Media Contact:Dean Owen
Federal Way, WA (October 3, 2011) — Today’s action by the U.S. Supreme Court represents a major victory for the freedom of all religious organizations to hire employees who share the same faith — whether Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, or any other religion.
The right of religious organizations to hire people who share common beliefs and values is one of the great freedoms of our diverse nation and one of the foundational strengths of our democracy. The action by the U.S. Supreme Court protects this right for future generations.
The rationale behind the statute protecting this right extends to a wide array of other organizations. In America, we cherish opportunities to form associations around shared values, whether we are Republicans or Democrats, Christians or Muslims, liberals or conservatives. Indeed, many organizations, whether religious or not, often choose to hire those who embrace their most important values.
World Vision is grateful to the court for upholding the nearly 50-year-old legal provision enabling religious organizations to hire people who share common beliefs. The court's action upholds a key provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act preserving faith-based organizations' religious integrity without fear of government intervention.
It is important to note that World Vision serves all people equally, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
Our Christian faith has been the foundation of our work since the organization was established in 1950, and our hiring policy is vital to the integrity of our Christian identity. Agreeing to and signing the statement of faith always are conditions of employment at the U.S. offices of the Christian humanitarian organization. The request the nation's highest court rejected was an appeal involving three former employees who were terminated in 2007 because they no longer agreed with World Vision U.S.'s statement of faith. This was not a minor disagreement, but rather a rejection of the core beliefs of our Christian faith.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 in August of 2010 that World Vision qualifies as a religious organization under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, thereby, upholding our decision to release the three employees. Previously, a federal district court judge dismissed the former employees' case.
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.