The Supreme Court has been called on to deliver the constitutionally protected right to practice its religion to a Christian homeless ministry in Seattle.
The request is coming from Kristen Waggoner, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been representing Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
The problem is activists in the state court system “rewrote state employment law to force the Mission to hire a lawyer for its legal-aid clinic who refused to follow the Mission’s religious-lifestyle requirements, was not active in a local church, disagreed with the Mission’s beliefs, and applied for the position with the stated intent of changing those beliefs.”
Kind of like hiring a retired Republican senator to run the Democrats’ senate campaigns. Or worse.
Waggoner explained the “search-and-rescue vans” from the mission “deliver lifesaving care and supplies to men and women living on the streets. They bring light to the darkest places in the form of a wool blanket, food, water, and the offer of a warm bed at a safe shelter, but most importantly, they bring hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
Its work is in a city “racked” with homelessness at this point. Its roots date to the Great Depression, when it began as a soup kitchen.
The state Supreme Court ruling to rewrite employment law is “unprecedented,” Waggoner wrote.
“The idea that the government can force any religious nonprofit to hire someone who is actively protesting those beliefs is unconscionable. If the government can dictate who the Mission can hire, it can also demand that a synagogue employ a Christian, a Muslim ministry hire those living inconsistent with the Quran, or a Catholic school employ an atheist,” she wrote.
“Simply put, Washington state does not have this power under the U.S. Constitution, which is why we have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case. This decision has enormous ramifications not only on the future of the Mission and Seattle’s homeless crisis, but on every other religious nonprofit in America – and whether we still honor religious freedom.”
She warned that neither alternative the state judiciary has created for the outreach is acceptable: One would be to stop serving the homeless and the other is to stop following the Bible.
“It’s precisely because of its biblical beliefs and evangelization that the Mission is so effective and respected in a city desperately in need of meaningful solutions for homelessness. Indeed, the Mission understands that addressing homelessness means a lot more than just giving someone shelter – it requires a holistic approach of caring for the individual’s body, mind, and spirit,” she explained.
She charged those in Washington state who are fighting the mission are “so committed to forcing their own ideologies on others that they are willing to let their most at-risk residents suffer.”
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