Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just holy enough to fire.

So the Supreme Court has upheld the right of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran School to fire a school teacher as retaliation for threatening to file a disability-discrimination suit, on the theory that she was a "called" teacher and not a "lay" one, and thus a "minister" for purposes of resolving the conflict between the Free Exercise Clause and the ADA:
The Synod classifies teachers into two categories:“called” and “lay.” “Called” teachers are regarded as having been called to their vocation by God through a congregation. To be eligible to receive a call from a congregation, a teacher must satisfy certain academic requirements. One way of doing so is by completing a “colloquy” program at a Lutheran college or university. The program requires candidates to take eight courses of theological study, obtain the endorsement of their local Synod district, and pass an oral examination by a faculty committee. A teacher who meets these requirements maybe called by a congregation. Once called, a teacher receives the formal title “Minister of Religion, Commissioned.”
Unmentioned in the opinion is that the Missouri Synod, which operates Hosanna-Tabor, does not believe women can be ordained as pastors.

But, hey! if labeling female teachers as "called" helps the church evade federal antidiscrimination law, then surely Jesus approves!

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