Frederick Mark Gedicks, 𝘕𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘗𝘭𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘮 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘰𝘤𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘐𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘏𝘰𝘴𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘢-𝘛𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘳, 64 Mᴇʀᴄᴇʀ L. Rᴇᴠ. 405 (2013).
Employment Division v. Smith, Establishment Clause structure, free exercise rights, Hosanna-Tabor, ministerial exception, religious exemptions, spirituality
In Hosanna-Tabor Church and School v. EEOC, the Supreme Court recognized for the first time that the Religion Clauses require a “ministerial exception” to federal antidiscrimination laws, holding that religious congregations have a broad and categorical immunity against government interference in ministerial employment decisions.
Hosanna-Tabor is filled with ironies. The case is as much about unjustified discrimination and administrative inconsistency as religious liberty. The Court’s endorsement of the exception as a feature of church autonomy overlooks that churches subvert autonomy as often as they protect it. The exception described by the Court is so broad, absolute, and inflexible that it is likely to be carved up with exceptions and limitations. And finally, the Court goes to this trouble to protect a conception and practice of religion that are quickly passing from the scene.
64 Mercer L. Rev. 405
Mercer Law Review