LCMS before the Supreme Court

The case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran School vs. the EEOC is being argued before the Supreme Court.   J. Christian Adams sees the Justice Department’s case as being a major assault on religious liberty.  Here is his take:

Like so much from this Justice Department, Holder’s radical legal positions are at odds with long American traditions. This latest species of Holder’s radicalism is a frontal attack on faith communities.

In the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Holder’s DOJ argued that a church cannot fire an employee for acting contrary to church teaching, and contrary to an employment contract that incorporates that teaching. A teacher filed a complaint to the government about how the school handled her narcolepsy, which presumably would involve sleeping at work. The church school then fired the teacher because the church forbids lawsuits among believers based on 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. (“But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!”)

This particular Lutheran church had well established dispute resolution mechanisms within the church, and based on church teaching. Instead, the teacher went to the government, contrary to church teaching.

Holder’s Justice Department believes that religious schools should not be able to enjoy a longstanding exemption to various employment laws which conflict with church teaching, or, the “ministerial exception.”

Assistant to the Solicitor General Leondra R. Kruger argued that the religious school could not fire the teacher for filing a complaint to the government even if church teaching forbids it.  At oral argument, Kruger advocated positions so extreme that even Justice Elena Kagan appeared to reject them.

It’s not hard to see where this slippery slope slides. What if a teacher in a Catholic school does something directly contrary to Catholic teaching? Or, consider this possibility offered by American Catholic:

“Then, too, what also about Catholic women using this principle to sue the Catholic Church in the United States because they are excluded from the priesthood? There’s absolutely no doubt that when it comes to ordination, the Catholic Church discriminates in favor of males. Should SCOTUS be able to tell the Catholic Church in the United States that it must redress the imbalance?

Yes…if, as an organization, the Catholic Church is bound by federal employment discrimination statutes.

No…if, as an organization, the U.S. Catholic Church is exempt from federal employment discrimination statutes.”

Far fetched? Not to Kruger.

At oral argument, she wouldn’t categorically preclude the possibility. Instead, she told the Court that the government interest isn’t currently sufficient to justify an assault on the male priesthood. Kruger said “the government does have a compelling and indeed overriding interest in ensuring that individuals are not prevented from coming to the government with information about illegal conduct.” In other words, even if church doctrine prohibits you from settling disputes with the church through the government, the Obama administration cares not. Holder wants informants, or as the DOJ prefers to call them, complainants.

via Rule of Law » Holder’s Quiet Court Attack on Religious Freedom.

Here are some of the blow-by-blow arguments:

Hosanna-Tabor was represented by religious-law Professor Douglas Laycock. He began by saying that EEOC violated a bedrock constitutional principle that churches do not select government leaders and government does not select church leaders.

But he had problems during oral argument. One came from Justice Anthony Kennedy (who is likely the swing vote in this case), concerned that someone suffering retaliation from a church employer couldn’t present his or her claims in court.

Laycock rebutted that substantial church interests should bar civil trials, and Kennedy objected that you can’t know if substantial interests are at stake unless someone presents them in court.

Justice Antonin Scalia came to Laycock’s rescue, saying, “I think your point is that it’s none of the business of the government to decide what the substantial interest of a church is.”

The justices then rejected the argument of Leondra Kruger, Obama’s lawyer for the EEOC, who argued that there’s no ministerial exception in the Constitution, only the same rights that secular organizations possess to choose their own affiliations.

At this, Scalia exploded. “That’s extraordinary! There, black on white in the text of the Constitution, are special protections for religion. And you say it makes no difference?”

Kagan agreed with Scalia’s rejection of the argument that the First Amendment doesn’t protect churches from government ordering who they should hire as pastor or priest.

Justice Samuel Alito (a Catholic) made a critical point, asking if a Catholic priest married and the church removed him from ministry for violating Catholic doctrine, could the EEOC order him reinstated.

When Kruger answered no, Alito replied that EEOC was making a judgment that certain teachings — such as the Catholic belief that priests must be celibate — are more important than the Lutheran doctrine that ministers cannot sue the church.

Chief Justice John Roberts (also Catholic) agreed, saying, “You’re making a judgment about how important a particular religious belief is to a church.” Government cannot make such theological judgments.

I’ve had questions about this case, but the key element is that the teacher refused to go through the church dispute resolution process and went straight to a lawsuit, despite 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 and despite what her contract said.  I can see the religious liberty issues at stake, and they are important indeed.

UPDATE:  The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Lutheran school!  The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.  Read this analysis, which hails the ruling as a landmark decision  in the protection of religious liberty.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    I can also see the Church having a legitimate concern with a teacher having narcolepsy – while it may be a disability, it is a position in authority and responsibility for children and sleeping may not be in the best interests of safety (or educational quality), in the same manner that a narcoleptic may be legitimately excluded from employment as a pilot or air traffic controller or as a truck or bus driver.

  • SKPeterson

    I can also see the Church having a legitimate concern with a teacher having narcolepsy – while it may be a disability, it is a position in authority and responsibility for children and sleeping may not be in the best interests of safety (or educational quality), in the same manner that a narcoleptic may be legitimately excluded from employment as a pilot or air traffic controller or as a truck or bus driver.

  • RPW

    The church only asked that she wait to return until the next year because they had contacted her substitute until the end of the school year. They were wing to compensate her. They fired her because she sued, not because she was sick. Then her main argument in order to sue is that she isn’t a minister, even though she signed call papers for a commissioned minister, a status that the lcms gives to teachers for the tax break, but all along, many have argued this confuses the doctrine of the divine call. This school is closed now. No longer doing the work of the gospel

  • RPW

    The church only asked that she wait to return until the next year because they had contacted her substitute until the end of the school year. They were wing to compensate her. They fired her because she sued, not because she was sick. Then her main argument in order to sue is that she isn’t a minister, even though she signed call papers for a commissioned minister, a status that the lcms gives to teachers for the tax break, but all along, many have argued this confuses the doctrine of the divine call. This school is closed now. No longer doing the work of the gospel

  • RPW

    I love the irony that she trained to have that status, and until it meant that she could sue, she probably would have fought tooth and nail for it. But here she is arguing she is a mere employee, and the LCMS is arguing that she is a called minister, to keep the government out. Funny thing is, doctrinally, she’s right. But our compromise could be a way for the Obama admin to nose into church hiring practices, something he promised to do in his campaign, and something that went against our doctrine in the first place could be the means to violating it again – inviting luncheon of the left to dictate kingdom of the right issues for all churches.

  • RPW

    I love the irony that she trained to have that status, and until it meant that she could sue, she probably would have fought tooth and nail for it. But here she is arguing she is a mere employee, and the LCMS is arguing that she is a called minister, to keep the government out. Funny thing is, doctrinally, she’s right. But our compromise could be a way for the Obama admin to nose into church hiring practices, something he promised to do in his campaign, and something that went against our doctrine in the first place could be the means to violating it again – inviting luncheon of the left to dictate kingdom of the right issues for all churches.

  • RPW

    Government, not luncheon. Gotta love auto-correct

  • RPW

    Government, not luncheon. Gotta love auto-correct

  • Jerry

    The LCMS is displaying its dysfunctional culture for all to see. In a perfect world, there would be no case and dispute resolution would work as it should. However, dispute resolution in LCMS lost its meaning in the 70′s seminary firings case which initiated a culture where dispute resolution has become a display of power by those in position to wield it. While the 70′s are now only a distant memory, the culture continues.

  • Jerry

    The LCMS is displaying its dysfunctional culture for all to see. In a perfect world, there would be no case and dispute resolution would work as it should. However, dispute resolution in LCMS lost its meaning in the 70′s seminary firings case which initiated a culture where dispute resolution has become a display of power by those in position to wield it. While the 70′s are now only a distant memory, the culture continues.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Supreme Court just issued a unanimous opinion, sifting through the info to see what the result is….

  • Steve Billingsley

    Supreme Court just issued a unanimous opinion, sifting through the info to see what the result is….

  • Steve Billingsley

    The Court held that the ministerial exemption bars an employment discrimination suit brought on behalf of a minister. 9-0. Roberts wrote the opinion, with Thomas and Alito filing concurring opinions with Kagan joining Alito on his concurrence.

    Pretty stinging rebuke to the EEOC and the Justice Department.

  • Steve Billingsley

    The Court held that the ministerial exemption bars an employment discrimination suit brought on behalf of a minister. 9-0. Roberts wrote the opinion, with Thomas and Alito filing concurring opinions with Kagan joining Alito on his concurrence.

    Pretty stinging rebuke to the EEOC and the Justice Department.

  • Tom Hering

    But was she truly a minister? I know the Supremes can’t decide this, but the LCMS had better – for reasons other than tax advantage and legal protection.

  • Barry Bishop

    just my 2 cents (or with inflation perhaps it should be 2 bits)…
    God has a Plan A in His Word but we often choose Plan B and think that it will work out. Not only do we think Plan B will work out (although it is clearly not what God says in the Bible) but we expect God to bless it! Makes you wonder what would have happened had the teacher not filed a lawsuit but went to the church to work something out.
    The Plan A/Plan B situation applies to so many things–makes you wonder if we are not still listening to the voice that says, “Did God really say…?” (Gen 3)

  • Tom Hering

    But was she truly a minister? I know the Supremes can’t decide this, but the LCMS had better – for reasons other than tax advantage and legal protection.

