Skip to comments.Washington Wants a Say Over Your Minister (SCOTUS weighs whether the feds can decide who is clergy)
Posted on 10/05/2011 9:47:21 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Today, the Obama administration will invite the Supreme Court to open a new front in the culture wars. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC concerns a commissioned minister, Cheryl Perich, who taught elementary school and led chapel devotions at a small Lutheran school outside Detroit. Ms. Perich became ill and was replaced in the classroom by a substitute. In the middle of the school year she sought to return and then, instead of attempting to work out the dispute through the church's reconciliation process, she threatened to sue.
As relations broke down, the church congregation voted to withdraw her "call" to the ministry, and she ceased to be eligible for her prior job. She sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, with the support of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The federal statutes outlawing employment discrimination based on race, sex, age and disability contain no express exception for church employers. But for 40 years lower courts have applied a "ministerial exception," which bars the government from any role in deciding who should be a minister. Courts have reasoned that the separation between church and state protects the ability of churches to choose their own clergy just as it protects the state from any control by churches. The Supreme Court has never spoken to the issue.
But who counts as a minister? Cheryl Perich's duties included leading students in prayer and worship, but she also taught secular subjects, using ordinary secular textbooks. The sole disagreement in the lower courts was whether her job was sufficiently religious to be considered ministerial. The Supreme Court will consider, for the first time, how to make that determination.
But the Obama Justice Department has now asked the court to disavow the ministerial exception altogether.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
This would mean that, in every future case, a courtand not the churchwould decide whether the church's reasons for firing or not hiring a minister were good enough.
Not necessarily. Eliminate all tax exemptions and special treatments for charitable organizations and the government has no stake in the matter. Problem goes away. THAT is what was intended by Separation of Church and State.
It is not the government’s role to decide on the polity of religious denominations. If this woman was no longer a minister BY THEIR RULES, then she was no longer a minister by their rules.
Do I think a teacher in their school system should be called a “minister”? No.
But that has nothing to do with whether they believe so.
The next thing you know, the Obama admin will sue the Catholic Church over some nun not being allowed to be a priest. The same thing. Catholic beliefs say “no”. There is no way Scotus can say “yes” without violating free exercise and establishment clauses.
" ... a commissioned minister, Cheryl Perich ... "
God gave us the rules and regs, all we have to do is obey.
When man decides he's more capable than God, only evil can result.
I suggest Lutherans and Methodists and anyone else ordaining women, confess and repent and put back the old landmarks you were commanded not to remove.
Wonder how this would effect the Justice Bros.
This is interesting.
We are heading into a situation where the Church will be in the exact same position as it was during its first 2 centuries in Rome.
After the mass shooting by the “christian” in Norway I did some digging and found that the Norwegian government appoints a fair number of church officials and imposes certain standards.
Hang on. How does suddenly introducing taxing authority remove the government's stake? How would you tax a church or a charity? Why would you want to?
Goverment gets involved in private corporations all the time. Why do you think eliminating the tax exemptions makes government less likely to get involved? It seems like they would be more likely to get involved, because then churches would just be another business to government.
And "THAT" was never intented by separation of church and state. Our founding fathers recognized that God was supreme over government. That government shouldn't be taxing God, because God is the higher authority. Like it or not, THAT's what the founding father's intended. They recognized God as evidenced by references to Him in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution. They never intended Freedom of Religion to be Freedom from Religion. They even put in the constitution a prohibition on government prohibiting the free expression of religion. They just didn't want government dictating to religion or dictating religion to individuals.
This has nothing to do with whether a church is tax-exempt or not. It's trying to apply laws banning job discrimination to tell a church who they can have as a minister. It's the same law that would be applied to a for-profit, taxable corporation.
"The government has no stake in the matter" is worth nothing in an era of massive government intrusion into the private sector. The Obama Administration thinks it "has a stake" in everything you do and in every economic decision you make.
I think the Catholic Church would be the main target if this case is decided in favor of the government.
Lord, have mercy.
Good post, BTW. Right on!
Your religious beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with whether the supreme court and the obama administration should be telling a religious denomination what their beliefs should be.
My kids are in a private Christian school and they rotate who leads the chapel time monthly. I guess it will come down to whether having a pastoral degree was required for her to be hired as a teacher and leader of chapel time.
