Local ministry program to appeal court decision to dismiss case

MEDFORD, Ore. – A local Christian non-profit is reacting Wednesday after its lawsuit against the State Department of Education was dismissed. Youth 71Five Ministries filed the suit after it was stripped of $400,000 in grants.

As NBC5 News reported earlier this year, Youth 71Five Ministries filed a lawsuit against the state, after being stripped of grand funds it had been receiving from Oregon’s Youth Community Investment Grant program for years. The lawsuit says a new rule prohibits faith-based organizations from receiving grants if they prefer members of their own faith as employees or volunteers. But last week the suit was dismissed.

Attorneys representing the organization have filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They’re asking the court to uphold the organization’s freedom to hire people who share its faith.

Youth 71Five Ministries Executive Director Bud Amundsen says, “we are very confident in our legal argument. We have a lot of understanding of what the law is.”

“Every religious organization has a right to hire employees and work with volunteers who share its faith and mission. That is protected by the First Amendment and so those are the arguments we plan to make,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel, Jeremiah Galus.

Employment applications for Youth 71Five Ministries include several religious questions, including asking about the applicant’s faith background. And asking them to agree to a statement of faith. They say it’s not fair for the state to expect a Christian ministry to hire people who aren’t religious.

A court date for the appeal has not been set.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content