A Gordon College associate professor of social work with an advanced degree in theology applied for promotion to full professorship, but her application was declined in 2016 because her performance fell short of the college’s expectations for faculty scholarship and institutional service. She also revealed that she no longer agrees with significant religious beliefs in the college’s covenantal documents that she had to reaffirm every year of her employment. Nonetheless, she filed suit over the college’s decision.
On February 28, the Supreme Court denied a hearing to Gordon college’s case—for now—and so the case will return to the lower court. Even though the Supreme Court decided not to review this case at this time, we are pleased to see the concurring opinion from four of the Justices explaining that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s “understanding of religious education is troublesome,” Gordon College is free to ask the high court to hear its case at a later stage of litigation. The First Amendment protects the rights of religious colleges to select who teaches its faith or fulfills its mission. The government should not interfere with these religious decisions.