Greg Baylor

 

After months of deliberation, the University of Texas at San Antonio Career Center has
agreed to post job announcements for a pro-life, Christian residential home for needy pregnant
women. UTSA originally declined to post the announcements on the ground that they
were "discriminatory."
 
In this case, Adoption Priorities, a Christian organization that provides adoption services,
recently launched the Amaris Home Project. The project provides assistance to expectant
mothers by providing a safe and compassionate home in which they may reside during their
pregnancy. Adoption Priorities desired to hire "house parents" who would live at the facility,
serve the needs of the residents, and act as Christian role models for them.
 
Amanda and Mitchell Way, Adoption Priorities' leaders and UTSA alumni, sought to post a job
announcement at the career center. Current students and alumni use the center to find jobs. The
announcement stated that Adoption Priorities was seeking a "pro-life married Christian couple"
who would provide "care, oversight and spiritual guidance" to a group of up to four women
living in the home. One spouse was required to have Christian ministry experience.
 
UTSA rejected the announcement as written, indicating that requiring the house parents to be
pro-life and Christian was impermissibly discriminatory. Under the logic of UTSA's position,
Adoption Priorities could not post a job announcement at the career center unless it was willing
to hire an atheist, pro-abortion, same-sex couple to serve as house parents.
 
The Alliance Defense Fund wrote a letter to UTSA, explaining that the school was violating
legal protections of religious liberty by rejecting the announcement. The letter also explained
religious employers from their bans on religious discrimination. UTSA refused to change
its mind, and ADF attorneys sent a "notice of claim" under the Texas Religious Freedom
Restoration Act, a necessary prerequisite to litigation. The subsequent communications between
ADF attorneys and UTSA eventually caused UTSA to agree to post Adoption Priorities' job
announcements in their original form. I applaud UTSA for getting it right . . . finally.
 
This situation illustrates a widespread and serious problem. Too many governments are
inappropriately applying non-discrimination rules to religious groups that maintain their religious
character through their personnel choices. They refuse to acknowledge that there is an enormous
difference between, say, General Motors refusing to hire Hindus to work on its assembly lines and a synagogue wanting its rabbi to be Jewish.
 
In some cases, applying non-discrimination rules to religious entities is simply a means for
marginalizing unpopular groups. Hostile government bureaucrats are increasingly using rules
banning discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” to punish organizations that embrace
traditional sexual ethics and reject same-sex “marriage.” Witness the way the Boy Scouts of
America have literally been locked out of public facilities around the country, all because it
requires that its members “not advocate or engage in homosexual conduct.”
 
This simply should not be.
 
The freedom to speak our minds and live out our faith unencumbered by governmental
intrusiveness is guaranteed by the First Amendment. But it’s a guarantee that often seems to
dangle by a thin thread when confronted with political correctness inherent in the misguided
application of non-discrimination policies. The Alliance Defense Fund is in the fight, and plans
to stay in the fight for as long as it takes to make sure our First Liberty is well protected.

Greg Baylor

Gregory S. Baylor is senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (www.telladf.org), a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.