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View Diary: Brilliant! Mitt Romney revives Republican war on birth control (112 comments)

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  •  Conservatives have the Roberts Court to thank (5+ / 0-)

    That is the conservative majority ruled in favor of a church that was sued by a narcoleptic employee. Since she was a part time sunday school teacher SCOTUS ruled that the Ministerial Exception applied. They narrowly defined it in a way that a theology teacher at Georgetown would be covered but not a geology teacher. So the conservatives are really being foisted upon their own petard by the conservative SCOTUS which they generally support. Ha ha!

    •  Nope. Wrong on 2 points. (0+ / 0-)

      1.  The Hosanna-Tabor decision was a unanimous decision. So, you also have liberal justices to thank.

      2. You are wrong about what that decision means.  It would apply to a teacher of ANY subject that agrees, going in, that he/she serves a religious function, even if it is only a part of his/her function at the institution.  The teacher at issue in that case also taught secular subjects.  The decision turned on the fact that she agreed she was a "called" teacher going in and also agreed to perform some religious functions.  A Jesuit priest, for example, teaching geology at a Jesuit university, or even a lay teacher who agreed going in that he/she would serve a religious function in addition to teaching geology, potentially would be covered by the Hosanna-Tabor doctrine.  

      And, of course, the regulation doesn't really coincide with the Hosanna-Tabor decision.  It makes a single decision for an entire institution, and would not exempt, for example, a woman teaching all religion courses at a Catholic University, an employee who would pretty clearly fall under Hosanna Tabor.  

      •  FTR to other persons (2+ / 0-)
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        LeftHandedMan, Danali

        This is a mischaracterization of the decision.

        You can read the case for your self. The key was that the teacher was a minister by agreement.

        As a result, there was no examination into whether her role was ministerial or not.

        •  From the syllabus (2+ / 0-)
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          LeftHandedMan, Danali

          "The ministerial exception is not limited to the head of a religious congregation. The Court, however, does not adopt a rigid formula for deciding when an employee qualifies as a minister. Here, it is enough to conclude that the exception covers Perich, given all the circumstances of her employment. Hosanna-Tabor held her out as a minister, with a role distinct from that of most of its members. That title represented a significant degree of religious training followed by a formal process of commissioning. Perich also held herself out as a minister by, for example, accepting the formal call to religious service. And her job duties reflected a role in conveying the Church’s message and carrying out its mission: As a source of religious instruction, Perich played an important part in transmitting the Lutheran faith."

          •  From the opinion (2+ / 0-)
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            LeftHandedMan, Danali

            "In light of these considerations—the formal title given Perich by the Church, the substance reflected in that title, her own use of that title, and the important religious functions she performed for the Church—we conclude that Perich was a minister covered by the ministerial exception."

            •  Nothing inconsistent with what I said. (0+ / 0-)

              She spent 45 minutes a day in religious functions.  The rest of the time, she taught secular classes.

              The poster's statement was that someone teaching religion at a Catholic institution would be covered by the Hosanna-Tabor decision, but someone teaching geology would not. That is not correct. The decision made clear that the subject taught was not the determinative factor. It is possible that someone teaching geology at a Catholic institution could be covered by Hosanna-Tabor, if that someone also had been designated to hold a religious position (the Court made clear that a religious title was considered a factor, but not determinative in and of itself) and perform some religious functions by that Catholic university.

        •  Mischaracterizing what I said. (0+ / 0-)

          1.  I said she had agreed to perform a religious function -- it was a "called" position, in the terms of that church.  She taught one religious class.  The other classes were secular.  She also agreed to perform other religious functions, such as lead prayers.

          2. The unanimous decision makes clear that the "ministerial exception" is NOT limited to what we traditionally call "ministers" -- i.e., head of congregations.  As I said, it can apply to teachers who teach secular subjects and ALSO agree that they are to perform religious functions, as the teacher in that case did.  

          The Court held that the religion itself can designate who
          Every Court of Appeals to have considered the question
          has concluded that the ministerial exception is not limited
          to the head of a religious congregation, and we agree.  We
          are reluctant, however, to adopt a rigid formula for deciding when an employee qualifies as a minister.
           It is enough for us to conclude, in this  our first case involving the  ministerial exception, that the exception covers Perich, given all the circumstances of her employment.
          The Court said she was not what we traditionally call a "minister," i.e., the head of a congregation, but was given a religious title, educated for religious teachings, and performed religious functions for a small part of her day. Here's how the Court described the two different types of teachers at that school:  
          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 may
          be called by a congregation.  Once called, a teacher receives the formal title “Minister of Religion, Commissioned.” App. 42, 48. A commissioned minister serves for an open-ended term; at Hosanna-Tabor, a call could be rescinded only for cause and by a supermajority vote of the congregation.
          “Lay” or “contract” teachers, by contrast, are not required to be trained by the Synod or even to be Lutheran.
          At Hosanna-Tabor, they were appointed by the school
          board, without a vote of the congregation, to one-year
          renewable terms. Although teachers at the school generally performed the same duties regardless of whether they
          were lay or called, lay teachers were hired only when
          called teachers were unavailable.
          Those facts made her a "minister" within the meaning of the "ministerial exception" (even though she was not a minister in the sense of the "head of a congregation"). See here:  
          In reaching a contrary conclusion, the Court of Appeals
          committed three errors. First, the Sixth Circuit failed to
          see any relevance in the fact that Perich was a commissioned minister.  Although such a title, by itself, does not automatically ensure coverage, the fact that an employee has been ordained or commissioned as a minister is surely relevant, as is the fact that significant religious training and a recognized religious mission underlie the description of the employee’s position. It was wrong for the Court of Appeals—and Perich, who has adopted the court’s view, see Perich Brief 45—to say that an employee’s title does not matter.
          Second, the Sixth Circuit gave too much weight to the
          fact that lay teachers at the school performed the same
          religious duties as Perich. We express no view on whether
          someone with Perich’s duties would be covered by the
          ministerial exception in the absence of the other considerations we have discussed. But though relevant, it cannot  be dispositive that others not formally recognized as ministers by the church perform the same functions—
          particularly when, as here, they did so only because
          commissioned ministers were unavailable.
          Third, the Sixth Circuit placed too much emphasis on
          Perich’s performance of secular duties.  It is true that her
          religious duties consumed only 45 minutes of each workday, and that the rest of her day was devoted to teaching
          secular subjects. The EEOC regards that as conclusive,
          contending that any ministerial exception “should be
          limited to those employees who perform exclusively religious functions.” Brief for Federal Respondent 51. We cannot accept that view.
          What I said is absolutely true.  If a Priest at a Jesuit institution was teaching, say, geology classes (as often happens) he'd be covered by the ministerial exception.  If a woman at a Catholic or religious school agreed, going in, that she'd serve this special religious purpose (and was given a specific religious label, whether it was "called" or "religious minister" or "redemptorists" or whatever particular religious lable and function that church used), this decision makes clear that she'd fit into the "ministerial exception," even if the religious functions were a small part of their day and most of the day was devoted to secular functions, like teaching geology.

          So the poster's statement that someone who teaches religion at a religious school would be covered, and someone who teaches geology at a religious school would not be covered, is not accurate.  It depends on the nature of the position as defined by that religious institution, and what the employee agreed to.  

          •  Your absolute statements (1+ / 0-)
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            are not supported by the opinion.

            In other words, your statements are not accurate.

            I suggest folks who care not trust the descriptions  coffeetalk provides. They simply are not correct.

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