January 12, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday unanimously affirmed the right of churches to make employment decisions without government interference, according to the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, the court ruled that religious groups have a "ministerial exception" from the application of discrimination laws, and that the exception applied to clergy as well as church employees in ministerial positions. NRB president and CEO Dr. Frank Wright said: "[The Supreme Court] has affirmed the constitutional rights of autonomy for religious organizations regarding the employment of their leaders, a reminder that government must refrain from interfering with leadership decisions made by churches. ... Second, it did so in a unanimous decision, a rarity in Washington."