Georgia Lawsuit with Charitable Choice Implications
Lupu, Ira (Chip)
iclupu at MAIN.NLC.GWU.EDU
Wed Oct 16 12:31:37 PDT 2002
Bob Tuttle and I have a published comment on this lawsuit
(Bellmore v. United Methodist Children's Home et al.) on the
website for the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy
(www.religionandsocialpolicy.org; click "Legal" to get to the
comment). The suit involves considerably more than the
employment discrimination issues described in Family News in
Focus. Among other things, the suit includes allegations of direct
state financial support for religious worship, in violation of both the
Georgia and U.S. Constitutions.
If you go to the website, you might want to check out the
Roundtable's Conference here in Washington, DC next week. For
anyone interested in Charitable Choice, this Conference will be
well worth attending.
Jim Henderson wrote:
> Family News in Focus (a Focus on the Family offshoot) reports the following
> story about a suit filed in Georgia state court:
> Ga. Case Threatens Religious Nonprofits
> By Bob Kellogg, correspondent
> A court case in Georgia may impact religious organizations nationwide and
> their ability to engage in charity.
> A lawsuit in Georgia state court might eventually affect religious service
> organizations nationwide that receive government funds. A Jewish therapist
> filed suit against the United Methodist Children's Home in Decatur after it
> refused to consider him for a job because of his faith.
> The home admits Alan Yorker was a top candidate, but the hiring process
> ended when Yorker wrote down that he attended a synagogue. Joining the
> lawsuit is Aimee Bellmore, a former employee who was fired when it became
> known she is a lesbian.
> Greg Baylor, of the Christian Legal Society, is defending the children's
> "What is at stake here is the freedom of religious organizations to maintain
> their character their religious character," Baylor said.
> Ron Bennett, who is director of Family Life Services, a 60-year-old
> nonprofit Christian organization in Colorado Springs, Colo., that helps
> single mothers transition into better situations, said his ministry decided
> from the beginning to operate without government funding.
> "We have really appreciated the freedom we've had over the years," Bennett
> said. "We've seen some other programs go under because they were so
> dependent on governmental funding."
> Baylor said the argument the plaintiffs are using in the case is
> "For some reason, if you get some money from the government in order to
> provide a service to somebody else (they contend) that you cannot be
> religious," Baylor said.
> He added that the view is held by radical activists "who think that
> religious organizations ought to be on the margins of society; that they
> should not participate in public life; that they're not fit to serve people
> with government money."
> Said Baylor: "There's great ironies in a case like this and I'm disturbed by
> this trend."
> Lambda Legal Defense, the homosexual activist law group that represents the
> plaintiffs, did not return calls requesting an interview.
> Religious organizations are exempt from Georgia nondiscrimination laws
> because legislators understand the need for the groups to maintain their
> values. Also, state law does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of
> sexual orientation.
> Jim "More No Good Deed Goes Unexamined" Henderson
> Senior Counsel
Ira C. ("Chip") Lupu
The George Washington University School of Law
2000 H St., NW
Washington D.C 20052
ICLUPU at main.nlc.gwu.edu
More information about the Religionlaw