  • Barry Bishop

    just my 2 cents (or with inflation perhaps it should be 2 bits)…
    God has a Plan A in His Word but we often choose Plan B and think that it will work out. Not only do we think Plan B will work out (although it is clearly not what God says in the Bible) but we expect God to bless it! Makes you wonder what would have happened had the teacher not filed a lawsuit but went to the church to work something out.
    The Plan A/Plan B situation applies to so many things–makes you wonder if we are not still listening to the voice that says, “Did God really say…?” (Gen 3)

  • norman teigen

    The thoughtful reader will immediately note that J. Christian Adams is hardly a good source in this topic. You can do better than this Dr. Veith.

  • norman teigen

    The thoughtful reader will immediately note that J. Christian Adams is hardly a good source in this topic. You can do better than this Dr. Veith.

  • Joe

    Tom + 1! Since we often disagree I wanted to point out this moment of agreement

  • Joe

    Tom + 1! Since we often disagree I wanted to point out this moment of agreement

  • Steve Billingsley

    norman,
    If you want the facts, arguments and opinions on the case – go to the source.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-553.pdf

    This lays things out pretty well. Not sure what you have against J. Christian Adams, however.

  • Steve Billingsley

    norman,
    If you want the facts, arguments and opinions on the case – go to the source.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-553.pdf

    This lays things out pretty well. Not sure what you have against J. Christian Adams, however.

  • Tom Hering

    Actually, Joe, I think that makes it twice now. I’m slowly turning you from the Dark Side. “Let yourself go, Joe.” :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Actually, Joe, I think that makes it twice now. I’m slowly turning you from the Dark Side. “Let yourself go, Joe.” :-D

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Good observation Joe. They can’t have their cake and eat it…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Good observation Joe. They can’t have their cake and eat it…..

  • DonS

    The justices then rejected the argument of Leondra Kruger, Obama’s lawyer for the EEOC, who argued that there’s no ministerial exception in the Constitution, only the same rights that secular organizations possess to choose their own affiliations.

    At this, Scalia exploded. “That’s extraordinary! There, black on white in the text of the Constitution, are special protections for religion. And you say it makes no difference?”

    This is key — what an unbelievable argument for the Obama administration to advance! Loved Scalia’s response, though.

  • DonS

    The justices then rejected the argument of Leondra Kruger, Obama’s lawyer for the EEOC, who argued that there’s no ministerial exception in the Constitution, only the same rights that secular organizations possess to choose their own affiliations.

    At this, Scalia exploded. “That’s extraordinary! There, black on white in the text of the Constitution, are special protections for religion. And you say it makes no difference?”

    This is key — what an unbelievable argument for the Obama administration to advance! Loved Scalia’s response, though.

  • Steve Billingsley

    DonS,

    Yep, pretty unbelievable. And pretty disturbing.

  • Steve Billingsley

    DonS,

    Yep, pretty unbelievable. And pretty disturbing.

  • –helen

    It’s ridiculous to suggest that the teacher should have gone to DRP for resolution of this dispute. DRP as presently constituted starts with a gag order for the person appealing (though the admin doesn’t have to be silent) and as a practical matter, it’s a coverup for the bureaucracy.

    [I find it highly imaginative to call the DRP a "teaching" of the church. It's jerry-rigged and less than 10 years old. How did Missouri manage the first 150!?]

    Pastors with a just cause have been told they will never get another call if they pursue DRP (but there’s no hurry to find them one if they don’t, either). So what do you suppose would have happened to the teacher? :(

  • –helen

    It’s ridiculous to suggest that the teacher should have gone to DRP for resolution of this dispute. DRP as presently constituted starts with a gag order for the person appealing (though the admin doesn’t have to be silent) and as a practical matter, it’s a coverup for the bureaucracy.

    [I find it highly imaginative to call the DRP a "teaching" of the church. It's jerry-rigged and less than 10 years old. How did Missouri manage the first 150!?]

    Pastors with a just cause have been told they will never get another call if they pursue DRP (but there’s no hurry to find them one if they don’t, either). So what do you suppose would have happened to the teacher? :(

  • Dust

    Steve…thanks very much for the link to the text of the final opinion of the SCOTUS.

    Have never read one and it is fascinating reading and very well written, maybe even better than most of what appears on the blog of Cranach?

    Tom and Joe and Klasie…..in this case (no pun intended) am talking to you :)

  • Dust

    Steve…thanks very much for the link to the text of the final opinion of the SCOTUS.

    Have never read one and it is fascinating reading and very well written, maybe even better than most of what appears on the blog of Cranach?

    Tom and Joe and Klasie…..in this case (no pun intended) am talking to you :)

  • DonS

    Yes, Steve @ 16. It’s either incredibly ignorant or incredibly sinister.

    In either event, these kinds of things are the reason I feel most urgent about ensuring that Obama doesn’t get another four years in office.

  • DonS

    Yes, Steve @ 16. It’s either incredibly ignorant or incredibly sinister.

    In either event, these kinds of things are the reason I feel most urgent about ensuring that Obama doesn’t get another four years in office.

  • DonS

    Update — the case was decided today: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/10-553.pdf

    Good news! I haven’t read the decision yet, but it was unanimous in favor of Hosanna-Tabor. Even Elena Kagan couldn’t stomach the arguments forwarded by the Obama administration, apparently.

  • DonS

    Update — the case was decided today: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/10-553.pdf

    Good news! I haven’t read the decision yet, but it was unanimous in favor of Hosanna-Tabor. Even Elena Kagan couldn’t stomach the arguments forwarded by the Obama administration, apparently.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust – you are not understanding the point Tom was making: The LCMS, by means of Hosanna-Tabor, was using the ministerial exemption for a female teacher, thus emplying that Females can be ministers. But the LCMS does not ordain female ministers. So, in winning this case, it is possible that the LCMS has created a precedent by which it can loose big on a much fundamental case: Presume a Femanist then takes them to court for refusing to ordain women, and then sites this case. See the problem? That is what Tom and Joe (and I) are referring to. I think they inadvertently opened themselves up to something bigger.

    Watch this space….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust – you are not understanding the point Tom was making: The LCMS, by means of Hosanna-Tabor, was using the ministerial exemption for a female teacher, thus emplying that Females can be ministers. But the LCMS does not ordain female ministers. So, in winning this case, it is possible that the LCMS has created a precedent by which it can loose big on a much fundamental case: Presume a Femanist then takes them to court for refusing to ordain women, and then sites this case. See the problem? That is what Tom and Joe (and I) are referring to. I think they inadvertently opened themselves up to something bigger.

    Watch this space….

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “I can see the religious liberty issues at stake, and they are important indeed.”

    Get out the way. The religion of secular liberalism must take over through the Law.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “I can see the religious liberty issues at stake, and they are important indeed.”

    Get out the way. The religion of secular liberalism must take over through the Law.

  • Dust

    Klasie…thanks, but perhaps there is a difference between a “minister” and a “ministry”?

    Stay tuned :)

  • Dust

    Klasie…thanks, but perhaps there is a difference between a “minister” and a “ministry”?

    Stay tuned :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    For what it’s worth, Dust may not be an uninterested party when it comes to the ministerial exemption and LCMS employees.

    Anyhow, Dust (@23), as the Supreme Court document notes, Perich was given the title “Minister of Religion, Commissioned”. And not only that, but the syllabus notes that “Perich led the chapel
    service herself about twice a year.” I didn’t know that. A female minister leading a worship service! In the LCMS! Hmm.

    Anyhow, notice has been served to LCMS teachers: you don’t have any employment rights. Just so you know. Hope the tax exemption’s worth that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    For what it’s worth, Dust may not be an uninterested party when it comes to the ministerial exemption and LCMS employees.

    Anyhow, Dust (@23), as the Supreme Court document notes, Perich was given the title “Minister of Religion, Commissioned”. And not only that, but the syllabus notes that “Perich led the chapel
    service herself about twice a year.” I didn’t know that. A female minister leading a worship service! In the LCMS! Hmm.

    Anyhow, notice has been served to LCMS teachers: you don’t have any employment rights. Just so you know. Hope the tax exemption’s worth that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    That too, Todd.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    That too, Todd.

  • Dust

    tODD….chapel service for little kiddies is not equivalent to a divine worship service which can include baptism and communion, is it? Does not the WELS have similar practices?

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    tODD….chapel service for little kiddies is not equivalent to a divine worship service which can include baptism and communion, is it? Does not the WELS have similar practices?

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    tODD…what does the fact that I may not be an uninterested party have to do with the facts of the case?

    Also, employment rights has more to do with secular organizations, as stated in the opinion and the references to the 1st amendment of the constitution, and cannot generally impose themselves as laws governing a religious organization. That’s the chance you take when you do the Lord’s work :)

    People can disagree on the interpretation, that’s why the SCOTUS exists in the first place….

