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Times Are Changing in America – Statements of Faith and Codes of Conduct
The Biden administration has now signed over forty-two executive orders/actions, signaling a dramatic shift in policy in our country. In this episode, we will discuss your organization's statement of faith and code of conduct and why these documents are more critical than ever for your church or ministry.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that government is prohibited from establishing religion or infringing on the free exercise of it. An interesting point to consider is where the First Amendment intersects with employment law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on religion except when the employer is a "religious corporation, association, or society." Churches meet this requirement easily with the understanding that a church is, by its very nature, a religious corporation.
However, an important question involves whether or not a charity or nonprofit that has a religious mission and purpose may also be considered exempt. This question has been tested by several courts, and one of the chief pieces of evidence they use to determine if an entity is of a religious nature or not is its statement of faith and code of conduct, which express the organization's religious beliefs, and whether employees must sign or affirm them.
In light of what courts have decided and especially due to the growing threat we face from the current administration, in order to ensure the protections afforded by the First Amendment, we encourage every ministry to develop a code of conduct and statement of faith that clearly articulate its religious beliefs and expectations. You can click here to download a template.