They make the case out as to how churches can conduct their business, but the root of the problem is government regulation of what should be freedom of association rights in any context. If we didn’t tolerate the government dictating how businesses can hire and who can be fired, there would never be this question of how much government can intrude into a church’s internal affairs.
RE: And “THAT” was never intented by separation of church and state. Our founding fathers recognized that God was supreme over government. That government shouldn’t be taxing God, because God is the higher authority.
Let’s be a little cautious here when we try to apply what the founding fathers had in mind with what we have today.
For starters I doubt if there were any significant number of Muslims living in the USA with mosques anywhere.
I am not sure how the framers would react if there were a significant minority of Muslims living in America in the 18th century wanting Sharia Law to be recognized in the just established country.
RE: The next thing you know, the Obama admin will sue the Catholic Church over some nun not being allowed to be a priest.
Yep, and we can extend it even further.
With an increasing number of states recognizing gay marriage, banning discrimination against LGBT and now the military allowing gays to openly serve, what’s to stop a church that teaches that the homosexual lifestyle is against God’s laws from withholding tax exemption because their rules are violating secular law?
That's a determination no court can make. And when the courts come in the front door, liberty goes outt he back door. The "ministers" become licensed liturgists for the State.
That sounds like China. You can practice any religion you want to and the Party will tell you exactly how, when and where.
I am sure that is precisely what will happen, and the gates of evil from this will be opened wide.
It seems to me that the gates of hell are flapping in the breeze pretty good already. When the U.S. gov is mostly comprised of Marxists that’s not a sign of liberty on the rise.
The Lutheran Church Misouri Synod doesn’t ordain women. It considers teaching in its parochial schools to be a “divine calling” and requires permanent teachers to have theological training. Their calling is defined by their roles as teachers. Ordination is limited to men.
Next up, forcing gay priests and female priests on the Catholic church.
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No, that doesn’t solve it. You can still sue a private business for discrimination in hiring or firing - it happens all the time.
The original case involves who is a minister, that is, a strictly religious employee, and who is not. This is because religious employees - not because of non-profit status, but specifically because of religious employment - are exempted from decisions by civil authorities on the interior procedures of that church or religious organization.
However, Obama is going one step beyond and saying there is no category, even the traditional one of specifically religious employees of a religious organization, that should be exempt (and this has nothing to do with their non-profit or tax exempt status).
This is very dangerous.
The Norwegian killer did not profess to be a Christian. He supported Christianity as a political bulwark against Islam. He had no interest in Christianity as a faith.
Another part of the Constitution is eaten by the bureaucracy....
At this rate, the only Amendment that will remain is the 16th. This is not good.
He seems to put churches that don't go along with his agenda in one of two categories, a) independents that he thinks aren't really Christian and can be squashed individually by the IRS and various regulations, and b) Catholics. Of the two groups, he fully intends to destroy the Catholic Church in this country. Wright preaches the same lines of crap about the Catholic Church many anti-Catholics here spew on a regular basis and worse. He also figures that by virtue of the fact that the majority of those churches not following the dictates of a national organization are traditionally anti-Catholic, he'll have that much less opposition as he goes after the Catholic Church.
He could be right, he may not get much real opposition from the majority of non-Catholics as he goes hammer and tong after the Catholic Church since decades of anti-Catholic propaganda has subtly advocated the same thing. If he throws a symbolic bone or two to the right crowd on a national level, he could move a lot more quickly than many people think is possible. So, the way Barry sees things, it won't really be persecution of Christians and I'll bet a good many vocal anti-Catholics will agree. I guess we'll soon see whether those who call themselves Christian will rise up and defend freedom of religion when Barry goes after the Catholic Church first or if they'll just continue to whistle past the graveyard the way they have during sixty years of ignoring the fascist anti-Christ policies of the democrat party.
He could even be looking for an economic boost by going after the Catholic Church. After all, didn't Henry VIII get an economic boost by taking the property of the Church? It's almost a tradition in the Western world to seize property to solve a debt crisis and millions of people would cheer him on were he to seize the property of the Catholic Church. He'd get a hell of a lot less than the conspiracy theory and anti-Catholic crowd think he would, but it would be a start and would do what democrats love to do, set a legal precedent. The way he sees it, once he manages to rid himself of a few meddlesome priests, he could aim for establishing the equivalent of the Anglican Church headed by the the Head of State. We're dealing with someone who is clinically insane and the limits on what he might do are way, way, beyond where most folks think they are.
