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Conservative Lawmakers Sign Brief Supporting Religious Liberty

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and over two dozen other lawmakers signed an amicus brief Monday, supporting Our Lady of Guadalupe School and St. James Catholic School in their religious liberty cases before the Supreme Court. From the brief:

“The teaching of religious principles and customs is at the very core of faith for many, if not most, religions. Yet in the two opinions under review, the Ninth Circuit barely addressed the importance of this aspect of religion. Quite to the contrary, the court minimized the significance of ‘teaching from a book’—a striking position given that most of the world’s major religions consider the teachings found in holy books to be the very essence of their faith.”

“In Hosanna-Tabor, this Court unanimously held that a ministerial exception under the Religion Clauses exists. In this case, the Court should take the opportunity to hold that the exception includes those who execute the profound duty of teaching the faith to the next generation, whether they be called priest, pastor, imam, rabbi, teacher, or nothing at all. Anything less would imperil the religious pluralism of the United States.”

In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, a Los Angeles-area Catholic school chose not to renew the contract of a teacher that a new principal believed was not successfully implementing the school’s fifth grade religion curriculum. The teacher then sued the school for age discrimination. The school then claimed that since the teacher was responsible for religious instruction, the school’s decision not to renew the teacher’s contract was protected by the First Amendment’s ministerial exception from anti-discrimination laws.

In St. James Catholic School v. Biel, a Catholic school chose not to renew the contract of a fifth grade teacher after working for months to improve her performance. Ms. Biel subsequently sued the school. Due to the teacher’s responsibility for teaching, promoting and fostering Catholic identity in her fifth-grade students, St. James Catholic school argued that their decision to not renew her contract was protected by the First Amendment’s ministerial exception from anti-discrimination laws and the district court agreed.

Amicus signatories include:

Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Thom Tillis (NC).

Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Rick Allen (R-GA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Brian Babin (R-TX), Robert Latta (R-OH), Doug Collins (R-GA), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Andy Harris (R-MD), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Jody Hice (R-GA), Steve King (R-IA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Chris Stewart (R-UT.)

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All Information was gathered from publicly available US Government releases. "§105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise. ( Pub. L. 94–553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546 .)"