Jul 08, 2020

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser released the following statement:

“Today’s decision demonstrates how the Supreme Court continues to redefine religious freedom – twisting what is meant to be a shield that protects us into a sword to harm others. The court elevates a distorted notion of religious freedom over fundamental civil rights. 

“Houses of worship and religious schools get to decide religious matters without government intrusion, but they shouldn’t get a free pass to fire all educators based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability and other categories for which discrimination is legally forbidden. The ministerial exception is meant to apply only to genuine faith leaders. It should not be exploited to justify discrimination against math, gym, and computer teachers, who clearly aren’t ministers.

“Teachers at religious institutions should now demand to know whether their employers consider them ‘ministers’ unprotected against employment discrimination. 

“And now that the Supreme Court has also decided in the Espinoza case that private school voucher programs must include religious schools, it is doubly important to eliminate those taxpayer-funded programs, which will pay religious schools to discriminate against their employees.

“Religious freedom and civil rights are fundamental American values. One shouldn’t come at the expense of the other.”

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. Learn more at www.au.org