On Oct. 5, 2011, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could help determine how much latitude religious organizations have in making employment decisions about clergy and others who perform religious duties. The case centers on a legal doctrine known as the "ministerial exception."
The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the doctrine, but judges in lower federal courts have used it to exempt religious organizations from anti-discrimination laws and other statutes that regulate how employers treat their workers.
The case the high court will take up involves the Hosana-Tabor grade school in Redford, Mich., which was operated by a congregation affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) before the school closed in 2009.
Read the full report, The Supreme Court to Take Up Case On Church Employment Disputes, on the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.