There has been a great deal of attention given to the controversy over the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive insurance mandate for religious groups. Millions of Americans, including many Democrats and many Protestants and other non-Catholics recognize this as an assault on religious freedom.

But the HHS mandate is only one of a growing number of attacks on America’s First Freedom. In January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. This was a case in which a dismissed teacher in a Lutheran school sued, claiming discrimination. The parent church body—The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS)—has always commissioned its teachers as ministers.

The courts have for decades recognized a “ministerial exception.” That means if you dismiss your priest, pastor, or rabbi, the government is not going to get involved in the internal matters of a church or synagogue. It’s a vitally important principle to keep the state from becoming “excessively entangled” in church governance.

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