Does the Recent Supreme Court Ruling on Sex Discrimination Threaten Religious Freedom?

June 22 2020

In the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court ruled that protections against discrimination on the basis of sex found in the 1964 Civil-Right Act apply to homosexuals and transsexuals as well. That means, for instance, a company cannot refuse to hire someone because he is gay, or transsexual. To the traditionally religious, the ruling, issued last week, raises some serious concerns. Can an Orthodox synagogue be sued for not hiring a gay rabbi? Must conservative Christian schools allow men who identify as women to live in women’s dormitories? David French believes the threat to religious liberty, although not negligible, is nowhere as grave as some fear:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—the same statute at issue in Bostock—contains a provision specifically designed to protect the autonomy of religious organizations. . . . It’s true that this carveout does not allow the religious organization to discriminate on other grounds (such as race or sex), but it does allow them to filter out all applicants who do not share the group’s faith.

Religious employers, [moreover], are completely exempt from nondiscrimination statutes when hiring and firing “ministerial” employees. The ministerial exception may well be the key firewall protecting church from state.

If there’s a single question I’ve received more than any other, it’s this: does Bostock mean that religious schools will now have to alter policies regarding dorm rooms or sexual conduct to comply with federal prohibitions against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination? The short answer is no. The longer answer is nope, not unless they choose to be subject to Title IX, the federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs and activities.

If anything, French writes, the trend in the federal jurisprudence of recent years has been to strengthen such protections for religious freedom, suggesting that these will survive new challenges as well. He concludes:

[I]t is true that in some respects religious liberty is “under siege.” There are activists and lawmakers who want to push back at multiple doctrines and some radicals even dream of revoking tax exemptions from religious organizations that maintain traditional teachings on sex and sexuality. But if the siege is real, then so is the citadel. People of faith in the United States of America enjoy more liberty and more real political power than any faith community in the developed world.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Freedom of Religion, Homosexuality, Supreme Court, Transsexuals


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy