The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The free exercise of religion will be under scrutiny in the Supreme Court this session.
Yesterday CBN News reported:
The US Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on an important religious liberty concern. On Wednesday, the high court announced it will take up two cases which could decide if religious institutions have the right to pick who teaches their religion. Or if the government gets to have the final say.
Both cases will be rolled into one case for a hearing this spring at the court. Both involve California Catholic schools that each dismissed fifth-grade teachers the schools felt were performing their jobs poorly.
These teachers were deeply involved in the religious education of their students. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned lower court rulings and decided neither teacher was so involved in religious teaching that the schools should be allowed to get rid of them.
The article concludes:
Becket ( Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) Executive Director Montserrat Alvarado stated, “Parents trust Catholic schools to assist them in one of their most important duties: forming the faith of their children. If courts can second-guess a Catholic school’s judgment about who should teach religious beliefs to fifth graders, then neither Catholics nor any other religious group can be confident in their ability to convey the faith to the next generation.”
The two cases are Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel. In the Morrissey-Berru case, the Ninth Circuit agreed the teacher had “significant religious responsibilities,” but decided those duties weren’t religious enough for the school to invoke its First Amendment right to control who’s teaching the faith to its students.
The cases involve something known as the ministerial exception. It represents the idea that religious groups involved in teaching their faith can only truly be free from government interference if they have full control of choosing who teaches that faith in their institutions.
Freedom is always one generation away from extinction. We need to protect all of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.