Bad News for Fired Christian Is Good News for Christian Organizations
U.S. District Court: Broadly religious groups can hire and fire based on faith
Linda LeBoon's case against the Lancaster (Pa.) Jewish Community Center (LJCC) hasn't received much press, but it's a case that should probably get much more attention.
In one sense, you'd expect this headline to be bad news for the evangelical community: "'Jews for Jesus' Concertgoer Loses Employment Suit Against Jewish Center."
The LJCC argued that their firing of evangelical Christian bookkeeper Linda LeBoon had everything to do with economics, and nothing whatsoever to do with her attending a Jews for Jesus concert at her church, where she ran into a Jewish counter-missionary who had conducted a seminar at the center.
An LJCC receptionist testified during the case that the counter-missionary reported LeBoon's attendance at the concert to LeBoon's supervisor just days before her termination. Several LJCC board members were also notified, the receptionist said.
The LJCC fired her for religious reasons, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, LeBoon's lawyers argued. Since the LJCC is "essentially secular," isn't affiliated with any synagogue or denomination, and offers its services to everyone regardless of religion, it can't claim Title VII's exception for religious organizations, LeBoon's lawyer argued. "It isn't spiritual," said Michael Considine, who has argued other religious liberty cases.
Actually, it's spiritual enough, U.S. District Court Judge Jacob P. Hart ruled. LeBoon's case, he said, "fails to take account of the fact that the LJCC seeks to sustain a specifically Jewish community … an environment where all members of the Lancaster Jewish community could feel comfortable participating."
(Hart's decision isn't available online yet, ...
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