CV NEWS FEED // A Chicago federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Roncalli Catholic High School in Indianapolis was within its First Amendment rights to dismiss a guidance counselor who had entered a public “same-sex marriage” in defiance of Catholic teachings.
The court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the former school employee, who accused the school of violating anti-discrimination law. The court cited the religious freedom of the school and of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in dismissing the case.
CatholicVote Communications Director Joshua Mercer hailed the decision as a significant victory for religious freedom. “It’s a powerful reminder that America is still the country we grew up in that a federal court would reassert this fundamental truth: The First Amendment allows Catholic schools to employ people whose lifestyles are compatible with the moral teachings of Catholicism,” Mercer said.* “This is a VERY important victory!”
“Religious groups have a constitutional right to hire individuals who believe in their faith’s ideals and are committed to their religious mission,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket Law, who represented the school and archdiocese in court. “Our justice system has consistently ruled that the government cannot intrude on a religious organization’s choice of who will pass on the faith to the next generation.”
“Catholic schools are tasked by the Church to uphold the dignity of every human person and teach the fullness of the Catholic faith,” Goodrich added. “The Seventh Circuit’s decision ensures that religious schools can remain faithful to their mission.”
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita celebrated the decision, which he had pressed for in January by leading a 16-state amicus brief supporting Roncalli and the archdiocese.
“All the leftist woke-ism in the world cannot compete with the wisdom of America’s founders as embodied in the First Amendment,” said Rokita:
Just like the founders, we must remain resolute in resisting governmental intrusion into matters of faith and doctrine. Hoosiers have the right to worship as they choose, and churches have the right to uphold the beliefs they consider sacred.
* An earlier version of this story had incorrectly quoted the word as “incompatible.” We regret the error.