State demands Christians ask permission to follow Bible

By Bob Unruh

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)
(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

Do Michigan residents need permission from elected and appointed officials in Lansing, their capital city, in order to practice their religious faith?

That’s the issue in dispute in a case being handled by Becket for a St. Joseph Parish, and the legal team is arguing against the idea.

The Catholic parish, helped by Becket, is challenging a state law that makes it illegal for the Catholic church and school to hire staff based on their agreement to uphold Catholic religious beliefs and practices.

Becket senior counsel William Haun got right to the point, stating, “Michiganders don’t need a permission slip from bureaucrats in Lansing to practice their religious beliefs. The court should reject this irresponsible law and let institutions like St. Joseph get back to freely serving in their schools, churches, and communities.”

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St. Joseph filed a case contesting the state’s religious ideology, but it was dismissed. It now is seeking permission from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to run its parish and school consistent with its faith.

The dispute is a recurring one, as leftists in government try to impose more and more of their ideology on everyone. Joe Biden’s administration is noted for its attempts to demand that all doctors, including Christians with religious objections, to do transgender surgeries or abortions. The fight also involves imposing similar support requirements for foster parents.

The parish, since 1857, as served the local Catholic community in St. Johns, Michigan.

“In 1924, St. Joseph expanded and opened an elementary school – St. Joseph Catholic School – to provide families in the area with a Catholic education rooted in the teachings of the church,” Becket reported.

“Like many religious schools, St. Joseph hires teachers and staff who support and advance the Catholic faith. St. Joseph also asks all staff – from kindergarten teachers to part-time bookkeepers – to be practicing Catholics and to uphold the faith. St. Joseph also follows Catholic teaching on issues like pronouns and separate girls’ and boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms.”

The conflict arose when Michigan changed its law to include special protections for sexual orientation and gender identity ideologies – with no like protections for faith groups.

The state then told the church it must ask permission from the state’s Civil Rights Commission whenever it wants to ask Catholic employees to follow Catholic teaching, the report explained.

“Michigan politicians are chilling St. Joseph and hundreds of other religious ministries out of staying true to their faith,” Haun explained. “That is irresponsible—the First Amendment prohibits scaring religious institutions into abandoning their religious ways of life.”

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