Updated: Apr 11, 2022
Are there any legal protections for Christians?
by Christian, civil trial attorney, RL Johnson
Are there any legal protections for Christians who oppose an un-Biblical job requirement or condition placed on a student’s right to a public education?
Well, as I explain below, the short answer to both questions is yes.
Students of Government-Funded Educational Institutions
A student’s right to request a religious exemption flows from Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which were enacted to desegregate public schools.[i] [RELATED: I am Looking for Assistance Filing a Religious Exemption to College or University's Vaccine Mandate ] Furthermore, Title IV[ii] prohibits discrimination based on religion in government-funded educational institutions. Additionally, Title VI[iii] protects students of any religion from discrimination based on a student's actual or perceived shared ancestry, ethnic characteristics, citizenship, or residency in a country with a distinct religion.
Employers with 15 or More Employees[iv]
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) is implicated where an employee seeks an accommodation from a job requirement due to religious beliefs. Further, an employee’s right to a religious accommodation “pertains to prospective employees as well as current employees.”[v] (RELATED: I am Looking for Assistance Filing a Religious Exemption to My Employer’s COVID Vaccine Mandate)
Indeed, as early as 1972 in the Wisconsin v. Yoder[vi] case courts have required accommodation for religious beliefs. In Yoder, the United States Supreme Court found unconstitutional Wisconsin's application of its compulsory school attendance law to Amish parents who believed that any education beyond eighth grade undermined their entire, religiously-focused way of life.[vii] The Yoder opinion emphasized "the interrelationship of belief with [the Amish] mode of life, the vital role that belief and daily conduct play in the continued survival of Old Order Amish communities and their religious organization," and how as a result compulsory high-school education would "substantially interfer[e] with the religious development of the Amish child and his integration into the way of life of the Amish faith community."[viii]