Brief Fact Summary. The Appellee, Amos (Apellee), was fired from a job at the Mormon Church after he failed to become a certified member of the Church. He claims a federal statute that permits religious institutions to discriminate on the basis of religion violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution).
Synopsis of Rule of Law. As applied to the nonprofit activities of religious employers, Section:702 of the Civil Rights Act (the Act) is rationally related to the legitimate purpose of alleviating significant governmental interference with the ability of religious organizations to define and carry out their religious missions.
Issue. Whether the application of a provision of Section:702 of the Act that exempts religious organizations from Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination in employment on the basis of religion, to the secular nonprofit activities of religious organizations violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution?
The concurring judge stated his concurrence with the judgment rests on the fact that these cases involve a challenge to the application of the Section: 702 of the Act’s categorical exemption to the activities of a nonprofit organization.
The opinion of the Supreme Court suggests that the effect of the Lemon test is not implicated as long as the government action can be characterized as allowing religious organizations to advance religion, in contrast to government action directly advancing religion. There is little significance to the Supreme Court’s observation that it was the Church rather than the government that penalized the Appellee’s refusal to adhere to Church doctrine. The inquiry should be whether the government’s purpose is to endorse religion and whether the statute actually conveys a message of endorsement.
Rather, Lemon's purpose requirement aims at preventing the relevant governmental decisionmaker from abandoning neutrality and acting with the intent of promoting a particular point of view in religious matters.View Full Point of Law