A teachers union contract for Ferndale Public Schools in Oakland County, Michigan includes a provision that gives “special consideration” to teachers of “the non-Christian faith,” Michigan Capitol Confidential reports.
The contract states: “Should there be two (2) or more of these applicants with equal qualifications for the position and one (1) or more of these applicants with equal qualifications is a current employee, the current employee with the greatest seniority shall be assigned. Special consideration shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith. However, in all appointments to vacant positions, the Board’s decision shall be final.”
Michigan Capitol Confidential points out that the contract, which was recently extended through 2017, may violate Michigan’s civil rights laws. Aside from federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on religion, Michigan’s Civil Rights Act says the state “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
President of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Richard Thompson, says “This just strikes me as so un-American that they can put in open language for people to see that they are going to be discriminating against Christians. Why would they be discriminating against Christians? They are not supposed to be discriminating against people for their religious beliefs. It’s outrageous. And I believe it’s unconstitutional.”
Thompson went on to add “Now, they are going to ask people, ‘Are you a Christian?’ Are people going to hide their faith so they can get a promotion? There is a subtle persecution [here] of Christians.”
The website notes that Ferndale Superintendent Gary Meier, School Board President Jim O’Donnell, and union director Tony Scott did not return “several requests for comment.”