Religious Liberty On Trial At The Us Supreme Court Today

10.05.11 | Sarah Harnisch

    The rights of religious organizations to set their own hiring and firing practices are being tested today at the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices are hearing arguments on whether a teacher at a church-run school in Michigan is a secular or religious worker under the Americans with Disabilities Act. She got sick, missed the first half of the school year, and then tried to return to work.   She was fired when she sue to get her job back. Dave Masci says "she had been called by the church congregation that owned the school to teach these students. The church is claiming this is a ministerial calling. Courts have previously ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act should not apply to churches or other not for profits - but this woman says her job was secular because she spent most of her day teaching classes "other" than religion. Masci says "where do we draw the line? Who comes in as the exception-- and who doesn't?" Masci is with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. He says this case will define which jobs get a religious-exemption from federal employment laws.