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US Christian ministry asks court to protect freedom to hire people of faith

A Christian nonprofit organisation is asking a US court to protect its freedom to hire people who share its religious beliefs [1] and desire to spread the gospel through its homeless shelter, addiction-recovery programs, outreach efforts, meal services, and health clinics.

The Yakima Union Gospel Mission filed their opening brief last Wednesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit after a lower court dismissed the mission’s case.

The mission will serve anybody, but it furthers its religious purpose by employing likeminded believers who agree with and live out the mission’s Christian beliefs and practices, including abstaining from any sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

In 2021, the Washington Supreme Court reinterpreted state law to prohibit religious organizations, including the mission, from only hiring individuals who share their religious beliefs. Soon after state officials began enforcing the law against religious organisations, and now the mission is threatened with significant penalties for using its religiously based hiring practices.