Christians and the Public Good

Can Christian organizations insist that their employees believe Christian doctrines and practice Christian ethics? Not as often as they used to, and not as often as you might think they should be able to. The Ontario courts are considering a case of giant judicial implications as they decide whether Christian Horizons, an organization that cares for the mentally handicapped in group homes and other facilities, can insist that its employees share its Christian profession and practice.

They’re in trouble because one of their employees “came out” as a lesbian in a sustained relationship and complained to the Human Rights Commission when Christian Horizons terminated her after reminding her that she had said she would conform to their conservative Christian ethical standards. Despite what she had promised, she now felt ill treated. A commissioner mostly agreed with her grievance, and his finding was so sweeping that Christian Horizons has appealed to the courts.

Read what the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism (full disclosure: I’m their senior advisor) has to say on this and topics related to the question of what public good is accomplished by churches and other Christian organizations.

What do you think? Should Christian organizations (our American cousins treat this matter as the question of “faith-based initiatives”) be free to hire only Christians? Even if they serve non-Christians? Even if they get public funding? No matter what work they do?

(As a bonus on this site, you’ll find an article in which your servant takes yet another kick at the perennially available can of defining evangelicalism, this time in relation to fundamentalism. But it’s not as interesting as the other stuff.)