Key point 8-10.1. The civil courts have consistently ruled that the First Amendment prevents the civil courts from applying employment laws to the relationship between a church and a minister.
A federal court in South Carolina ruled that the “ministerial exception” prevented a dismissed teacher at a religious school from suing the school for discrimination. A Christian school offers undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs. The school considers itself a “religious ministry.” As a result, all of its programs, including its undergraduate and graduate programs, “emphasize spiritual development, biblical training, and ministry skills.” The school’s academic catalog describes the university as follows:
We are a dynamic university that trains Christians for global missions, full-time vocational Christian ministry in a variety of strategic professions, and marketplace ministry. . . . We were founded for the purpose of preparing students “to know Him and to make Him known,” as our motto states. That purpose remains the same today. All programs emphasize spiritual development, biblical training, and ministry skills development. . . . We are a multi-denominational Christian institution of higher education dedicated to preparing world Christians to serve God with excellence. Its educational units offer degree programs ranging from associate level to doctoral level. All postsecondary programs emphasize spiritual formation, mastery of biblical content and interpretation skills, cultivation of a biblical worldview, ministry skills development, and vocational competency.