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Can the Federal Courts Decide Whether or Not You Are a Minister?

imageI just draw your attention to an interesting article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by Michael McConnell: Washington Wants a Say Over Your Minister.  The gist of the article is that in a lawsuit between a Lutheran Church/School with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  A commissioned minister taught in the church school.  She took sick leave and when she wanted her job back, the church school refused.  She sued the school and so the church revoked her commissioning which meant as a non-ministry person she was not eligible for the job . 

For many years the lower courts have refused to get into church disputes about who qualifies as a minister, seeing it as government intrusion into church affairs.  But the Justice Department “has now asked the court to disavow the ministerial exception altogether. This would mean that, in every future case, a court—and not the church—would decide whether the church’s reasons for firing or not hiring a minister were good enough.”

One would think this would be a church state separation slam-dunk.  Apparently not.  We’ll watch & see….

Church-State Affairs, Current Events, Ministry

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