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-Court: World Vision Can Hire or Fire Based on Faith

by Dr. D ~ August 25th, 2010

World Vision logo (www.worldvision.org)

(Image by Zooomabooma via Flickr)

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, could continue to base its hiring practices and decisions on matters of religious faith.

A three judge panel majority opinion declared that World Vision was a “religious organization” and qualified for the religious exemption to the Civil Rights Act which prohibits hiring or firing based on religious beliefs.

The suit was brought by three former employees of World Vision who were fired for disagreeing with central tenets of the organization’s Statement of Faith. The former employees tried to assert that “religious organizations” were legally limited to “churches, synagogues, and the like” and therefore World Vision violated the law in their firing.

According to 9th Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain:

“If Congress had intended to restrict the exemption to ‘[c]hurches, and entities similar to churches’ it could have said so. Because Congress did not, some religious corporations, associations, and societies that are not churches must fall within the exemption.”

It stated in the majority opinion that a “nonprofit entity” like World Vision qualifies as religious if it:

“1) is organized for a self-identified religious purpose…

2) is engaged in activity consistent with, and in furtherance of, those religious purposes, and

3) holds itself out to the public as religious.”

According to the 9th circuit ruling World Vision meets these criteria.

Dean Owen, World Vision’s director of media relations responded to the ruling:

“This is a significant victory for World Vision’s religious hiring rights. The right of faith-based organizations to hire people who are co-religionists, who are of their own faith, has been law in this country for nearly 50 years.”

“Our Christian faith has been the foundation of our work since we were established in 1950, and we believe that the hiring policy of the US offices of World Vision…is vital to our integrity as part of our mission.”

Response: This is a major precedents setting case where faith-based organizations are concerned. Many similar religious groups have been under legal attacks lately on a number of different fronts.

In this case it was attempted to cast allied faith-based religious organizations like World Vision as being outside of the Constitutional prescriptions and exemptions for the ‘freedom of religion’ in this country. The ruling defined a basis for qualifying faith-based nonprofits as ‘religious organizations’.

For once a bunch of judges actually ruled according to common sense and for the common good. The judges ruled in favor of maintaining ‘freedom of Religion’ in this country as it has been for over 200 years.

If faith-based organizations were no longer allowed to define their own rules of conduct and could no longer limit hiring to people of similar faith or religion than they would cease to exist and become something entirely different than they are now. Freedom of religion in America would then be on the decline, challenged, and severely limited.             *Top of the Blog

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1 Response to -Court: World Vision Can Hire or Fire Based on Faith

  1. -Obama Administration to Force Faith-Based NPO’s to Hire LGBT Folks? | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] not only by World Vision but other Christian NPO’s which take money from the Feds. However, the 9th Circuit gave World Vision permission to hire based upon religious faith in 2010 but this new development could change all of that considering the massive culture changes in the […]

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