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Philadelphia, PA—A recent and rare U.S. Supreme Court unanimous decision has proponents for religious liberties cheering. And the decision also has beneficial implications for Christian-based rehabilitation and referral programs.
The recent Supreme Court decision reversed a previous ruling that ordered a Lutheran church to pay compensation benefits to a dismissed minister. The Supreme Court found that the government had no right to interfere in the hiring or dismissal practices of a religious denomination.
The implications of the case run deep, with one legal analyst stating that “the church cannot administer the state, and the state cannot administer the churches.” For example, the case has set a precedent that religious schools and institutions will not be required to hire potential employees who may not be in line with their core beliefs.
The decision is beneficial to religious organizations such as church-affiliated or Christian rehabilitation services.
To serve those who need Lighthouse’s services, while keeping in line with our mission and core beliefs, Lighthouse employees, for example, must have a certain set of expertise about the Christian faith and belief system of our organization. This knowledge isn’t only ‘book knowledge’ but actual applied knowledge as evidenced by the lives our staff members lead. Without both of these sets of knowledge and proven application skills, a person is not qualified to work in these Christian- and religious-based organizations.”
If religious-based groups aren’t careful, however, the case could have negative implications as well.
The statement that ‘the church cannot administer the state and the state cannot administer the church’ can be dangerous and loaded. We want the church to ‘administer’ the state, or at least allow a Christian worldview to influence policy, behaviors, laws and activities. By saying, ‘We’ll stay out of yours and you stay out of ours,’ some will want legislators to check their faith at the door and not allow it to influence Supreme Court selections, military actions, abortion, health care, social policy, same-sex marriage, taxation, fiscal policy and a plethora of other social issues.
This separationist view of leaving faith-based values out of decision-making is quite flawed, especially when the science validates the faith based principles.