Wednesday, January 18, 2012

USSC to POTUS: "Butt out!"

In a rare unanimous decision (all the more significant in this case), the U.S. Supreme Court told the President of the United States to take his hands off the internal functions of churches in America. The government claimed that a Lutheran church exercised "employment discrimination" when it terminated the services of its minister. No so, the Court said unanimously. Here is part of Chief Justice Roberts' opinion: (Link)
“Requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs. By imposing an unwanted minister, the state infringes the free exercise clause, which protects a religious group’s right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments. According the state the power to determine which individuals will minister to the faithful also violates the establishment clause, which prohibits government involvement in such ecclesiastical decisions.”

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