The Court took an ax to the trunk of the Lemon tree and replaced it with a vague “history and tradition” rule.
This morning the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Shurtleff v. Boston (Dec’d 5/2/2022) that the city of Boston violated the free speech rights of a Christian group when it refused to allow them to participate in a city flag raising program.
The ethical and moral onus is now on religious institutions as they decide whether to fire “ministerial” employees for reasons illegal in the secular world, such as age or the need for cancer treatment. Institutions engaging in this kind of discriminatory tactic will still need to answer to a Higher Source who will not be impressed with their ability to obtain summary judgment. The way for religious institutions to “win” these cases is to avoid them in the first place by taking the lead in treating employees with the highest degree of care and concern.