Court Rules Church Has Right to Hire, Fire Employees Based on Religious Beliefs

Missouri CourthouseBY: Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer 

A Missouri court has ruled in favor of a Catholic diocese’s decision to fire employees that violate the diocese’s religious beliefs.

According to ChristianToday.com, the Missouri court ruled that the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph had the right to fire Colleen Simon from her role as director for social ministries at St. Francis Xavier Parish in May 2014. The diocese found out that Simon was married to another woman.

“Churches should have the right to hire and fire people based on how consistently they live out their religious beliefs. If an employee is undermining or publicly opposing the church’s teaching, the church is within its constitutional rights to terminate employment,” said Jeremiah Galus, legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.

Simon, however, has filed a lawsuit and said the diocese knew she was a lesbian before she was hired in 2013. She said that the diocese misled her into believing that her sexual orientation would not be an issue.

However, a brief from the ADF showed that Simon knew that her sexual orientation could affect her job. “Having worked in various Diocese churches, she would have been aware of the ‘Church laws, discipline, and teaching, and the diocesan Policy on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry’ to which the Diocese adhered,” the brief read.

Publication date: March 10, 2016

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