The erosion of the rights of Believers continues at a dizzying pace. A landmark decision in Massachusetts now sets the stage for a continued attack upon those espousing Conservative Christian values. A Catholic preparatory school for girls, whose mission is
“the education of young women rooted in gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church,”
is learning this lesson the hard way.
In 2013, the Fontbonne Academy sought to hire a food services director and offered the job to applicant Matthew Barrett. During the interview process, Mr. Barrett was told that all school employees were expected to model Catholic teachings and values. Mr. Barrett responded his willingness and ability to abide by the school’s standards. The school extended the offer of employment and he accepted.
A few days later, that offer of employment was rescinded. On his new employee form, Mr. Barrett listed his husband as an emergency contact. The school responded swiftly, informing him that they could hire someone in a same-sex marriage because that type of relationship isn’t consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. This marriage failed to meet the criteria of living up to and upholding the teachings and values of Catholic and Bible doctrine.
Matthew Barrett filed a lawsuit against the Academy, challenging the school’s policy. In December of 2015, a judge ruled in favor of Mr. Barrett, stating the school had acted contrary to Massachusetts law by discriminating against Matthew Barrett based on his sexual orientation. The judge argued that since the school accepts students of all faiths and because a food service director does not meet the criteria of a “minister of the Gospel,” the school does not qualify for a religious exemption.
The judge failed to take into consideration that the Catholic Church has always opposed same sex marriage and that the Academy’s hiring agreement clearly stated all employees were expected to support and model Catholic teachings. This ruling punished a religious school for hiring someone living a lifestyle expressly considered as sinful both in Catholic teachings and in the Word of God. Sadly, the judge ignored the specific exception under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
“Religious Organization Exception: Under Title VII, religious organizations are permitted to give employment preference to members of their own religion. The exception applies only to those institutions whose “purpose and character are primarily religious.” Factors to consider that would indicate whether an entity is religious include: whether its articles of incorporation state a religious purpose; whether its day-to-day operations are religious (e.g., are the services the entity performs, the product it produces, or the educational curriculum it provides directed toward propagation of the religion?); whether it is not-for-profit; and whether it affiliated with, or supported by, a church or other religious organization.
This exception is not limited to religious activities of the organization. However, it only allows religious organizations to prefer to employ individuals who share their religion.” (Emphasis mine.)
Webster’s defines religion as,
“a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”
In ruling against the Academy, the judge ignored the religious institution’s right to hire individuals of like faith and practice. Of course, people warned of this government overreach and outcome prior to the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in 2015. Now, those staunchly opposed to redefining the marital relationship instituted by God, find themselves in the cross hairs of a culture adamantly opposed to all things Christian.
The fate of Christianity and Conservatism hinges not on the outcome of the 2016 election cycle. (Although, we definitely need to elect an individual that embraces Christian values and American Exceptionalism.) No, the future of this great nation depends upon Christians fervently practicing the following:
1. Humbly repenting of sin (II Chronicles 7:14)
2. Seeking God (II Chronicles 7:14)
3. Praying for our Country and for God’s Spirit to move mightily (II Chronicles 7:14, I Thess. 5:17)
4. Being Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16)
If we faithfully adhere to God and His Word, He pledges to
“hear from Heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.”
If we as a Country ignore Him, boo Him, or flatly deny His existence, then future generations might read of America as only an asterisk in the history books of the world. Our children and children’s children deserve a better outcome. I’m praying for a better outcome.