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Former Minister Sues for Race and Sex Discrimination

Civil courts cannot interfere with the dismissal of clergy.

Federal
State:
Key point: The civil courts are compelled by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom to refrain from interfering with the internal decisions of hierarchical churches, including decisions regarding the discipline or dismissal of clergy.

• A federal appeals court ruled that a black female could not sue her denomination on the basis of alleged race and sex discrimination for its decision to revoke her ministerial status. After several years serving as a probationary minister of the United Methodist Church, a black female applied for a promotion to the position of "clergy member in full connection" or "elder." A review panel of a Methodist Conference denied her request for a promotion and terminated her employment. She notified the EEOC of her termination. It found no probable cause that the United Methodist Church had engaged in either race or sex discrimination. The woman ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1994

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