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    tODD…what does the fact that I may not be an uninterested party have to do with the facts of the case?

    Also, employment rights has more to do with secular organizations, as stated in the opinion and the references to the 1st amendment of the constitution, and cannot generally impose themselves as laws governing a religious organization. That’s the chance you take when you do the Lord’s work :)

    People can disagree on the interpretation, that’s why the SCOTUS exists in the first place….

    Cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I imagine that this will only lead to a general expansion of “ministers” in other organizations desiring religious exceptions — whether for tax purposes or to avoid employment law. And if so, at some point, there will have to be a show-down on which ministers are truly ministers, and which are people just enjoying this loophole in the law.

    I think I agree with the opinion as it was handed down. I certainly don’t want to see the Catholic Church forced to open the priesthood to women, or Westboro Baptist forced to hire ministers that breathe through their nose.

    But still, the LCMS is in dangerous territory with this “win”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I imagine that this will only lead to a general expansion of “ministers” in other organizations desiring religious exceptions — whether for tax purposes or to avoid employment law. And if so, at some point, there will have to be a show-down on which ministers are truly ministers, and which are people just enjoying this loophole in the law.

    I think I agree with the opinion as it was handed down. I certainly don’t want to see the Catholic Church forced to open the priesthood to women, or Westboro Baptist forced to hire ministers that breathe through their nose.

    But still, the LCMS is in dangerous territory with this “win”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dust asked (@26):

    tODD….chapel service for little kiddies is not equivalent to a divine worship service which can include baptism and communion, is it?

    For “little kiddies”? It was a K-8 school. Not that it matters. From what I read in the Supreme Court decision, teachers took their classes to chapel, and apparently took turns leading the service. So no, it wasn’t just children present. There was a female minister leading a worship service for other adults, as well. And “baptism and communion” being present or not isn’t the issue. It’s one of women having authority over men.

    what does the fact that I may not be an uninterested party have to do with the facts of the case?

    It’s called “full disclosure”, Dust.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dust asked (@26):

    tODD….chapel service for little kiddies is not equivalent to a divine worship service which can include baptism and communion, is it?

    For “little kiddies”? It was a K-8 school. Not that it matters. From what I read in the Supreme Court decision, teachers took their classes to chapel, and apparently took turns leading the service. So no, it wasn’t just children present. There was a female minister leading a worship service for other adults, as well. And “baptism and communion” being present or not isn’t the issue. It’s one of women having authority over men.

    what does the fact that I may not be an uninterested party have to do with the facts of the case?

    It’s called “full disclosure”, Dust.

  • DonS

    “And if so, at some point, there will have to be a show-down on which ministers are truly ministers, and which are people just enjoying this loophole in the law.”

    tODD @ 28: I’ve only just barely skimmed the opinion, but one of the prominent points made is that it is not the government’s place to interpret church policy on who constitutes a minister. To permit the government to adjudicate the issue is to vitiate the very freedom the Constitution has protected.

  • DonS

    “And if so, at some point, there will have to be a show-down on which ministers are truly ministers, and which are people just enjoying this loophole in the law.”

    tODD @ 28: I’ve only just barely skimmed the opinion, but one of the prominent points made is that it is not the government’s place to interpret church policy on who constitutes a minister. To permit the government to adjudicate the issue is to vitiate the very freedom the Constitution has protected.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Todd, #28,

    “But still, the LCMS is in dangerous territory with this “win”.”
    ——————

    I agree with your thoughts (as I usually do.) However, I do believe the Supreme court ruling is a “win”, that is, for the meantime and for those left in the churches including the LCMS who strive to maintain purity of doctrine and relative uniformity in doctrinal practice. Yet to echo you, the lack of unity on doctrine and practice, especially pertaining to the Doctrine/s of Church and Ministry and how those are then reflected in actual practice, is indeed a bad sign for synods like the LCMS, not to mention others perhaps even more bi-polar like the ELS, with two parties swinging either in the way of WELS take or in the way of the LCMS take. (But actually, the recent pan-Lutheran free conference in New Ulm, MN, back in Nov., 2011, the first of what hopefully will be many more, was very encouraging in the sense of opening up the channels of dialogue and discussion amongst Lutherans of various synods, at least those who still hold to the inspiration/innerrancy of the Holy Scriptures (yes, even those two terms are not necessarily understood the same way by all of us, but I hope you get my point.)

    So as for this Supreme Court ruling, thanks be to God for His “mercy” (i.e., “not giving us what we do deserve”) in the Left-Hand Kingdom of the State for the sake of His “grace” (i.e., “giving us what we do not deserve”) in His Right-Hand Kingdom of the Church. Had this ruling gone the other way it would have had enormous negative consequences upon the Church and Her Ministry, another sign of a hastening of the eventual end of God’…s current season of Grace, of the distribution of salvation in Christ by Christ through His Ministry of the Church… before this season of Grace comes to a close on the last day.

    Even so, given our Lord’s final Advent may still come at any moment, let not this mercy of God cause us to laxity in administering/distributing God’s saving grace (Christ) to all who will receive Him through His appointed means of Word and Sacrament. Rather, may it cause us to more urgency while there is still time, ala Noah, before the doors of the saving Ark (the Church), open to all, are finally closed in the coming end of this temporal world.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Todd, #28,

    “But still, the LCMS is in dangerous territory with this “win”.”
    ——————

    I agree with your thoughts (as I usually do.) However, I do believe the Supreme court ruling is a “win”, that is, for the meantime and for those left in the churches including the LCMS who strive to maintain purity of doctrine and relative uniformity in doctrinal practice. Yet to echo you, the lack of unity on doctrine and practice, especially pertaining to the Doctrine/s of Church and Ministry and how those are then reflected in actual practice, is indeed a bad sign for synods like the LCMS, not to mention others perhaps even more bi-polar like the ELS, with two parties swinging either in the way of WELS take or in the way of the LCMS take. (But actually, the recent pan-Lutheran free conference in New Ulm, MN, back in Nov., 2011, the first of what hopefully will be many more, was very encouraging in the sense of opening up the channels of dialogue and discussion amongst Lutherans of various synods, at least those who still hold to the inspiration/innerrancy of the Holy Scriptures (yes, even those two terms are not necessarily understood the same way by all of us, but I hope you get my point.)

    So as for this Supreme Court ruling, thanks be to God for His “mercy” (i.e., “not giving us what we do deserve”) in the Left-Hand Kingdom of the State for the sake of His “grace” (i.e., “giving us what we do not deserve”) in His Right-Hand Kingdom of the Church. Had this ruling gone the other way it would have had enormous negative consequences upon the Church and Her Ministry, another sign of a hastening of the eventual end of God’…s current season of Grace, of the distribution of salvation in Christ by Christ through His Ministry of the Church… before this season of Grace comes to a close on the last day.

    Even so, given our Lord’s final Advent may still come at any moment, let not this mercy of God cause us to laxity in administering/distributing God’s saving grace (Christ) to all who will receive Him through His appointed means of Word and Sacrament. Rather, may it cause us to more urgency while there is still time, ala Noah, before the doors of the saving Ark (the Church), open to all, are finally closed in the coming end of this temporal world.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “So as for this Supreme Court ruling, thanks be to God for His “mercy” (i.e., “not giving us what we do deserve”) in the Left-Hand Kingdom of the State for the sake of His “grace” (i.e., “giving us what we do not deserve”) in His Right-Hand Kingdom of the Church.

    Left Hand: Secular Libs

    Right Hand: Faithful Followers of Jesus

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “So as for this Supreme Court ruling, thanks be to God for His “mercy” (i.e., “not giving us what we do deserve”) in the Left-Hand Kingdom of the State for the sake of His “grace” (i.e., “giving us what we do not deserve”) in His Right-Hand Kingdom of the Church.

    Left Hand: Secular Libs

    Right Hand: Faithful Followers of Jesus

  • Jon

    The upshot of the decision is that there indeed is a ministerial exception and it is alive and well, and it means that the church is the one who gets to decide who is/can be a minister.

    So, no slippery slope toward WO from without, based on this decision. That danger can only happen from within.

    “The purpose of the exception is not to safeguard a church’s decision to fire a minister only when it is made for a religious reason. The exception instead ensures that the authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful—a matter “strictly ecclesiastical,” Kedroff, 344 U. S., at 119—is the church’s alone.”

  • Jon

    The upshot of the decision is that there indeed is a ministerial exception and it is alive and well, and it means that the church is the one who gets to decide who is/can be a minister.

    So, no slippery slope toward WO from without, based on this decision. That danger can only happen from within.

    “The purpose of the exception is not to safeguard a church’s decision to fire a minister only when it is made for a religious reason. The exception instead ensures that the authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful—a matter “strictly ecclesiastical,” Kedroff, 344 U. S., at 119—is the church’s alone.”

