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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rights of Connecticut Churches Upheld

Interesting decision from the Connecticut Appellate Court (the State's second-highest court) upholding the power of religious institutions over religious employees. In a case in which a Roman Catholic priest was locked out of a church after he claimed he was passed over for promotion because of his race, the Court said,

The constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religious authority requires secular institutions to defer to the decisions of religious institutions in their employment relations with their religious employees. In broader terms, administrative and judicial intervention in religious employment relationships would violate the constitutional prohibition against civil entanglement in ecclesiastic disputes.... The ministerial exception prevents courts or government agencies from exercising jurisdiction over a religious institution’s actions regarding the employment of its ministers.

This is significant in a day and age when we see increasing encroachment on religious liberty.

Background story here from the Stamford Advocate. Hat tip to the Religion Clause Blog.

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