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World Vision, Christian Humanitarian Organization, Wins Right To Hire, Fire Based On Religion
First Posted: 08-24-10 08:04 PM | Updated: 08-24-10 08:04 PM
By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service
(RNS) World Vision, the Christian humanitarian organization, can fire employees who disagree with its theological tenets, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday (Aug. 23).
In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that World Vision is a "religious corporation" and therefore exempt from a federal law that bars faith-based discrimination.
"I am satisfied that World Vision has met its burden of showing that the 'general picture' of the organization is 'primarily religious,"' wrote Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain. "World Vision is a nonprofit organization whose humanitarian relief efforts flow from a profound sense of religious mission."'
Three employees, two of whom had worked at World Vision for 10 years, were fired in 2006 because they did not believe in the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity, O'Scannlain wrote. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars religious discrimination, but carves out an exemption for companies engaged in a religious purpose, the court ruled.
The decision comes as President Obama is weighing whether the government should help fund religious charities that refuse to hire people of other faiths. White House officials have said the Justice Department is studying the matter, and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis until a final decision is rendered.