Wyoming Rescue Mission is suing the government

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:02 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Wyoming Rescue Mission has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Workforce Service and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the right to hire Christian employees only.

”The fact that someone choses not to  believe in him, we respect their right. As a Christ centered organization if you reject him, then we just don’t see that as a best fit when were trying to communicate his loving message of care and kindness to the people that we serve,” said Brad Hopkins, Executive Director -Wyoming Rescue Mission.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the Wyoming Rescue Mission or WRM claims they are being stopped from hiring potentially ten Christian employees to help run their organization.

The litigation has been ongoing for the last two years when an applicant who was a non-Christian said he was denied a job for not belonging to the faith.

”We serve everybody regardless of belief or background, personal experience but through the years, our entire history, we hire folks on our staff who share a common faith in Jesus Christ and have the ability to communicate that faith as well,” said Hopkins.

The state lawsuit has now moved to the federal court.

The plaintiff’s counsel denies any claim that the federal Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was violated by any religious discrimination.

”There were several opportunities for the state to get it right, but unfortunately, at every turn, the state, in essence, told us that the particular state statute was not applicable or that somehow the federal law didn’t apply or the U.S. Constitution wasn’t applicable here. So we’re hopeful that the federal court will see very clearly,” Ryan Tucker, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

The WRM is a 501-C3 non-profit that says it is their right under the Wyoming Constitution and the First Amendment to hire like-minded employees.

”You can simply look at Wyoming law, you can look at federal law, and the U.S. Constitution bolsters and exemplifies what really is the standard here. That the idea that religious organizations should be able to hire individuals with the same faith,” said Tucker.

We reached out to the EEOC and were redirected to the Department of Justice, who we have not heard back from in time for broadcast.

We also reached out to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service and they said they can not comment on pending litigation.