  • Dust

    tODD….this case and many other things are all about where one draws the line, regarding interpretation of this or that. Generally, for me, would rather err on the side of allowing the Churches the right to do their own thing, although some folks will occasionally get hurt, rather than let the state get involved with internal affairs. If this means giving up their tax breaks, that would be fine with me.

    As for full disclosure….well am commenting on a blog, not running for public office :)

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    tODD….this case and many other things are all about where one draws the line, regarding interpretation of this or that. Generally, for me, would rather err on the side of allowing the Churches the right to do their own thing, although some folks will occasionally get hurt, rather than let the state get involved with internal affairs. If this means giving up their tax breaks, that would be fine with me.

    As for full disclosure….well am commenting on a blog, not running for public office :)

    Cheers!

  • SKPeterson

    I welcome the decision by the Court, but it does point out the need for a more cohesive and comprehensive LCMS policy on who and what is eligible for the ministerial exemption.

  • SKPeterson

    I welcome the decision by the Court, but it does point out the need for a more cohesive and comprehensive LCMS policy on who and what is eligible for the ministerial exemption.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@30):

    One of the prominent points made is that it is not the government’s place to interpret church policy on who constitutes a minister.

    Sure. And I agree. And it was easy to say so, in this case. After all, the LCMS distinguishes between lay teachers and “called” teachers, and has a particular academic/theological requirement that must be met for someone to qualify as a minister. Biblical teachings aside, this is a pretty clear-cut case.

    However. I do expect the conclusions of this case to encourage other parties to abuse the now-strengthened ministerial exemption, either to gain tax exemption for more employees than really deserve it (“But they’re all ministers here at ReligionCo Shipping and Storage!”), or out of a desire to circumvent employment law (“RacistCorp does not apprecite the guv’mint telling it who it can and cannot fire as salesme…ministers.”).

    What I’m wondering is how long the government will see fit to stay out of deciding who’s a minister. Will it allow any and all shenanigans out of deference to the First Amendment? Or will such shenanigans ultimately lead to the abandoning of tax exemption for religious organizations?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@30):

    One of the prominent points made is that it is not the government’s place to interpret church policy on who constitutes a minister.

    Sure. And I agree. And it was easy to say so, in this case. After all, the LCMS distinguishes between lay teachers and “called” teachers, and has a particular academic/theological requirement that must be met for someone to qualify as a minister. Biblical teachings aside, this is a pretty clear-cut case.

    However. I do expect the conclusions of this case to encourage other parties to abuse the now-strengthened ministerial exemption, either to gain tax exemption for more employees than really deserve it (“But they’re all ministers here at ReligionCo Shipping and Storage!”), or out of a desire to circumvent employment law (“RacistCorp does not apprecite the guv’mint telling it who it can and cannot fire as salesme…ministers.”).

    What I’m wondering is how long the government will see fit to stay out of deciding who’s a minister. Will it allow any and all shenanigans out of deference to the First Amendment? Or will such shenanigans ultimately lead to the abandoning of tax exemption for religious organizations?

  • kerner

    TU&D @32:

    No no no!!!

    Right hand kingdom = The Church, i.e. the Body of Christ.

    Left hand Kingdom = Human government/administration.

    Christians are citizens of both in different ways.

    http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=869

    You don’t have to believe Lutheran doctrine, but please get our terminology straight.

  • kerner

    TU&D @32:

    No no no!!!

    Right hand kingdom = The Church, i.e. the Body of Christ.

    Left hand Kingdom = Human government/administration.

    Christians are citizens of both in different ways.

    http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=869

    You don’t have to believe Lutheran doctrine, but please get our terminology straight.

  • Jonathan

    To be frank, I’ve long thought this “called” stuff was odd. Did “God” really call a teacher, only for that teacher to develop a disability? Well, maybe so. But why then does the synod [acting as the church of God?] use the disability to undo the “call”? Did God undo his own “call” by disabling this teacher? Shouldn’t the synod care for the “called” teacher until she recovers?

    I realize many are hailing this decision, but it lifts the curtain in my view on rather unsavory corporate-religious practices. Perhaps this “called” stuff should be described for what it is: a job hire.

  • Jonathan

    To be frank, I’ve long thought this “called” stuff was odd. Did “God” really call a teacher, only for that teacher to develop a disability? Well, maybe so. But why then does the synod [acting as the church of God?] use the disability to undo the “call”? Did God undo his own “call” by disabling this teacher? Shouldn’t the synod care for the “called” teacher until she recovers?

    I realize many are hailing this decision, but it lifts the curtain in my view on rather unsavory corporate-religious practices. Perhaps this “called” stuff should be described for what it is: a job hire.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 36: I understand your point on the abuse angle. I’m not sympathetic, particularly, respective to employment rights, as I think that federal employment law, in general, is way out of line with the proper purview of the federal government, and government’s penchant to apply “nondiscrimination” principles to employment categories far beyond race-discrimination obviously steps on the toes of conscientious religious practice in many respects. However, I don’t get the housing allowance. I think it could and should be eliminated, or at least sharply curtailed. In the case of the Crystal Cathedral, the Schullers were all “ministers”, and they were all bringing down six figure “housing allowances” every year. That’s an absurd abuse, and I can see no legitimate Constitutional support for it.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 36: I understand your point on the abuse angle. I’m not sympathetic, particularly, respective to employment rights, as I think that federal employment law, in general, is way out of line with the proper purview of the federal government, and government’s penchant to apply “nondiscrimination” principles to employment categories far beyond race-discrimination obviously steps on the toes of conscientious religious practice in many respects. However, I don’t get the housing allowance. I think it could and should be eliminated, or at least sharply curtailed. In the case of the Crystal Cathedral, the Schullers were all “ministers”, and they were all bringing down six figure “housing allowances” every year. That’s an absurd abuse, and I can see no legitimate Constitutional support for it.

  • kerner

    A lot of you who were concerned may already be coming around to this, but I really don’t think we are in such dire danger of a female teacher demanding to be ordained. The distinguishing characteristic of a teacher being considered a lay “minister” is not ordination, but the concept of being “called” by the Holy Spirit to that vocation. In my long ago affiliation with WELS, my recollection is that WELS considered it teachers “called” as well (and I’m pretty sure theELS did too, but that’s more of a guess). Frankly, considering any non-pastor (including ordained administrators) to be in the “office of the holy ministry” is questionable by LC-MS standards, because LC-MS theology more strictly limits the OHM to preaching the Word and administering the sacraments. WELS defines the OHM more broadly, because it defines the Church more broadly. At least, so I remember it.

    Whether the US tax code is what drove Lutherans to call their teachers “ministers”, I don’t know. It could be so, but if it is, this is not a new-fangled development, but terminology and practice that has been in place for decades (which doesn’t make it right).

  • kerner

    A lot of you who were concerned may already be coming around to this, but I really don’t think we are in such dire danger of a female teacher demanding to be ordained. The distinguishing characteristic of a teacher being considered a lay “minister” is not ordination, but the concept of being “called” by the Holy Spirit to that vocation. In my long ago affiliation with WELS, my recollection is that WELS considered it teachers “called” as well (and I’m pretty sure theELS did too, but that’s more of a guess). Frankly, considering any non-pastor (including ordained administrators) to be in the “office of the holy ministry” is questionable by LC-MS standards, because LC-MS theology more strictly limits the OHM to preaching the Word and administering the sacraments. WELS defines the OHM more broadly, because it defines the Church more broadly. At least, so I remember it.

    Whether the US tax code is what drove Lutherans to call their teachers “ministers”, I don’t know. It could be so, but if it is, this is not a new-fangled development, but terminology and practice that has been in place for decades (which doesn’t make it right).

  • kerner

    My other recollection is that “called” personel, teachers or pastors alike, have greater, not less, protection than an at will employee. I have actually heard someone compare a call to having tenure.

    The theory, as I understand it, is that the Holy Spirit calls a church worker through the means of the congregation electing him/her. But once so called, the teacher cannot be “un-called” at will. There needs to be some finding of grounds to remove a called chruch worker, and I’m not sure what those grounds are entirely. I do know that such grounds would include, false doctrine or gross immorality; but don’t hold me to particulars on this point.

  • kerner

    My other recollection is that “called” personel, teachers or pastors alike, have greater, not less, protection than an at will employee. I have actually heard someone compare a call to having tenure.

    The theory, as I understand it, is that the Holy Spirit calls a church worker through the means of the congregation electing him/her. But once so called, the teacher cannot be “un-called” at will. There needs to be some finding of grounds to remove a called chruch worker, and I’m not sure what those grounds are entirely. I do know that such grounds would include, false doctrine or gross immorality; but don’t hold me to particulars on this point.

  • Dust

    As concerns all these fancy ways to take advantage of loopholes in the tax code, it’s not just churches doing it. Ask any good tax attorney or accountant, they make a good living from it.

    And really any kind of law, not just tax law, has loopholes. From the most complex (complex perhaps to try and minimize interpretations other than that intended by the author…the new health care law, for example) to the most simple legal code, like one of the first ones, the 10 commandments. It’s almost a sport for us to find ways to wiggle out of our legal duties. Did God really say that?

