This fourth installment in our series on legal concerns affecting churches addresses governmental interference with church affairs. The church is the primary obstacle to attempts to erode the moral fiber of our country through things like same-sex “marriage.” Efforts to penalize churches that take a stand for biblical morality take many forms, but all of them interfere with the autonomy of the Church. For instance, we are representing a church that has a Christian school in Michigan in EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor. It has been sued over whether it can require teachers who are commissioned ministers to subscribe to church doctrine and act according to it. ADF recently became involved in this case when it was remanded for trial. One of our allies, the Beckett Fund, is representing the school before the U.S. Supreme Court.
There are steps churches can take to make sure they have the ability to hire only those individuals that agree with their religious teachings. Churches should seek legal advice in drafting bylaws and employee handbooks so that their policies are as defensible as possible in the event of a lawsuit. A good place for churches to start is our legal resource, “Internal Affairs FAQs” at speakupmovement.org/church.