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US bishops welcome Supreme Court decision on ministerial exception

Catholic World News - January 12, 2012

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has welcomed the Supreme Court’s unanimous landmark decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“The Supreme Court decision marks a victory for religious liberty and the US Constitution. Freedom of Religion is America’s First Freedom and the Court has spoken unanimously in favor of it,” said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. “The Founding Fathers would be proud.”

“Respect for the long-standing ‘ministerial exception,’ which is grounded in the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment and prevents the government from interfering in the employment relationship between a Church and its ministers. This decision makes resoundingly clear the historical and constitutional importance of keeping internal church affairs off limits to the government--because whoever chooses the minister chooses the message. It’s a great day for the First Amendment.”

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