Even as Australia and the United States (US) are becoming increasingly secularised, they retain a significant number of faith-based primary and secondary schools. Aware of the tension between changing societal norms and the freedoms associated with religious institutions, the main part of this paper is divided into two sections. The first part surveys the relevant constitutional and anti-discrimination laws in Australia and the US along with exemplary litigation on how these statutes are applied. The second section offers six suggestions for school administrators who are wrestling with the challenge of preserving the faith-based ethos in their schools in the face of pressures to change, particularly in light of changing attitudes with regard to matters of sexuality such as sexual preference and same-sex relationships as they may conflict with religious teachings. The article ends with a brief conclusion.


faith-based schools, primary schools, secondary schools, staffing, freedom of religion, constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, Australia, United States


Copyright © 2017 ANZELA (www.anzela.edu.au/)

This article originally published: -

Thompson, K. and Russo, C.J. (2017) Maintaining religious identity in hiring in faith-based schools: A comparative analysis of Australia and the United States. International Journal of Law and Education, 21, 56-74.

Permission granted by ANZELA for use on ResearchOnline@ND.

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