DOJ: Feds Can Tell Church Who Its Ministers Will Be

Thursday, October 13, 2011
By Paul Martin

Terry Jeffrey
Townhall.com
Oct 12, 2011

In yet another stunning attack on freedom of religion, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department asked the Supreme Court last week to give the federal government the power to tell a church who its ministers will be.
The case involves a former teacher at Lutheran school, who along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pushing a claim that a Lutheran congregation should be forced to restore her ministry position.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and American Atheists, Inc. have filed briefs siding with the Obama administration against the church.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the American Center for Law and Justice are among those who have filed briefs supporting the Lutherans.

In 1999, the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Mich., hired Cheryl Perich to be a lay teacher on a one-year contract in its kindergarten.

The next year, Perich became a “called” teacher at the school after she became a commissioned minister in the church.

“To receive a call, a candidate must be selected by a local church congregation,” said a brief the church submitted to the Supreme Court that was prepared by lawyers at the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty and Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia Law School.

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