    But, having said all that, perhaps if the Church would just pay these called workers a better salary, the tax loopholes would not be necessary and we could avoid all these other issues and problems? But the Church derives most of it’s income from what it finds in it’s collection plates, and am doubtful if it’s close to the 10% talked about in the OT…..never has, never will, that may the distinction of being loophole number one :)

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    As concerns all these fancy ways to take advantage of loopholes in the tax code, it’s not just churches doing it. Ask any good tax attorney or accountant, they make a good living from it.

    And really any kind of law, not just tax law, has loopholes. From the most complex (complex perhaps to try and minimize interpretations other than that intended by the author…the new health care law, for example) to the most simple legal code, like one of the first ones, the 10 commandments. It’s almost a sport for us to find ways to wiggle out of our legal duties. Did God really say that?

    But, having said all that, perhaps if the Church would just pay these called workers a better salary, the tax loopholes would not be necessary and we could avoid all these other issues and problems? But the Church derives most of it’s income from what it finds in it’s collection plates, and am doubtful if it’s close to the 10% talked about in the OT…..never has, never will, that may the distinction of being loophole number one :)

    Cheers!

  • DonS

    Of course, Dust, if we eliminate the income tax, we would eliminate the problem of the housing allowance, and would also eliminate a primary way that the government can intrude into our personal affairs without a warrant or even reasonable cause. A win-win?

  • DonS

    Of course, Dust, if we eliminate the income tax, we would eliminate the problem of the housing allowance, and would also eliminate a primary way that the government can intrude into our personal affairs without a warrant or even reasonable cause. A win-win?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner said (@41):

    But once so called, the teacher cannot be “un-called” at will. There needs to be some finding of grounds to remove a called chruch worker, and I’m not sure what those grounds are entirely.

    Well, obviously, being diagnosed with narcolepsy is one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner said (@41):

    But once so called, the teacher cannot be “un-called” at will. There needs to be some finding of grounds to remove a called chruch worker, and I’m not sure what those grounds are entirely.

    Well, obviously, being diagnosed with narcolepsy is one.

  • Tom Hering

    Will good teachers with a chance of being hired elsewhere even try, now, for positions in LCMS schools? Winning sometimes costs you a lot, dear leaders of the synod.

  • Tom Hering

    Will good teachers with a chance of being hired elsewhere even try, now, for positions in LCMS schools? Winning sometimes costs you a lot, dear leaders of the synod.

  • Dust

    DonS….sounds like a win-win, in theory. But we if eliminate the income tax, you realize it would be more difficult to afford such a big government? Some may call that another win-win :)

  • Dust

    DonS….sounds like a win-win, in theory. But we if eliminate the income tax, you realize it would be more difficult to afford such a big government? Some may call that another win-win :)

  • DonS

    Yep, Dust ;-)

    Actually, we would of course have to raise similar amounts of revenue in other ways, because our big government has already indebted itself for generations to come. But, we’ll reserve discussions on tax policy for a tax thread.

  • DonS

    Yep, Dust ;-)

    Actually, we would of course have to raise similar amounts of revenue in other ways, because our big government has already indebted itself for generations to come. But, we’ll reserve discussions on tax policy for a tax thread.

  • –helen

    I do know that such grounds would include, false doctrine or gross immorality; but don’t hold me to particulars on this point. –Kerner

    Teaching false doctrine, gross immorality, or refusal to do the work pertinent to the call…. none of which applied to the teacher, so the church shouldn’t have fired her, to begin with . [Refusal to play with a marked deck is not one of the reasons!]

    But, as a “practical” matter, ordained Pastors have been booted from the roster for declaring bankruptcy, which is not one of the three either. [But we don't want to tell the world that we let our seminarians get neck deep in debt, pay them too little and then don't help them get out of it! All those business types in the district offices ...and no financial counseling for pastors!] :(

  • –helen

    I do know that such grounds would include, false doctrine or gross immorality; but don’t hold me to particulars on this point. –Kerner

    Teaching false doctrine, gross immorality, or refusal to do the work pertinent to the call…. none of which applied to the teacher, so the church shouldn’t have fired her, to begin with . [Refusal to play with a marked deck is not one of the reasons!]

    But, as a “practical” matter, ordained Pastors have been booted from the roster for declaring bankruptcy, which is not one of the three either. [But we don't want to tell the world that we let our seminarians get neck deep in debt, pay them too little and then don't help them get out of it! All those business types in the district offices ...and no financial counseling for pastors!] :(

  • Norman Teigen

    The case was decided today and I am reading it. It is always better to read the original document. I am continuing in my criticism of Dr. Veith leading with the J. Christian Adams comments. If any of Dr. Veith’s students would present a paper with a lead-in like that, the student would undoubtedly receive a failing grade. When a speaker is arguing a point, he must rely on his exposition rather than his opinion of what the other speaker’s reputation would be. The comments about Halder were so blatantly out of line that no thinking reader could be taken in by it.

    I am going to apply the 8th Commandment to Dr. Veith and assert that he didn’t make the argument, that someone else. Folks, the Ethics of Rhetoric is a very serious topic and trumps every well meaning assertion of opinion.

  • Norman Teigen

    The case was decided today and I am reading it. It is always better to read the original document. I am continuing in my criticism of Dr. Veith leading with the J. Christian Adams comments. If any of Dr. Veith’s students would present a paper with a lead-in like that, the student would undoubtedly receive a failing grade. When a speaker is arguing a point, he must rely on his exposition rather than his opinion of what the other speaker’s reputation would be. The comments about Halder were so blatantly out of line that no thinking reader could be taken in by it.

    I am going to apply the 8th Commandment to Dr. Veith and assert that he didn’t make the argument, that someone else. Folks, the Ethics of Rhetoric is a very serious topic and trumps every well meaning assertion of opinion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner said (@41):

    My other recollection is that “called” personel, teachers or pastors alike, have greater, not less, protection than an at will employee. I have actually heard someone compare a call to having tenure.

    This might be the (unspoken) policy, in theory, of the LCMS, but as of this ruling, it is no longer legally true. If you want the protections of federal employment law, then you do not want to be a “called” teacher in the LCMS.

    …perhaps if the Church would just pay these called workers a better salary…

    See, this is where knowing that you’re one of those called workers helps keep your comments in context, Dust.

    …the tax loopholes would not be necessary and we could avoid all these other issues and problems?

    Um, use of the tax loopholes is not “necessary”, and are you suggesting that the “ministerial” nature of LCMS “called” teachers is solely due to a lack of funding and not due to actual theological principle? Because that would be pretty deplorable!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner said (@41):

    My other recollection is that “called” personel, teachers or pastors alike, have greater, not less, protection than an at will employee. I have actually heard someone compare a call to having tenure.

    This might be the (unspoken) policy, in theory, of the LCMS, but as of this ruling, it is no longer legally true. If you want the protections of federal employment law, then you do not want to be a “called” teacher in the LCMS.

    …perhaps if the Church would just pay these called workers a better salary…

    See, this is where knowing that you’re one of those called workers helps keep your comments in context, Dust.

    …the tax loopholes would not be necessary and we could avoid all these other issues and problems?

    Um, use of the tax loopholes is not “necessary”, and are you suggesting that the “ministerial” nature of LCMS “called” teachers is solely due to a lack of funding and not due to actual theological principle? Because that would be pretty deplorable!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Lutheran school! The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.”

    Government usurpation of churches… what happened to the doctrine of “Separation of Church and State”?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Lutheran school! The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.”

    Government usurpation of churches… what happened to the doctrine of “Separation of Church and State”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    TUaD asked (@51):

    Government usurpation of churches… what happened to the doctrine of “Separation of Church and State”?

    Well, see, Culture Warriors argue that it doesn’t — and shouldn’t — exist, that the existence of such a separation was actually a lie propagated by modern “secular-progressives”. Do you not know your own history, TUaD?

    Let’s ask admitted, self-labeled Culture Warrior Bill O’Reilly, from his book Culture Warrior:

    (p. 78) The tired “separation of church and state” argument is used again and again to justify attacks on spirituality in the public square. But the “separation” argument is one big lie, a bogus piece of propaganda cooked up by an intentional misreading of the intent of the Constitution. This “wall of separation” falsehood has, however, been lovingly embraced by the secular media and foisted upon the American public with a ferocious intensity.

    (p. 199) There was no supposed “separation of church and state.” That immense piece of false but effective propaganda was dumped on America in the late twentieth century by the ACLU.

    And there you have it. Culture Warriors, of course, are more interested in “getting things done” than any actual political principle, which is why O’Reilly can argue against the separation of church and state when it hinders the Culture Warrior agenda, but then you can run under the protective aegis of the same when it also fits your agenda.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    TUaD asked (@51):

    Government usurpation of churches… what happened to the doctrine of “Separation of Church and State”?

    Well, see, Culture Warriors argue that it doesn’t — and shouldn’t — exist, that the existence of such a separation was actually a lie propagated by modern “secular-progressives”. Do you not know your own history, TUaD?

