The usually liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco recently came down on the side of religious liberty in a case involving World Vision, the well-respected humanitarian Christian organization.
The case involved three employees of World Vision who were terminated after it was learned they denied the deity of Jesus Christ and rejected the Trinity. All employees signed a statement of faith when hired. The statement affirms the deity of Christ and that He is part of the Trinity, which is Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. (Christian organizations such as World Vision would all do well to have a clear statement of faith for potential employees to sign as a condition for hiring.)
The employees filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against World Vision for wrongful termination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The 9th Circuit's job was to determine if World Vision is a religious corporation, which is exempt from the 1964 law.
Common sense would tell us that it is the right of a Christian ministry to hire individuals who share the faith of the organization. Likewise, a Jewish group should not be expected to hire Christians, Muslims or atheists.
The 9th Circuit Court actually reached the correct conclusion about World Vision.
In its 77-page opinion, the Court ruled that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights protected World Vision from having to hire individuals who fail to share the theological beliefs of the ministry. To force World Vision to hire such individuals "could represent an unwarranted intrusion into the organization's own freedom of religion."
It doesn't happen often, but the 9th Circuit Court got it right this time! One can only wonder how Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan will rule on this case if it reaches the high court.