Supreme Court rejects government control over religion teachers

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of two California Catholic schools this week, finding that the government cannot control a church school’s decision about who teaches its religion classes. In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty defended two Catholic elementary schools that chose not to renew the contracts of two fifth-grade teachers who were not effectively carrying out the schools’ missions. Becket argued that both Church and State are better off when the government doesn’t entangle itself in the internal religious decisions of religious groups about who best teaches the faith to the next generation.

Justice Alito wrote for the Court that for religious schools, “educating young people in their faith, inculcating its teachings, and training them to live their faith are responsibilities that lie at the very core of the mission.” He also wrote about the “the rich diversity of religious education in this country,” citing examples of schools from many different religious traditions.

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