One of the most important religious cases disputed in years, involving the separation of church and state, will soon come before the U.S. Supreme Court. The legal battle could change whether or not the federal government can dictate or interfere with church authority.

Arguments in the case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will be heard Oct. 5. The case centers on “ministerial exception,” which is a law that has been on the books for some 40 years.

This “exception” protects churches and other religious groups from discrimination claims against them including issues on hiring and firing employees.

The high profile legal dispute involves Cheryl Perich, a former fourth grade teacher at the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church School. Perich was fired for insubordination and disruptive conduct in 2005. The church congregation that same year approved her termination.

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