Why the Supreme Court Decision in Favor of Muslim Rights Is Good News for Christians

The Supreme Court sided on the side of religious freedom on Monday, when they found that Abercrombie and Fitch had discriminated against a Muslim girl in 2008, when they refused to hire her because she wore a headscarf.


SCOTUS voted 8-1 in favor of expanding religious expression rights of workers. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the clothing retailer on behalf of Samantha Elauf, who was denied a position at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa at the age of 17, because she covers her hair with a scarf, per her religious beliefs.

"Observance of my faith should not have prevented me from getting a job. I am glad that I stood up for my rights, and happy that the EEOC was there for me and took my complaint to the courts," Elauf said in a statement.

When Elauf interviewed for the job seven years ago with assistant manager Heather Cooke, she was found to be qualified to work there, but her headscarf violated the store's "look policy." Cooke conferred with higher ups, and was instructed that the covering would violate the policy, and Elauf would not be allowed to wear it if hired. 

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The EEOC won in the District Court, but the finding was reversed by the Tenth Circuit before moving to the Supreme Court. The Tenth Court ruled that "the job applicant must tell the employer about their religious belief so they have 'actual knowledge.'"

However, the high court ruled that "Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when the head scarf was a 'motivating factor' in the decision to not hire Elauf." Basically, her right to freely express her religion in the workplace was violated.

As a Christian, I call this one a victory. We should all be allowed to allowed to express our religious beliefs in the workplace, whether it's being allowed to wear a headscarf, or not forcing a photographer or baker to take pictures or make a wedding cake for a gay wedding.

Freedom to practice our own religions is one of the things that makes America great. This is a big victory for every faith -- that an individual's right to practice their religion should not be discriminated against -- even in the workplace.

How would you have ruled in this case?


Image via Hernán Piñera/Flickr

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