There is an interesting ruling out of England’s highest court, which found that a Jewish school was guilty of race discrimination by refusing to admit pupils who are not considered ethnically Jewish. The ruling is the latest example of the collision course between anti-discrimination laws and free exercise of religion (and free association). For a prior paper on that conflict, click here.
We previously followed a related case, here.
The rule was established by Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, who recently blamed secularism for the decline and potential fall of Western Civilization, here. He insists that only children with Jewish mothers (recognized in Orthodox synagogues) are truly Jewish.
In a close vote, the court ruled that the Jewish Free School (JFS) in London violated the law when it refused to admit a Jewish man’s son because his wife was not viewed as Jewish under the rules established by the Chief Rabbi.
Supreme Court President Lord Phillips held: “The majority of the court has concluded that the JFS admission policy does discriminate on the grounds of ethnic origin and is, in consequence, unlawful.” However, all religions are at base somewhat exclusionary and, yes, discriminatory. It is based on faith and should, in my view, be protected as part of free exercise of religion.
The 12-year-old boy’s mother converted to Judaism at a progressive synagogue.
Interestingly, the parents of children at the JFS could be atheists, and practising Christians, were allowed to attend the school as long as their mothers are considered Jewish.
For the full story, click here.