Legal scholars often talk about balancing religious freedom and the concept of discrimination. It is evidence of where we are as a culture that we are now balancing religious freedom and the deer population. This is why ministry leaders need to fully understand the state of religious freedom in the United States. Here are Facts #4-#7 about religious freedom:
#4 Ministries May Limit the Use of Their Facilities: Many churches are concerned that they will be classified as “public accommodations” and required to host ceremonies or events that conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs. As private, religious organizations, ministries have every right to limit the use of their facilities to events or activities that are consistent with their doctrine. Ministries that maintain facilities for public use (such as community athletic facilities or schools that participate in public leagues) are in the greatest danger of being targeted by lawsuits. Ministries should measure ministry impact against legal risk in determining facility use.
#5 Ministries May Require Employees to Follow a Code of Conduct: The 2012 Hosana-Tabor Case firmly established the ability of a Christian ministry to hire and fire its ministerial employees based on religious doctrine. This case is critically important because it protects the ability of ministries to shape their mission and future through faithful leadership. Ministerial employees are generally employees that are tasked with teaching or communicating religious doctrine. Further, ministries may require employees to follow a code of conduct.
#6 Churches May Make Membership and Discipline Decisions Based on Doctrine: Churches may limit membership to those individuals with the religious principles and mission of the Church. Churches may also discipline members for violating the Church’s Statement of Faith. Churches should carefully explain their religious beliefs and tie any such membership and discipline policies to those beliefs.
#7 Ministries Will Determine the Future of Religious Freedom: Ministries must define what they intend to defend and defend what they intend to deliver to the next generation. The willingness of ministries to strongly and winsomely stand for what they believe will decide the future of religious freedom in the United States.
If you missed part I of this discussion, you can find it here.