Religious schools claim they can’t be sued by their teachers for violating the rights protecting teachers in public schools, citing ministerial exception (“Court to Rule On Bias Laws and Religion In Workplace,” The New York Times, Dec. 19). So far, they’ve been able to get away with outrageous practices. But hopefully that will change when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the matter.
The way it works is quite simple: By calling their employees ministers, the schools have what is essentially diplomatic immunity from suits. In EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, the high court held that teachers can be fired even if they are a protected class.
But the First Amendment should not be allowed to be used as a shield against discrimination suits. To date, religious schools have received broad exemptions from government scrutiny and regulation. Too much religious liberty is as bad as none at all. I hope that the high court finally rules in favor of teachers. It’s a step long overdue.
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