ADL Urges Appeals Court to Allow Religious Leader to Challenge Discriminatory Policy
New York, NY, December 1, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged a federal appeals court to allow a Wiccan religious leader to have his day in court to pursue a religious discrimination case.
A Wiccan clergy member challenged as unconstitutional a policy of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that limits paid clergy positions to members of five religions, not including his faith. A court denied him the right to bring the lawsuit on the grounds that he was not the correct party to do so.
Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement:
At a minimum, the plaintiff in this case deserves his day in court to challenge a discriminatory practice. He applied for a job and was told that, because of an exclusionary California policy, he was ineligible. That makes him the appropriate party to challenge the policy and it is puzzling why the trial court refused to hear his case.
In addition, as a taxpayer he should have had the right to challenge the use of government funds that favor certain religions over others. The court's decision to restrict that right is an affront to fundamental American principles of religious liberty.
The case, McCollum v. California, is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. ADL joined several organizations in filing an amicus brief, available here.
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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.