Parker misunderstands legal issues

Published: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Re "On religious liberty, Obama should listen to himself" (Forum, Feb. 9): I was surprised and disturbed by Kathleen Parker's claim that the government basically asserted a right to decide whom a church hires as a minister. So I skimmed the Supreme Court opinion in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Parker seems to have misunderstood the facts.

Cheryl Perich was a schoolteacher who taught religious and secular subjects. She developed narcolepsy and was eventually fired as a result of this disability. The primary issue in the case was whether Perich qualified as a minister. A finding that she was a minister would permit her to be fired in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because of the ministerial exception.

The government was asserting the right of people with disabilities not to be fired in violation of the ADA. The other cases Parker discusses are similarly nuanced.

-- Donald D. deRosier, Carmichael

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