    Let’s ask admitted, self-labeled Culture Warrior Bill O’Reilly, from his book Culture Warrior:

    (p. 78) The tired “separation of church and state” argument is used again and again to justify attacks on spirituality in the public square. But the “separation” argument is one big lie, a bogus piece of propaganda cooked up by an intentional misreading of the intent of the Constitution. This “wall of separation” falsehood has, however, been lovingly embraced by the secular media and foisted upon the American public with a ferocious intensity.

    (p. 199) There was no supposed “separation of church and state.” That immense piece of false but effective propaganda was dumped on America in the late twentieth century by the ACLU.

    And there you have it. Culture Warriors, of course, are more interested in “getting things done” than any actual political principle, which is why O’Reilly can argue against the separation of church and state when it hinders the Culture Warrior agenda, but then you can run under the protective aegis of the same when it also fits your agenda.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.

    Dr. Gene Veith, what other government usurpations of churches have you observed?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.

    Dr. Gene Veith, what other government usurpations of churches have you observed?

  • Jimmy Veith

    The fact that it was a unanimous decision by even the so-called “liberal” judges, including the two Obama appointments goes a long way in disproving the myth created by the “cultural warriors” that “liberal” judges want to use the first amendment to impose on us a secular society.

    I think most “liberal” judges agree with the historically accurate interpretation of the first amendment with respect to the separation of church and state. This is a concept that protects both the state and the church, and religious practices generally. I think the Supreme Court got this one right.

  • Jimmy Veith

    The fact that it was a unanimous decision by even the so-called “liberal” judges, including the two Obama appointments goes a long way in disproving the myth created by the “cultural warriors” that “liberal” judges want to use the first amendment to impose on us a secular society.

    I think most “liberal” judges agree with the historically accurate interpretation of the first amendment with respect to the separation of church and state. This is a concept that protects both the state and the church, and religious practices generally. I think the Supreme Court got this one right.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Jimmy Veith: “the myth created by the “cultural warriors” that “liberal” judges want to use the first amendment to impose on us a secular society.”

    Which Culture Warriors have said “‘liberal’ judges want to use the first amendment to impose on us a secular society”?

    How about naming just three of them along with corresponding citations/links?

    Thanks.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Jimmy Veith: “the myth created by the “cultural warriors” that “liberal” judges want to use the first amendment to impose on us a secular society.”

    Which Culture Warriors have said “‘liberal’ judges want to use the first amendment to impose on us a secular society”?

    How about naming just three of them along with corresponding citations/links?

    Thanks.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Tom @ 45

    “Will good teachers with a chance of being hired elsewhere even try, now, for positions in LCMS schools? ”

    Yeah, that is more of what I was thinking, too. Maybe not so much that teachers wouldn’t want to work at an LCMS school but that they wouldn’t want to be called because then they would be more subject to LCMS policies that are not so much in their favor. We have teachers at our day school that meet every qualification for being called but choose not to be.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Tom @ 45

    “Will good teachers with a chance of being hired elsewhere even try, now, for positions in LCMS schools? ”

    Yeah, that is more of what I was thinking, too. Maybe not so much that teachers wouldn’t want to work at an LCMS school but that they wouldn’t want to be called because then they would be more subject to LCMS policies that are not so much in their favor. We have teachers at our day school that meet every qualification for being called but choose not to be.

  • kerner

    tODD @ 50:

    “If you want the protections of federal employment law, then you do not want to be a “called” teacher in the LCMS.”

    Well…yeah, exactly. Also in WELS, and every church, mosque and temple in the United States. What’s your point?

    helen @17,48:

    You appear to have reached some very negative conclusions about the LC-MS DRP. Why? Do the admonitions of 1 Cor.6 have no applicability here?

    Generally:

    Is it really such a great idea to assume that Ms. Perich was the aggrieved party? We really don’t know all the facts, because the point of this decision is that the details of who was most unreasonable are legally irrelevant. The point of the decision is that this kind of dispute should be settled internally by the church body. The point of 1 Cor. 6 would seem to be that at least some disputes between Christians should be resolved internally by “the saints”. Why shouldn’t this decision have been handled internally? Why did Ms. Perich think “consulting a lawyer and asserting her legal rights” was A) necessary, or B) consistent with the concept giving your brother your shirt when he has only asked for your coat.

    (And she sure consulted the wrong lawyer, because it turned out that she didn’t have the “legal rights” he told her she had)

    I’m not saying that I know that Ms. Perich was completely in the wrong or that I know for a fact that her school was blameless. I’m just saying that we don’t know, and will probably never know, any of that. We just know she tried to resolve this dispute in an adversarial manner which she had no legal right to pursue.

  • kerner

    tODD @ 50:

    “If you want the protections of federal employment law, then you do not want to be a “called” teacher in the LCMS.”

    Well…yeah, exactly. Also in WELS, and every church, mosque and temple in the United States. What’s your point?

    helen @17,48:

    You appear to have reached some very negative conclusions about the LC-MS DRP. Why? Do the admonitions of 1 Cor.6 have no applicability here?

    Generally:

    Is it really such a great idea to assume that Ms. Perich was the aggrieved party? We really don’t know all the facts, because the point of this decision is that the details of who was most unreasonable are legally irrelevant. The point of the decision is that this kind of dispute should be settled internally by the church body. The point of 1 Cor. 6 would seem to be that at least some disputes between Christians should be resolved internally by “the saints”. Why shouldn’t this decision have been handled internally? Why did Ms. Perich think “consulting a lawyer and asserting her legal rights” was A) necessary, or B) consistent with the concept giving your brother your shirt when he has only asked for your coat.

    (And she sure consulted the wrong lawyer, because it turned out that she didn’t have the “legal rights” he told her she had)

    I’m not saying that I know that Ms. Perich was completely in the wrong or that I know for a fact that her school was blameless. I’m just saying that we don’t know, and will probably never know, any of that. We just know she tried to resolve this dispute in an adversarial manner which she had no legal right to pursue.

  • Tom Hering

    The analysis on PBS NewsHour tonight was interesting. Church employees can still pursue employment discrimination suits in Federal courts. Though ministerial exemption is now an established defense, it isn’t a defense that will always prevail, precisely because the Supremes refused to strictly define “minister.” Or so I understand.

  • Tom Hering

    The analysis on PBS NewsHour tonight was interesting. Church employees can still pursue employment discrimination suits in Federal courts. Though ministerial exemption is now an established defense, it isn’t a defense that will always prevail, precisely because the Supremes refused to strictly define “minister.” Or so I understand.

  • fws

    Kerner @ 37

    nope kerner. the church is actually in both kingdoms. as the holy catholic church it is a left hand kingdom government much like any other and exists to enforce order. as the communion of saints the church consists of all true believers with invisible faith in Christ and IS the left hand kingdom, alone in faith alone in Christ. apology art VII

  • fws

    Kerner @ 37

    nope kerner. the church is actually in both kingdoms. as the holy catholic church it is a left hand kingdom government much like any other and exists to enforce order. as the communion of saints the church consists of all true believers with invisible faith in Christ and IS the left hand kingdom, alone in faith alone in Christ. apology art VII

  • kerner

    For anybody who cares, the LC-MS reconciler program is reported on here:

    http://www.wfn.org/2009/03/msg00118.html

    I underwent reconciler training in the early 1990′s, and I find the article (while a little over-enthusiasticly positive) to be basically accurate. In 1993 LC-MS decided to convert its formerly adversarial (very much like ecclesiastical courts) system of dispute resolution to a system that was more like mediation-arbitration.

    The training attempted to combine the Biblical concepts of Matthew 18 (being reconciled with your brother who has sinned against you) with med-arb procedures. The trainers seemed to recognise that there was not a perfect fit between the Bible and the med-arb model, but they felt it was a better fit than the litigation model they had been using. Since mediation is, indeed, a system in which a neutral person tries to help antagonists resolve disputes voluntarily, there is some support for that position.

    I only participated in a few “reconciliations”, and I didn’t really solve any disputes, but I know at least one other person who remained in the program much longer. And I did not find the program to be a stacked deck.

    I gather that this is the program that Ms. Perich refused to participate in, opting to sue her church instead.

  • kerner

    For anybody who cares, the LC-MS reconciler program is reported on here:

    http://www.wfn.org/2009/03/msg00118.html

    I underwent reconciler training in the early 1990′s, and I find the article (while a little over-enthusiasticly positive) to be basically accurate. In 1993 LC-MS decided to convert its formerly adversarial (very much like ecclesiastical courts) system of dispute resolution to a system that was more like mediation-arbitration.

    The training attempted to combine the Biblical concepts of Matthew 18 (being reconciled with your brother who has sinned against you) with med-arb procedures. The trainers seemed to recognise that there was not a perfect fit between the Bible and the med-arb model, but they felt it was a better fit than the litigation model they had been using. Since mediation is, indeed, a system in which a neutral person tries to help antagonists resolve disputes voluntarily, there is some support for that position.

    I only participated in a few “reconciliations”, and I didn’t really solve any disputes, but I know at least one other person who remained in the program much longer. And I did not find the program to be a stacked deck.

