Non-Church Religious Charities Free To Staff According To Religion
A victory for religious freedom from the Supreme Court:
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in an important religious freedom case called Spencer v. World Vision.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that was sued by two former employees who alleged they had been fired for religious reasons.
In general, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits religious-based employment decisions. However, Title VII expressly protects the freedom of religious organizations to staff on a religious basis.
The question in the World Vision case involved the scope of the Title VII religious staffing freedom: Does that freedom apply to independent religious charities, such as World Vision, or only to traditional houses of worship, such as churches, synagogues, and similar groups and groups closely affiliated with them?
Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided that World Vision qualified for the Title VII religious staffing freedom. That decision stands as a strong victory for religious freedom.
In other words, what the Supreme Court affirmed is that even if a religious organization or charity isn’t a “church,” meaning it doesn’t have regular worship services, it’s still religious enough to consider a person’s religion as a condition of employment. This also goes far beyond Christianity… it means Jewish organizations can hire only Jews, Muslim organizations can restrict hiring to Muslims, Wiccans can exclude non-Wiccans from employment if they want, and so on. This may not sound “fair” (according to the lefty definition of fair), but what it does is ensure that religious organizations can maintain their religious character without being diluted by members of other religions.