healthy degree of autonomy for churches, synagogues and other houses of worship.

...As in so many of its policies, the Obama Administration’s position reflected both its default preference for government control and its secular indifference to American religious sensibilities. This has become obvious in the contraceptive and surgical sterilization mandates the Administration is trying to impose on Catholic charities and hospitals. In this case the Justice Department’s opinion was so radical that it might have provoked the broad and unanimous Court ruling.

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Comments (7)

Reminds me of people who argued that anti-bullying laws need to include an exception for harrasment supported by faith.

posted on January 11, 2012
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I’m not sure I necessarily disagree in principle with that ruling.  A church has every right not to hire an atheist as clergy as a University has every right not to hire a Creationist for a biology professor.

posted on January 11, 2012
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^ Sure, but religionists support the right of a church not to hire an atheist, while they scream bloody murder if an educational institution doesn’t want a superstitious nut teaching biology.

posted on January 12, 2012
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^ #3 has it right.

posted on January 12, 2012
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Please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, the case wasn’t about a church who refused to hire an atheist as a minister. In most circumstances, it would be quite easy to reject an atheists application, because he would be clearly unqualified for the job (as a creationist is clearly unqualified for a professorship in evolutionary biology).

The case was about the refusal to re-employ a pious person with extensive religious training, who wanted to return to her duties after a year on disability leave because of a serious illness.

So when I understand this correctly, this means that the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School fired somebody because they don’t want a disabled person as minister, regardless that this person is now fit again to perform her duties, and the supreme court decided that this is okay because in this case “religious freedom” counts higher than workplace protection laws.

Needless to say, my respect for organized religions just fell to a new low.

posted on January 12, 2012
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Unfortunately, some EOE businesses, like Scantibodies Laboratory in Santee, CA, are also religious organizations, in a way. It is a company, but the CEO owns a creation museum that is far too intermingled with the biotech firm (part of the company and the museum are in the same building). As far as I know, they haven’t discriminated in hiring, but this new ruling could potentially impact what happens there at at similar places.

posted on January 20, 2012
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* and at similar places

posted on January 20, 2012
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