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Religious schools keep the right to hire for beliefs


A man prays outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday. Associated Press/Photo by Patrick Semansky

Religious schools keep the right to hire for beliefs

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed on Wednesday that the government shouldn’t second guess who fills religiously significant roles in faith-based organizations. The justices ruled 7-2 in favor of two Catholic schools that fired teachers. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

What was the reasoning? Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said both teachers fell under the “ministerial exception,” which protects religious groups from lawsuits for firing people in religious roles. He added that the government should stay out of “matters of church government, as well as those of faith and doctrine.” That includes defining who qualifies as a minister: “What matters, at bottom, is what an employee does.”

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report on how this case reached the Supreme Court.


Seth Johnson Seth is a correspondent for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a journalism student at Bob Jones University. Seth resides in Indianapolis, Ind.

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