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Court: World Vision can Hire, Fire Based on Faith

The Ninth Circuit ruled that the humanitarian group is a religious organization under the law.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling this afternoon allowing the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision to base its hiring decisions on matters of religious belief.

Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain authored the three-judge panel's majority opinion, which declares World Vision a "religious organization" and therefore exempt from the rules on hiring practices that Congress set down in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, mainly because it is a nonprofit entity which self-identifies as religious.

"This is a significant victory for World Vision's religious hiring rights," said Dean Owen, World Vision's director of media relations. "The right of faith-based organizations to hire people who are co-religionists, who are of their own faith, has been law in this country for nearly 50 years."

Three former World Vision employees, Silvia Spencer, Ted Youngberg, and Vicki Hulse, sued after World Vision fired them in 2006 for disagreeing with central tenets of the organization's ...

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