Six months ago I'd have laughed my patoot off at a post like this one but after seeing how someone who is insane can remain in the Office of the President unscathed, how people react when you say you're becoming Catholic, and seeing the level of obvious anti-Christian or anti-Catholic propaganda that passes for discussion in the media expolde, I no longer think a bit of this is impossible. In fact, the amount of anti-Christianism just below the surface in this country is absolutely amazing and only rivaled by the amount of anti-Catholicism just below the surface among those who call themselves Christian. Both things are really interesting when you think about it. I constantly pray that the courts will stop this guy in his tracks, but I also constantly pray to be able to deal with the results if they don't.
Fortunately, I see things in this country being much, much, better in this country within a decade or two, better across the board than they've been in most of our lifetimes. Christ has a role for this country and once he whips it into shape again, one way or another, look out because there's no real limit on a truly Christian nation.
as much as I despise the Obambi administration, is it fair to blame them for this or to blame the women for bringing forward such a case?
IMHO, the problem here lies in two things -- one to directly this woman for suing and two: the devaluation of the term "minister"/pastor/priest such to a point that anyone could declare themselves as such
well that's the case of a state Church as happens in the UK to the CoE, in Sweden, Finland, Denmark to their local churches and to the "official" churches in China.
in wizwor’s defense, we must admit that many spurious organizations register themselves as religions for the tax benefits. But while I agree with you guys that getting the IRA involved would only mean MORE government oversight (in different areas) rather than less, it would also mean that the government could have no reason to “investigate” if something is really a religion or not.
however, even the CCCP does not interfere in religious dogma (like forcing churches to marry gays etc) as long as the churches/mosques/temples do not preach against the government from the pulpits/minarets/arya stands.
Spot on accurate. bookmarked.
worse than our local FR crue?
Oh, yeah. I've been looking for a week trying to find old stuff about Wright from back in mid-2008 but my links are to things now gone. I don't know if that means more than they're just old or not, but it taught me to start making copies of stuff I now usually just bookmark.
At any rate, there was a local guy in Chicago who had quite a bit about how Wright would go on at length with both anti-American and anti-Catholic stuff I'd never heard before and that was a lot worse than what's common here. As I recall the guy said a lot of it has been around for over a hundred years but I'd never heard any of it before. He said that the majority of people recognize it for the exaggerated propaganda it really is and Wright thinking his congregation would buy it said a lot about what sort of people he was catering to.
It's getting harder to look at the way things are going and see any route to a turnaround in this country that doesn't have some serious violence sandwiched between where Barry and the fascists think they are and where we'll end up when people are finally both awake and fed up.
The point is that the Obama administration is going further than this case. At it’s own volition, with no request or prompting, the DOJ is now requesting that the entire “ministerial exemption” be dropped.
There is a long tradition of anti-Catholicism in the US; the KKK, for example, was as opposed to Catholics as it was to blacks. The nativist movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries also targeted Catholics, resulting in everything from legal attacks to lynchings of Catholics, particularly foreign-born ones. Actually, there was even an anti-Catholic subtext behind Prohibition, which was presented by pro-Prohibition groups, such as the KKK, as a rejection of the “foreign” and “Catholic” vice of alcohol consumption. Overt anti-Catholicism became less respectable in the mid-20th century, probably in part because of the increasing number of Catholics who had gotten elected to political office and the relatively large numbers of Catholics in the military, but it still lingers on in some circles.
I think Obama knows perfectly well that he’s not a Christian, however; one of the curious things about Wright’s “church” was that it encouraged the membership of Muslims. Wright had been a Black Muslim but left after losing a power struggle with other Black Muslim leaders. So Wright’s new “church” was essentially just a catch-all for a racial-superiority-based Marxist cult that had nothing to do with Christianity, and Obama was perfectly aware of that. So despite the fact that Obama was forced to say he was a Christian during the campaign and thereafter, he knows perfectly well that he’s not one.
