The Supreme Court did not rule on whether Perich was wrongfully terminated, but instead on whether she had the right to sue at all for employment discrimination. In ruling, the Court upheld what is known as a "ministerial exception," which allows religious bodies to make their own personnel rules in order to promote their religious beliefs without government interference. The Obama administration had argued the church enjoys no special protection under anti-discrimination laws. In its unanimous ruling, the Court rejected that argument as "untenable."
It will be interesting to see if the "ministerial exception" can be extended to the Obama healthcare law in the event it withstands constitutional challenge. A decision is expected this spring. The Health and Human Services Department, under the pro-choice Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is trying to require that health insurance policies include contraceptive and abortion services. Churches will supposedly be exempt from this requirement, but other religious organizations like universities and hospitals will not be.
As Matthew J. Franck wrote last week in the Catholic scholarly publication First Things, "The only "religious exception" offered so far by the Department of Health and Human Services to its contraceptive coverage mandate is an exemption so narrow, for religious organizations that employ and serve only their own co-religionists, that even the ministry of Jesus would not qualify."
There is the potential for further advancement on life and education issues if the Republican presidential candidates talk of informed choice when it comes to abortion and education for children fortunate enough to have been born.
That is, if they are smart enough to do so.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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