Thursday, September 26, 2019

"Church Autonomy" Requires Dismissal of Fired Faculty Member's Claims

In Garrick v. Moody Bible Institute, (ND IL, Sept. 25, 2019), an Illinois federal district court held that the "church autonomy" doctrine requires dismissal of claims by a former faculty member of a religious college that she was terminated because of her advocacy in favor of women serving as clergy members. The court said in part:
Garrick’s disagreement with Moody’s beliefs on the role of women in the ministry underlies the majority of Garrick’s allegations..... Under these circumstances, if the Court were to delve into the disputes posed by Garrick, it would impermissibly inject the auspices of government into religious doctrine and governance.
However the court said plaintiff could refile Title VII claims if they are untethered from her disagreements with Moody’s religious views.