In June 2022, Seattle Pacific University was notified of an investigation by the Washington State Attorney General’s office and a demand for copies of confidential employee information and internal communications related to hiring policies. SPU believes that the attorney general’s office has targeted the University because of its sincerely held Christian beliefs.
To ensure it can protect its religious identity, SPU specifically asks the federal district court to step in and protect its freedoms under the law. It is now in federal court defending its right to hire according to its Christian mission.
This step is not without precedent. In the 1980s Seattle Pacific University filed a similar lawsuit against the state of Washington when the state attempted to interfere in SPU’s faith-based hiring decisions. After eighteen months of litigation the state backed down. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has only further affirmed the right of religious institutions to make faith-based hiring decisions and resolve issues of doctrine and practice within their own religious communities free of government interference.