Church Autonomy & Ministerial Exception (19)
News related to the autonomy of religious institutions and the principle of ministerial exception
05/05/13 ... The Catholic diocese of Columbus recently fired one of its Catholic school teachers, after word of her lesbian relationship became public when she listed it in her mother's obituary. She has filed complaints of discrimination with both the local teachers union and the city, based on an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The diocese says that it fired her because she violated church moral teachings, not because she is gay.
05/01/13 ... Bishop Campbell stands by the decision because the teacher's relationship violates the church's moral teaching. The city's anti-discrimination ordinance does not have a religious exemption.
04/28/13 ... When a high school's teacher lesbian relationship became known (because it was listed in her mother's obituary), the Catholic high school where she worked fired her. Supporters have protested, and she filed a grievance against the school. Under an agreement, teachers can be terminated for immorality. The teacher hopes that Catholic leaders will reconsider their stance on gay relationships.
04/18/13 ... If the grievance based on the contract does not work, the teacher may sue under a Columbus city ordinance, and the question would become whether the diocese can have a religious exemption.
02/17/13 ... Rev. Douglas Mills sued an agency of the United Methodist Church for firing him, claiming breach of contract. But the court dismissed the claim because it was barred by the ministerial exception, because Mill's job duties reflected a role in conveying the church's message and carrying out its mission.
02/20/12 ... An Indiana appellate court recently rejected a rabbi's claim that he had been wrongfully dismissed. The congregation claimed that it was based on outbursts of temper and other improper actions. The rabbi claimed it was because he had reported possible child sexual abuse by a teacher. Both the trial and appellate court agreed that it would probably be illegal to fire a member of the clergy for reporting child abuse, but the rabbi failed to show that was why he was fired, so the ministerial exception applied.
12/16/12 ... An Archdiocese of Louisville bookkeeper complained to her supervisors when a priest accused of child molestation was allowed to live at her parish during an investigation, and she also notified parents. She was fired from her position, then filed a wrongful termination claim. But the court found that her claims involve Archdiocese policies and procedures and so are barred by the First Amendment.
10/17/12 ... A woman filed a job discrimination lawsuit against Friendship Baptist Church as well as a claim with the EEOC when she lost her job as a preschool teacher because she did not cease living with her fiance. She was not divorced from her previous husband, and did not change her situation after the church confronted her. The ministerial exception may not have applied, but a question is whether the church could hold its employees to certain moral standards. The woman believes that she is a good Christian.