Sun-Times Editorial: Justices deliver victory for religious freedom
From the Sun-Times Editorial Board:
The U.S. Supreme Court spoke clearly and firmly on the issue of religious freedom this week, boldly affirming the constitutional principle that prevents government meddling in the affairs of religious groups.
The decision, arguably the most important on religious freedom in a generation, is a crucial victory for religious liberty and a strong affirmation of the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment.
In a unanimous ruling, the court backed the rights of religious groups to hire and fire religious employees without government interference. Specifically, it held for the first time that religious employees working for religious groups cannot sue for employment discrimination. This “ministerial exception” has been recognized by lower courts for years, and the unanimous decision reflects a broad consensus on this topic.
Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. looked at two important societal interests and, in this case, found that religious freedom trumps.
“The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important,” Roberts wrote. “But so too is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs.”