HomeRights, Justice, and Culture NewsA Victory for Religious Freedom, Amid Challenges

A Victory for Religious Freedom, Amid Challenges

A victory for religious freedom at the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of a postal worker comes amid broader challenges.

By Eileen Griffin

In the case of Groff vs. DeJoy, the Supreme Court sided with an employee requesting religious accommodation at work.

The 9-0 decision in the Groff case clarified what an employer’s obligation is when faced with a request from an employee asking for an accommodation of his faith, the Washington Examiner reports.

A postal worker, Gerald Groff, had asked to have Sundays off because of his religious belief that Sunday is meant to be a day of rest. He resigned when he was regularly assigned to work on Sundays despite his efforts to switch schedules with co-workers.

Groff sued the U. S. Postal Service and when his case went to the Supreme Court, he was vindicated.

After a 1977 Supreme Court ruling on religious accommodation in the workplace, employers easily found ways to reject the accommodation. Justice Samuel Alito called that  previous interpretation “erroneous.”

“This 9-0 ruling is a boon for religious liberties because it gives more guidelines to workplaces and protects people of faith,” Nicole Russell wrote in the Washington Examiner.

Intolerance at Work

This decision is important, as recent evidence indicates a significant loss of religious freedom, particularly in the workplace. The Alliance Defending Freedom‘s Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, released in May, suggests religious freedom face challenges in the workplace.

“It concerns me greatly,” Dr. Michael Brown, a biblical scholar, author, and speaker told Heartland Daily News when asked about the loss of religious freedom. “There has been a healthy pushback lately with Supreme Court rulings, but it has been going on for many years. Back in 2004—almost 20 years ago—I saw the LGBTQ+ activism was already the principal threat to religious freedom. It’s been unfolding rapidly ever since.”

Businesses have been freely discriminating against people of faith, as Heartland Daily News previously reported. People have lost their jobs. Both individuals and organizations can lose access to banking services if they are deemed to be counter-cultural.

Brown says there are several reasons businesses have entered politics on the side of LGBTQ+ and the woke culture.

“There is a perception that gay or transgender is the new Black,” Brown says. “We want to make amends and not repeat our bigoted past so this is the new cause.”

Politically Engaged Christians

There are financial pressures that work against companies, and there is also a spiritual side, Brown says.

“Christians need to help point us in the right direction,” Brown said. “Christians need to push against (these agendas) and be the salt and the light. It is biblically designed. The salt and the light will balance out society.”

Many people of faith shy away from political issues. Some churches also discourage parishioners from involvement in politics and issues of the world, directing the faithful to keep their attention on the Kingdom, says Brown.

“They are doing a terrible disservice to their people,” Brown said. “Their people live in this world. Their children are being indoctrinated in the schools. They have to deal with these businesses and go to work. This is not being political. It’s being pastoral.”

Religious leaders have a role to play in fighting the anti-Christian influences in the world. Sitting quietly on the sidelines is not biblically supported, says Brown.

“The Kingdom of God has implications in this real world,” said Brown. “If we fail to understand this, we fail to understand the Kingdom of God. How do we view Christian leaders who stayed silent during times of slavery? Christian leaders who were quiet during the time of the Nazis? We find them to be morally culpable. The same is true now. They are morally culpable.”

Litigating Liberty

In 2020, Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO and Chief Counsel for the First Liberty Institute wrote in an opinion column for Newsweek about the state of religious freedom in the United States. Shackelford says while there have been some victories in the courts, the threat to religious freedom continues unabated.

“Since 1940, litigation on religious liberty has exploded at an alarming rate in nearly every area of religious life: school prayer, legislative prayer, release time education, religious land use, distribution of religious literature, conscientious objection, wearing religious head coverings in military service, the Pledge of Allegiance, religious beard length and so forth,” Shackelford wrote.

“In the face of such hostility toward religion and religious freedom, the faithful have celebrated the progress made in recent years in the courts,” Shackelford writes. “But wins to defend freedom in court, as the attacks are increasing nationwide, is not fully good news.”

The fact that Americans must go all the way to the Supreme Court to be allowed to bake a cake, create a website, or design a floral arrangement indicates there are serious, and intentional, threats to the faithful, says Shackelford.

“Government officials are using regulations to crush and squeeze out religious freedom across the country,” Shackelford wrote.

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Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin, MBA, Ph.D., is a contributing editor at Heartland Daily News and writes on a wide range of topics, from crime and criminal justice to education and religious freedom. Griffin worked for more than 20 years in leadership roles in the financial industry and is the author of books on business and politics.


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