Supreme Court Rules in Religious Freedom Cases

Little Sisters of the Poor not required to violate convictions on birth control.

The Supreme Court has recently ruled in two important cases involving religious freedom. Earlier this week opinions were issued in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berry and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania. 

In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berry, the court ruled by a vote of 7-2 that the doctrine that stops ministers from suing religious institutions and churches for employment discrimination, called the “ministerial exception,” also applies to ministers and teachers who teach at religious schools. 

Justice Alito wrote the opinion, noting that the government is not allowed to interfere with churches and religious institutions with regard to faith and doctrine under the First Amendment. The ministerial exception was ruled to include “the selection of the individuals who play certain key roles” and that the “core responsibilities as teachers of religion were essentially the same” as those of ministers, in that they play “a vital part in carrying out the mission of the church.”

The case of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania also saw a 7-2 vote by the court, upholding an exemption from the birth-control mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The opinion allows private employers to opt out of providing such coverage based on religious or moral objections. 

Justice Thomas cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 which determined that other federal laws cannot place a burden on an individual’s free exercise of religion.  

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the Supreme Court as they interpret the Constitution and federal law.
  • For the nation to benefit from the opinions issued by the high court.
  • With gratitude for the exemptions granted to religious institutions and employers protected under the First Amendment.

Sources: Supreme Court,


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