Lutheran Church and SCOTUS case...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Have any of you been following this case?

    From the one side, it sounds on the surface like a basic ADA case that would have nothing to do with religion if it weren't happening in a parochial school and for which the law would seem to be clear. There seems to be nothing religious involved in terms of why she was let go or why she shouldn't be re-hired.

    On the other hand, apparently the line between whether she performs a religious job or not is somewhat blurry, especially with the way the Lutheran church is structured, and apparently this leads to a "can of worms" argument that would put the government in the business of regulating religion, and there doesn't appear to be a bright line that distinguishes her situation from, say, a gender discrimination suit, where, clearly, the status quo is that the rule is different for religious organizations.

    And yet... I think I'm not incorrect in stating that the church must comply with other aspects of labor law as it relates to the religious workers it hires -- I think things like minimum wage requirements apply to the church in the same way they apply to other organizations, do they not? Actually I don't know too much about this.
  2. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I don't really see how the employer being a church even makes a difference. If the woman has a condition that arguably prevents her from doing the job she was hired to do, then it shouldn't matter if it's a teaching at a church school or a job at the Burger King.
  3. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    I'm troubled by this one. Clearly the woman has a disability as defined by the ADA and from what little I know about narcolepsy, there's probably no real treatment for it. However, if she wasn't reasonably accommodated by the church while she was looking for treatment, then I think that she has a case. Just because part of her duties as a teacher was occasionally teaching a religion class doesn't make her a pastor.

    She's simply an employee of the church so the church shouldn't be shielded from laws that govern the workplace.

    If you don't follow the rules then you don't get that lucrative tax exemption as far as I'm concerned.
  4. Shrink, Oct 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2011

    Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Going slightly off topic - so please ignore if you are bothered by that.:eek:

    This seems to be another example of religious institutions abusing their tax exempt status. I would argue that religious institutions should not be tax exempt at all. I am forced to support churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. because, since they don't pay property tax, I must make up for the taxes they do not pay. Violating church/state separation, I am compelled to support these institutions.

    Religious institutions should, IMO, be supported by their members and never be exempted form laws such as ADA (whatever the weaknesses of those laws may be).
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Without going into whether she has an ADA-protected disability, I offer this:

    Religious institutions are subject to governmental influence. They require building permits, building inspections, health code compliance, etc. Compliance with ADA is no different here - if it can be ruled that her disability would be protected by ADA in a secular setting, then I think it should apply here, as well.

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