One of the problems with the smaller Protestant churches that may actually oppose Obama is that they have no institutional support and they will probably be easy pickings for him. However, I don’t think he’ll bother with them that much because they might present more sympathetic victims. Seeing a tiny church having its property seized because it was attacked by the Federal Government might alarm people. On the other hand, not only would seizing the property of the Catholic Church be more lucrative (although a lot of it consists in real estate in the poorer parts of town, so maybe it’s not that lucrative!), he would be able to draw upon the latent anti-Catholicism of many Americans, even conservative ones, and also to depict himself as a hero fighting against another huge institution, sort of a religious version of the Bank of America.
Incidentally, I do think even a lot of these smaller churches are waking up and many of them are losing some of their anti-Catholicism. I have even seen changes in posters on FR, but it only happens when we don’t get into flame wars with them but gently explain our beliefs and positions. So maybe we’ll see a little more unity, although there is still a lot of anti-Catholicism mixed with the nativism that pops up on FR.
Last of all, I think that he would like nothing better than to have a state church, similar to the Anglican Church in England or the various state Lutheran churches of Northern Europe. In other words, they come out and do ceremonies, but have no doctrine, exist simply to extend the message and control of the State as far as possible into the private sphere, and they are completely neutralized as an opposition force. We’re seeing the first phase of a Bismarck-style Kulturkampf before our very eyes.
In the US, there was unfortunately a lot of leftist thinking that crept into the Catholic Church after Vatican II, particularly in Catholic universities and the Catholic press. It was a pale imitation of the stupid “Liberation Theology” of Latin America - think the idiotic Fr Phlegher - by wanna-be “liberationists” here, and while most of them didn’t go that far, it did encourage a very pro-statist, collectivist, dissident mentality among many Catholics, which gave us things like Teddy Kennedy and the Notre Dame leaders who let the radically anti-Catholic Obama use their institution as a stage.
But suddenly these useful idiots have found that even that didn’t buy them protection, and now even Notre Dame is being forced to fight back. Archbishop Dolan has formed an ad-hoc committee to defend religious liberty, and has been very forthright in his statements. So in other words, there is at least the start of a push-back against Obama.
I think the first attacks will be through attempting to force churches to “marry” gays, and, if the ministerial exemption is dropped,forcing them to make gays part of their clergy and, in the case of the Catholic Church, forcing them to accept women as priests (which of course the Church cannot and will not do). I thought Obama might wait until he was sure he was going to get a second term to push this, but now I’m not so sure. I think he wants to get as much done as possible to destroy Christianity in any form, and I think he sees the Catholic Church as the biggest target and considers his first order of business to destroy it or drive it underground. And an attack like this might also provide a convenient distraction from other things that he is doing.
I’m not so sure about that. I have read about the ChiComs redacting the Bible for the churches there.
Impressive! Welcome to 2000 years of Christianity!
I think the aspect of continuity and “the big picture” is probably one of the most wonderful things about being Catholic.
Best wishes...when will you be received?
Finally, once when my son and I were talking about the lack of a connection back to the Apostles, my son asked why we weren't Catholic. Of course, there isn't a really good answer to that question only shallow answers or emotional answers. Besides, he was always accusing me of sounding like the friars at his school, so, ... there really is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church but some of us are just dense and take a while to recognize that fact.
Newman wrote that to know history is to cease to be Protestant.
Luther was a bit obssessive, especially towards the end of his life (when he seems to have gone off the rails and was urging polygamy and all sorts of odd things), and while there were legitimate complaints against the Church of that time - or of any time, in fact - a lot of his rebellion against the Church was based on a desire to assure himself that he had been saved, which he did not seem to believe. I think this was more of a personal problem than anything else, and in fact, if he had read the Church fathers more or been better educated, he would probably have found words very similar to his own in them.
But Luther came along at a time of great unrest, when different forces were jockeying for power, and in many ways Luther or “Lutheranism” (although he had not originally intended to found his own sect) was something that was very useful to one or another of these forces. So his very personal concerns got caught up in the battle between the peasants, the rising merchant middle class, the nobles, and the royals, with each one trying to claim the Church as its own.
That said, the current Pope has been wonderful on dealing with this. He was very kind, respectful and inclusive, but he said that the theological differences must be discussed honestly. He gave a couple of excellent talks on this matter during his recent visit to Germany, his home country and that of Luther as well.
If you’re coming in before Easter, let us know (you can Freepmail me personally) so we can all rejoice for you!