    I gather that this is the program that Ms. Perich refused to participate in, opting to sue her church instead.

  • Dust

    Tom….am no lawyer or constitutional scholar, but in my quick read of the opinion, it seemed to me that while the “supremes” did not accurately “define” ministry, at least Chief Justice Roberts (am pretty sure it was him) did elaborate on why they felt her position met some general requirement of ministry, as opposed to the cafeteria help, nothing against them, of course. But he did seem to lay out the case as to why her ministry was not one in name only….that should put to rest the fears of some that the title will be used indiscriminately, as a formality without substance, for the purpose of securing that sacred tax break, or so I understand :)

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Tom….am no lawyer or constitutional scholar, but in my quick read of the opinion, it seemed to me that while the “supremes” did not accurately “define” ministry, at least Chief Justice Roberts (am pretty sure it was him) did elaborate on why they felt her position met some general requirement of ministry, as opposed to the cafeteria help, nothing against them, of course. But he did seem to lay out the case as to why her ministry was not one in name only….that should put to rest the fears of some that the title will be used indiscriminately, as a formality without substance, for the purpose of securing that sacred tax break, or so I understand :)

    Cheers!

  • kerner

    fws:

    I meant the Church (capital C), the kingdom of God, the one we get into only by the Gospel, by the Grace of God, not by the law and not subject to it.

    I realize that the church, the organization, operated by humans and still subject to the law, is in the left hand kingdom.

    I hope that clarifies, but I am pretty sure you have studied this more thoroughly than I, so if you could elaborate on the identity of the right hand kingdom, which I admit to being fuzzy about, I would appreciate it.

  • kerner

    fws:

    I meant the Church (capital C), the kingdom of God, the one we get into only by the Gospel, by the Grace of God, not by the law and not subject to it.

    I realize that the church, the organization, operated by humans and still subject to the law, is in the left hand kingdom.

    I hope that clarifies, but I am pretty sure you have studied this more thoroughly than I, so if you could elaborate on the identity of the right hand kingdom, which I admit to being fuzzy about, I would appreciate it.

  • Paul

    Oh, so much partial information.

    1. The process of removing a Called Servant from office is not merely to rescind a particular Call, but rather the process of removing the individual from the eligibility for any Call altogether. The acceptable reasons are in my own words: (1) false doctrine (2) scandalous living (adultery and other 1 Timothy 3 issues) and (3) inability to fulfill the requirements of the office or (sometimes listed as (4)) willful neglect of duties.

    2. As demonstrated in oral arguments before the SCOTUS, it was the framers of the Constitution themselves who created the establishment clause in large part to prohibit the government from getting involved in the appointment of Ministers. So, the “ministerial exception” is government-made, not church created.

    3. The “loopholes” such as the housing allowance for ministers in tax laws was created by the state, not by the church, in order to keep the state out of taxing churches by keeping churches from collecting income tax from its ministers. However, while not wanting to tax churches, the state has no problem taxing ministers. Therefore, by declaring ministers “self employed”, the minister pays self employment tax, equivalent to both the employer and the employee portions of FICA. There are then many ‘loopholes’ for self employed persons of all kind in order to balance the overall tax burden between self employed persons and employees. In other words, what gives housing allowance and other ‘loopholes’ to ministers is not the fact that they are ministers but the fact that they are considered self employed by the IRS. So Ministers pay self employment tax (of 15.3%) on ALL forms of compensation, even housing, while employees only pay 7.65% of their cash compensation. To offset this added tax burden so as to not discourage people from being self employed (e.g., owning a business), certain deductions were allowed on the income tax.

    Properly speaking, the tax ‘loopholes’ available to the self employed should offset the added tax burdens on the self employed. This is not to say that there are some who abuse this and should rightly be called to task for it, but the majority of ministers – all of whom are considered self employed – will only experience, at best, an offset roughly equal to their self employment tax burden.

    Furthermore, these housing allowance and other deductions only apply to those who itemize their deductions and it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify itemization. Finally, the amount claimed as a housing allowance must be substantiated by documentation of actual, allowable housing costs. Any “housing allowance” over that which can be substantiated by documents becomes taxable income once again.

    4. The “calling” of male teachers began in the LCMS and in other Lutheran denominations in response to the drafting of male teachers into military service. In those days, many male teachers had nearly identical educations as Pastors from 8th grade through Junior College. While male teachers would then go on to the Senior College, Pastors would go to senior college and then to the seminary. In those days, only teachers who had been through our Concordia Academy system and completed the Senior college (all of which were male) could be Called ministers.

    As time went by, our Concordia Academy system was reinvented to make our teachers’ colleges all four-year degree-granding institutions. Female teachers were then, of course, allowed to attend the senior colleges along with the men (I believe this was in the 1950′s). Having then the same training as the men as seeing the equal rights emphasis of the 1960′s and 1970′s, the Called status was allowed to women teachers as “commissioned” ministers.

    As you can see, it was the change in the Concordia educational system and the equal rights movement for women which led to the extended of “called status” to female teachers while it was also the educational similarities coupled with the Draft of WWII which initially led to the extending of the Called status to male teachers.

    I agree that this has created a confusion not only in our churches but also in the secular realm by shifting the focus from ordination and the mantle of the Divinely established Office of the Holy Ministry to a focus on some amount of religious training combined with non-Scriptural agendas (avoiding the military draft for men or seeking equal opportunity for women).

    In my 20 years of service in the church, 8 years of education in the Concordia System, and 18 years of “growing up in a parsonage” I have seen much trouble in our congregations because of this shift in focus. In my opinion, either a man is “called and ordained” and serves as a Pastor, overseer of Pastors, or theological educator of Pastors or he (or she) is an employee. In my opinion, discussions about how much religious training one needs, whether or not such church workers should be eligible for the draft (we don’t have one at present anyway), or whether or not women who perform the same functions as men should be treated equally are not Scripturally based and should not cloud the question of whether or not a man is Called and Ordained to the Office of the Holy Ministry. Call them all “church workers” along with secretaries and custodians, but do not call them “Ministers of the Gospel”. The only Biblical distinction between men and women is whether or not they may be placed into the Office of the Holy Ministry or assist in the carrying out of its functions. You won’t find the Apostles or the Reformers arguing as to whether three or four classes at a Concordia College or University are enough to be considered a “Steward of the Mysteries of God.”

  • Paul

    Oh, so much partial information.

    1. The process of removing a Called Servant from office is not merely to rescind a particular Call, but rather the process of removing the individual from the eligibility for any Call altogether. The acceptable reasons are in my own words: (1) false doctrine (2) scandalous living (adultery and other 1 Timothy 3 issues) and (3) inability to fulfill the requirements of the office or (sometimes listed as (4)) willful neglect of duties.

    2. As demonstrated in oral arguments before the SCOTUS, it was the framers of the Constitution themselves who created the establishment clause in large part to prohibit the government from getting involved in the appointment of Ministers. So, the “ministerial exception” is government-made, not church created.

    3. The “loopholes” such as the housing allowance for ministers in tax laws was created by the state, not by the church, in order to keep the state out of taxing churches by keeping churches from collecting income tax from its ministers. However, while not wanting to tax churches, the state has no problem taxing ministers. Therefore, by declaring ministers “self employed”, the minister pays self employment tax, equivalent to both the employer and the employee portions of FICA. There are then many ‘loopholes’ for self employed persons of all kind in order to balance the overall tax burden between self employed persons and employees. In other words, what gives housing allowance and other ‘loopholes’ to ministers is not the fact that they are ministers but the fact that they are considered self employed by the IRS. So Ministers pay self employment tax (of 15.3%) on ALL forms of compensation, even housing, while employees only pay 7.65% of their cash compensation. To offset this added tax burden so as to not discourage people from being self employed (e.g., owning a business), certain deductions were allowed on the income tax.

    Properly speaking, the tax ‘loopholes’ available to the self employed should offset the added tax burdens on the self employed. This is not to say that there are some who abuse this and should rightly be called to task for it, but the majority of ministers – all of whom are considered self employed – will only experience, at best, an offset roughly equal to their self employment tax burden.

    Furthermore, these housing allowance and other deductions only apply to those who itemize their deductions and it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify itemization. Finally, the amount claimed as a housing allowance must be substantiated by documentation of actual, allowable housing costs. Any “housing allowance” over that which can be substantiated by documents becomes taxable income once again.

    4. The “calling” of male teachers began in the LCMS and in other Lutheran denominations in response to the drafting of male teachers into military service. In those days, many male teachers had nearly identical educations as Pastors from 8th grade through Junior College. While male teachers would then go on to the Senior College, Pastors would go to senior college and then to the seminary. In those days, only teachers who had been through our Concordia Academy system and completed the Senior college (all of which were male) could be Called ministers.

    As time went by, our Concordia Academy system was reinvented to make our teachers’ colleges all four-year degree-granding institutions. Female teachers were then, of course, allowed to attend the senior colleges along with the men (I believe this was in the 1950′s). Having then the same training as the men as seeing the equal rights emphasis of the 1960′s and 1970′s, the Called status was allowed to women teachers as “commissioned” ministers.

