Supreme Court to Hear Religious Hiring Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether churches and ministries have a right to hire or fire employees who disagree with their religious beliefs.

The American Center for Law and Justice has filed a brief with the court, defending the rights of ministries. They argue if a church -- or a school associated with a church -- makes an employment decision, government agencies should not interfere.

"Government clearly has no business choosing priests, rabbis, or ministers. Nor should government agents be ordering church schools to hire or retain teachers the school does not want," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said.

The case, according to the ACLJ's website, involves 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 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 church then successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case. The high court will likely hear arguments on the case this fall.

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