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Washington State Probing Seattle Pacific U. Over Supposed Anti-LGBTQ Employment Policy

Washington State Probing Seattle Pacific U. Over Supposed Anti-LGBTQ Employment Policy

“has prompted months of campus turmoil”

Seattle Pacific U. is a Christian school. Student activists actually raised money to fight this battle.

NBC News reports:

Washington state probes Christian university’s anti-LGBTQ employment policy

A private Christian university in Seattle is being investigated by the state of Washington over an anti-LGBTQ hiring policy that has prompted months of campus turmoil.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement Friday confirming his office sent a letter to Seattle Pacific University in early June seeking information regarding its alleged discrimination against LGBTQ staff members through its “employee lifestyle expectations” policy. The policy requires staffers to refrain from “cohabitation, extramarital sexual activity and same-sex sexual activity,” and those who violate it face disciplinary action, including the possibility of employment termination.

The June letter did not outwardly accuse the university of violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws, but it said state prosecutors had “learned of information” that suggested the university was violating state law by discriminating against faculty and staff on the basis of sexual orientation.

The letter asked the university’s general counsel to produce answers to four written questions about the institution’s hiring policy, as well as complaints going back to 2017.

In response to the June letter, Seattle Pacific filed a federal lawsuit in district court last week, saying that based on protections of religion and speech it should not have to comply with the state’s request. The suit alleges the university’s mission of Christian education is “under fire” from Ferguson and that the probe asks about “confidential religious matters” that are beyond the attorney general’s purview.

In the suit, the university confirms it holds “traditional Christian beliefs” about marriage and sexuality. The Free Methodist Church, with which the school is affiliated, believes sexual intimacy should be between a man and a woman but is “committed to the dignity and worth of all humans,” including the LGBTQ community, the suit says.

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henrybowman | August 3, 2022 at 6:17 pm

19th century America cheered the government on in its war against consensual polygamy. You reap what you sow.

(The government is totally welcome to prosecute nonconsensual polygamy, just as it prosecutes nonconsensual anything else.)


     
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    Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | August 4, 2022 at 9:58 am

    This is true. The precedents that inevitably lead to Smith were laid down in the anti-Mormon campaign.

    But I don’t see how this suit can survive Mount Tabor. It seems directly on point. Staff at a religious school are effectively ministers of religion, since the entire point of the school’s existence, and therefore of employing them, is to inculcate religious values in the students.


       
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      Tionico in reply to Milhouse. | August 4, 2022 at 6:18 pm

      A case in tExas a few years back failed. Seems a christian church and school had rules based on plainly laid out bibilcal requirements One of the teachers in the school was learned to be living with her boyfriend in a sexual relationship. Fine if she wants to do that, but NOT while she is a teacher at that relivgious school, wkith clearly laid out rules, the observance of which were conditions to employment/continued employment.She refused to leave the relationship, so was fired for violtioni of clear conditioins for eployment to which she had agreed as conditioins. She tried to sue the school. the judge would have none of it, as she KNEW going in to the position at the school what the requirements were and ignored them. SHe got an extra shock when the judge ordered her to pay ALL legal expenses of the church. She could have not cohabited with the guy, could have married him, could have voluntarily quit the position.But trying to pull her “exemption” out of the rabbit’s hat backfired on her.
      Similar case here. The standards are very clear for all to see. Employment is conditional on observing them. Those who do not wish to yet continue as employees are attempting to remake the school per their own preferences. Not gonna happen. That school is not a “public accomodation” like the flower shop in Kennewick is. Fergie has a sickening track record of persuing legal action as ameans of persecuting peeople who hold to “certain “lifestyle choices” that happen to align with manstream religious standards. The issue here is Fergie. Oh Boy I can persecute a new victim!!!!


         
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        Milhouse in reply to Tionico. | August 4, 2022 at 8:39 pm

        Yeah, but discrimination in employment is illegal. It doesn’t matter that the rules are known in advance. You can’t tell someone before employing them that their employment is conditional on their being white, and if it’s discovered that they’re black (to whatever degree specified) they’ll be fired. That’s illegal.

        But there’s a ministerial exception in the law. Churches are entitled to choose their own ministers by whatever criteria they like. E.g. back before the Mormons got the new prophecy about blacks now being welcome, they were entitled to hire only white ministers. And Mount Tabor says that a religious school is entitled to regard all staff members to whom students are exposed as ministers, because they’re all part of the school’s mission to inculcate its values in the students.

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