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Supreme Court Says Religious School Can Fire Teacher for Illness

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld for the first time a “ministerial exception” limiting the rights of employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A spokesperson for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod declined to comment, but in an  interview with the Synod's newspaper, its president, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, said, "The Court, in upholding the right of churches to select their own ministers without government interference, has confirmed a critical religious liberty in our country."

In an e-mailed statement, Rev. Barry Lynne, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, echoed the Solicitor General’s concern. “Blatant discrimination is a social evil we have worked hard to eradicate in the United States…” said Lynn.  “Clergy who are fired for reasons unrelated to matters of theology—no matter how capricious or venal those reasons may be—have just had the courthouse door slammed in their faces.”

Josh Eidelson is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. He worked as a union organizer for five years. Check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.

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