by Jac La Tour

I owe you an explanation.

Remember the recent court case where three former World Vision employees sued the organization for discrimination based on their religious preferences? The case caught the attention of ministries everywhere, and for good reason. The implications are significant.

I posted a couple months back that ECCU was partnering with the Christian Leadership Alliance and Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons law firm to host a seminar exploring these implications for our ministry members. (See blog posts on September 29 and October 6.)

Sure enough, the event has come and gone—and attendees are still talking about the information gleaned. Hence, my desire to follow up.

Here’s a brief explanation of the most vital takeaways from this event:

  • The mixed opinions by the three-judge panel in the World Vision decision make it even more important that religious organizations clarify their religious origins, religious purposes, and religious activities. (See October 6 post for more details on the decisions reached by the three judges involved in this case.)
  • Clarifying these issues should involve  all organizational and employment documents, including articles and bylaws, employee handbooks, employment agreements and contracts, job descriptions, and applications, to name a few.
  • Churches or religious organizations with any international component should consider the laws that impact international transactions and activities and ensure that they have attended to these requirements before conducting ministries abroad.
  • Many states are passing regulations or statutes that have the effect of requiring religious organization employers to provide benefits contrary to their beliefs.  Such laws require employers to be more scrupulous in reviewing their insurance plans, benefits, and strategies so they can manage their ministry consistent with their values.

Do you have any other helpful resources that address this issue? Post a comment and share them with our readers.

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