No, this is not going to be another one of those Islamaphobic rants about how Sharia law is coming to a theater near you any day now. On the contrary, this will be a Judeo-christian-phobic rant about double standards and where the real threat of religious domination comes from.
Recently, the Supreme Court announced in a unanimous decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC that a religious institution could discriminate in its hiring practices without repercussions. This supposedly falls under freedom of religion. The case involves a woman who took a medical leave from a Lutheran school due to a diagnosis of narcolepsy. Upon returning from leave she was told her job had been taken and there was no further work for her. When she threatened to sue, she was fired. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took on her case as a violation of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) protections.
I have no problem with the case being adjudicated solely on the basis of the legitimacy of the ADA claim. What I find disturbing is that the religious affiliation of the school had any impact whatsoever on the case. According to an article in the Washington Post:
Richard W. Garnett, director of Notre Dame Law School’s Program in Church, State, and Society, said the ruling is the court’s most important decision on religious freedom in decades.
“The government doesn’t get to second-guess religious communities’ decisions about who should be their teachers, leaders and ministers,” he said.
So religion gets to operate outside the law? Is that what we are supposed to believe? It worked so well in the Catholic church where their brand of internal justice ruined the lives of countless children molested by “teachers, leaders and ministers” who happened to be pedophiles.
When exactly do we apply this hands-off standard for religion? Why is polygamy not a protected practice within the Mormon church? Why did they have to renounce the practice to maintain their tax exempt status? Perhaps the Roberts Court would like to re-adjudicate that decision? Based on Hosanna-Tabor, if I were a Mormon minister I would most certainly float a test case reestablishing polygamy as legitimate within the church. The Court has established that our government has no right to extend its legal standards to religious institutions, at least so long as they are Christian.
So, the next time you hear some paranoid rant about how we need to protect America from Sharia law, just think about Hosanna-Tabor. We are already on the slippery slope to religious practice trumping American law.