    As you can see, it was the change in the Concordia educational system and the equal rights movement for women which led to the extended of “called status” to female teachers while it was also the educational similarities coupled with the Draft of WWII which initially led to the extending of the Called status to male teachers.

    I agree that this has created a confusion not only in our churches but also in the secular realm by shifting the focus from ordination and the mantle of the Divinely established Office of the Holy Ministry to a focus on some amount of religious training combined with non-Scriptural agendas (avoiding the military draft for men or seeking equal opportunity for women).

    In my 20 years of service in the church, 8 years of education in the Concordia System, and 18 years of “growing up in a parsonage” I have seen much trouble in our congregations because of this shift in focus. In my opinion, either a man is “called and ordained” and serves as a Pastor, overseer of Pastors, or theological educator of Pastors or he (or she) is an employee. In my opinion, discussions about how much religious training one needs, whether or not such church workers should be eligible for the draft (we don’t have one at present anyway), or whether or not women who perform the same functions as men should be treated equally are not Scripturally based and should not cloud the question of whether or not a man is Called and Ordained to the Office of the Holy Ministry. Call them all “church workers” along with secretaries and custodians, but do not call them “Ministers of the Gospel”. The only Biblical distinction between men and women is whether or not they may be placed into the Office of the Holy Ministry or assist in the carrying out of its functions. You won’t find the Apostles or the Reformers arguing as to whether three or four classes at a Concordia College or University are enough to be considered a “Steward of the Mysteries of God.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Paul: “As demonstrated in oral arguments before the SCOTUS, it was the framers of the Constitution themselves who created the establishment clause in large part to prohibit the government from getting involved in the appointment of Ministers.”

    Is this “establishment clause” related in any way to the Doctrine of the Separation of Church and State?

    As Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith stated, “The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government” which seems to be a SCOTUS ruling that simply upholds the establishment clause in the Constitution.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Paul: “As demonstrated in oral arguments before the SCOTUS, it was the framers of the Constitution themselves who created the establishment clause in large part to prohibit the government from getting involved in the appointment of Ministers.”

    Is this “establishment clause” related in any way to the Doctrine of the Separation of Church and State?

    As Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith stated, “The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government” which seems to be a SCOTUS ruling that simply upholds the establishment clause in the Constitution.

  • Dust

    To paraphrase a T. E. Elliot poem from a few threads ago:

    This is the way this blog ends (like many others here, alas!):

    Not with a bang,

    But with a whimper :(

    Cheers!

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    To paraphrase a T. E. Elliot poem from a few threads ago:

    This is the way this blog ends (like many others here, alas!):

    Not with a bang,

    But with a whimper :(

    Cheers!

    Cheers!

  • Dust
  • Dust
  • JunkerGeorg

    @norman teigen, #10,

    “The thoughtful reader will immediately note that J. Christian Adams is hardly a good source in this topic. You can do better than this Dr. Veith.”
    ————–

    Mr Teigen, then why don’t you go start a blog and show Dr. Gene Veith and ourselves how it’s done. Fwiw, Dr. Veith does this on the side (yes, he has a full-time job you know!), and even if some may not agree with everything he says and/or every word of every author of every single article/thought he may quote or link to, nevertheless, many of us wholly appreciate his contributions in terms of setting up this blog and daily posting many interesting threads for conversation which he finds. If you need higher standards, perhaps reading and critiquing an online news journal by full-time paid journalists would be more down your alley. Just sayin’

  • JunkerGeorg

    @norman teigen, #10,

    “The thoughtful reader will immediately note that J. Christian Adams is hardly a good source in this topic. You can do better than this Dr. Veith.”
    ————–

    Mr Teigen, then why don’t you go start a blog and show Dr. Gene Veith and ourselves how it’s done. Fwiw, Dr. Veith does this on the side (yes, he has a full-time job you know!), and even if some may not agree with everything he says and/or every word of every author of every single article/thought he may quote or link to, nevertheless, many of us wholly appreciate his contributions in terms of setting up this blog and daily posting many interesting threads for conversation which he finds. If you need higher standards, perhaps reading and critiquing an online news journal by full-time paid journalists would be more down your alley. Just sayin’

  • Pingback: The Supremes Get One Right | Designs on the Truth

  • Pingback: The Supremes Get One Right | Designs on the Truth

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.”

    There’s a Religious Liberty case going on in Mexico too.

    Here’s an excerpt from an Anglican blog:

    The Anglican Church of Mexico stands with the country’s political left in opposing amendment of Article 24 of the country’s constitution, Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter tells The Church of England Newspaper.

    Reforming the constitution to lift restrictions on religious groups holding services in public without first receiving government permission is a “very dangerous move that would only benefit the majority [Catholic] church and the growing ultraconservative Neo-Evangelicals and Neo-Pentecostals. Both groups are equally right wing and eager to impose their “values” on the entire population,” Archbishop Touche-Porter said.

    Most Mexicans support a total separation of Church and State,” the Anglican archbishop said, adding that “we are not used and do not wish to have uncontrolled open air religious services….”

    ——-

    Observations:

    o “The Anglican Church of Mexico stands with the country’s political left

    Imagine that. Theological Liberals aiding and abetting Political Liberals.

    o It seems that to some theological liberals, “separation of church and state” means “government controls religion”?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith: “The ruling was also broadly written so as to protect churches from other usurpations on the part of the government.”

    There’s a Religious Liberty case going on in Mexico too.

    Here’s an excerpt from an Anglican blog:

    The Anglican Church of Mexico stands with the country’s political left in opposing amendment of Article 24 of the country’s constitution, Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter tells The Church of England Newspaper.

    Reforming the constitution to lift restrictions on religious groups holding services in public without first receiving government permission is a “very dangerous move that would only benefit the majority [Catholic] church and the growing ultraconservative Neo-Evangelicals and Neo-Pentecostals. Both groups are equally right wing and eager to impose their “values” on the entire population,” Archbishop Touche-Porter said.

    Most Mexicans support a total separation of Church and State,” the Anglican archbishop said, adding that “we are not used and do not wish to have uncontrolled open air religious services….”

    ——-

    Observations:

    o “The Anglican Church of Mexico stands with the country’s political left

    Imagine that. Theological Liberals aiding and abetting Political Liberals.

    o It seems that to some theological liberals, “separation of church and state” means “government controls religion”?

  • mike

    The Dream team of the court system shot an airball!
    This was never a religion battle but a budget war. Teacher illness not disputed, teacher chilled and threatened on notice of intent to return, teacher proof of return to duty form, no medical proof of schools medical concern GAME OVER. Court error fiancial no religion.
    Court had no place walking into the other parts of this case it was a smoke screen on thin ice and they fell in.

  • mike

    The Dream team of the court system shot an airball!
    This was never a religion battle but a budget war. Teacher illness not disputed, teacher chilled and threatened on notice of intent to return, teacher proof of return to duty form, no medical proof of schools medical concern GAME OVER. Court error fiancial no religion.
    Court had no place walking into the other parts of this case it was a smoke screen on thin ice and they fell in.

  • fws

    mike @ 69

    I disagree.

    This is the result of bad seed planted by the LCMS in the form of bad doctrine. We twisted around words like “minister” to conform to the IRS tax code to get exemption for church workers who are not pastors.

    We are reaping the fruit of that bad policy making.

    By definition the courts or other parts of government are not able to do anything at all to thwart the true work of the church or the church itself. But the church, as the Holy Christian Church that is an earthly government that consists of true believers and hypocrites needs to exercise the same discipline that the other God Ordained earthly governments are to exercise.

    The church needs to discipline itself to acting within it´s charter and purpose. And that necesitates that we follow the Law God has ordered that government to follow.

    That Divine Law that the Church is to be ordered under is called Doctrine or Dogma.

    Instead the LCMS conforms Doctrine to the Law of the two other God Ordained earthly governments called family and society. We will be punished by God for this. In fact, we are being punished for this. The supreme court ruling is a part of that.

    We, as the Holy Catholic Church , need to mind to our own business and stay out of the business of the other two governments.

  • fws

    mike @ 69

    I disagree.

    This is the result of bad seed planted by the LCMS in the form of bad doctrine. We twisted around words like “minister” to conform to the IRS tax code to get exemption for church workers who are not pastors.

    We are reaping the fruit of that bad policy making.

    By definition the courts or other parts of government are not able to do anything at all to thwart the true work of the church or the church itself. But the church, as the Holy Christian Church that is an earthly government that consists of true believers and hypocrites needs to exercise the same discipline that the other God Ordained earthly governments are to exercise.

    The church needs to discipline itself to acting within it´s charter and purpose. And that necesitates that we follow the Law God has ordered that government to follow.

    That Divine Law that the Church is to be ordered under is called Doctrine or Dogma.

    Instead the LCMS conforms Doctrine to the Law of the two other God Ordained earthly governments called family and society. We will be punished by God for this. In fact, we are being punished for this. The supreme court ruling is a part of that.

    We, as the Holy Catholic Church , need to mind to our own business and stay out of the business of the other two governments.


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