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View Diary: Beloved teacher fired after being outed in her mother's obituary (75 comments)

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  •  In a Catholic school (9+ / 0-)

    pretty much all the teaching staff is going to have religious obligations.  They all lead prayers, etc., and virtually all the employment agreements make clear that, even if you are not Catholic, you can't openly (so that your students can find out) violate the fundamental Catholic teachings (whether you believe them or not) -- you can't live with a partner without marriage, have an abortion, etc. If you do those things openly, the thinking goes, that undercuts your position as a role model for your students.

    •  What about teachers who divorce or remarry? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti
    •  I just doubt that the "ministerial exception" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, Ahianne

      applies to a gym teacher who wasn't even Catholic, much less ordained.   Here's a discussion of some recent similar cases: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/...

      •  Read Hosana Tabor Supreme Court case (4+ / 0-)

        Again, the pdf is here.  It was a unanimous decision.  It expressly says that you don't have to be ordained or anything like that.  It expressly says, "we aren't setting forth a specific test for when it applies," but the factors include that the school holds the employee out as having a religious in addition to a secular function, and that the employee agrees up front that he/she is performing a religious function IN ADDITION TO the secular teaching functions.  

        •  Actually that's the case I linked to and it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright, The Marti, DSPS owl

          doesn't qualify who is or isn't a "ministerial employee", but merely sets that as the threshold.

          Note how a similar case was ruled using Hosana-Tabor as the precedent:

          U.S. District Judge Arthur Spiegel said in his March 29 ruling that the ministerial exception did not apply because Dias was a non-Catholic computer teacher with no role in ministering or teaching Catholic doctrine.
          So is a gym teacher somehow a "ministerial employee" but a computer teacher isn't?
          •  It depends what is in their employment (4+ / 0-)

            agreement, I would think.  That's going to spell out what role, if any, that teacher is to have in religious instruction, or as a religious role model.  If the contract says you will teach computer science or P.E., and we also expect your to lead school prayers where appropriate, and we also expect you to be a role model for your students, and you agree that in that capacity you will not violate the archdiocese moral code, then you could fall within the ministerial exception.  If you employment agreement says just you will teach computer science or P.E., and does not spell out any of those other expectations, you probably would not fall within the ministerial exception.  

            So, a computer teacher or a gym teacher can, or cannot, be within the ministerial exception, depending on what they signed on to. and agreed to, when they took the job.

    •  I guess if you commit immoral, illegal acts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silvia Nightshade

      privately, as a priest, then that's OK.

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