Supreme Court: Religious Discrimination OK For World Vision


Sometimes the Supreme Court makes news not in the cases it agrees to hear, but in those it chooses not hear.

That’s what happened at the start of the 2011 term when the court refused to take up the appeal of three former World Vision employees who had been fired in 2007 because they did not agree with World Vision’s U.S. statement of faith, which World Vision says is a condition of employment.

The nonprofit is the largest in the state of Washington has the right to hire or dismiss employees based on their religious affiliation. The Supreme Court, in refusing to hear the case, upheld the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which held that World Vision qualifies as a faith-based humanitarian organization and is exempt from the Civil Rights Act.

“Our Christian faith has been the foundation of our work since the organization was established in 1950, and our hiring policy is vital to the integrity of our mission to serve the poor as followers of Jesus Christ,” said Richard Stearns, World Vision U.S. president, in a statement.

“Today’s action by the US Supreme Court represents a major victory for the freedom of all religious organisations to hire employees who share the same faith – whether Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, or any other religion,”  Stearns said.

World Vision employees approximately 30,000 people around the world.


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Photo from steakpinball via flickr.


Thomas A.
Thomas A6 years ago

Well, the Catholic Church is free to deny communion to anyone non-Catholic, even their own kind if they don't meet sufficient criteria. Why would this be any different? If it is a religious organization, and non-profit, and the law provides for that, then I guess they are free to do that.

This is a big discrepancy with freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination - when are organizations practicing their faith, and when are they discriminating?

That is something the Court should have heard, unless the legal precedent to date is pretty clear already (I have no idea if it is or not).

antonia maestre
antonia maestre6 years ago

"When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion."

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

If an organization states up front it is religious and it is a church or nonprofit that's one thing- but if its a business then NO this is not right.

Jim Gayden
Jim Gayden6 years ago

Steve R advocates discrimination. If you want to feed the masses, don't give them rice. Better to teach them how to grow rice. If you want to work for an auto manufacturer, but don't have the skills, should you just give up? If you want to become spiritual, but don't want to limit your spirituality to Christianity, should you just not become spiritual? Or should you just become another Christian clone that lacks the enlightenment of true sprituality?

Jim Gayden
Jim Gayden6 years ago

Lindsey D. Don't most religions follow their own version of a book that was inspired by their "god"? If so, then they are all basically the same. If not, then they are being hypocritical. If they can't follow the teachings of their own deity, then what is the purpose of following that religion? In my opinion, most religious people don't take responsibility for their own actions, because their deity will forgive them, if they believe in that deity. It enables them to justify what atrocities they advocate! All they have to do is pray for forgiveness. Take responsibility, and do the right thing, simply because it's the right thing to do. Then you can learn to forgive yourself, and not be so judgemental of others. The Goodwill has/had a CEO that makes millions. Your other examples probably have similar CEO's. And why shouldn't Dem's and Rep's try to figure out what is best for all, rather than the Dem. making the sacrifice, just so the Rep. can look at him as being weak, and stab him in the back. Religions should not be exclusive. They should at the very least try to be inclusive to at least make them appear to not be hypocrits.

Ray M.
Ray M6 years ago

Shameful. I don't believe religious organizations should be exempt from anything including clvil rights or taxes. Everyone, including non profits who live and do business in America should be subject to same laws we, the people are subjected to. They've gotten away with this for too long. it's time to pony up.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

So if World Vision is a charity and they also are devout Christians, how much money do they spend on aid and how much do they spend on spreading Christianity?

Nicholas Rudolph
Nicholas Rudolph6 years ago

This is another example of the Theocracy that the pro-republican, unethical supreme court is trying to force one the American people. I happen to be christian, but I sure don't want anyone saying that I have to be christian to be able to work. I think the Worldvision non-profit status should be re-evaluated as they are obviously are generating huge profits that are going into executive bonuses and payouts to politicians to get this kind of issue to disappear.

Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

Actually, Phil, World Vision's financials show that for 2010, 85% of their monies go go towards their charitable programs (only 5% goes to management). And they're well rated.

Carole H.
Carole H6 years ago

Good point Phil W. that was something that bothered me too - why should a family whose son had sponsorship to the tune of at least say 50 US dollars a month(I paid in UK pounds) have to move to another village anyway? and lose that sponsorship always thought that was suspect.