Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Before reading the Macon Telegraph's article, please read our Diocesan statement on the Dollar affair and below the Telegraph's article is the Supreme Court's decision concerning a similar case involving the Lutheran Church:

The Diocese of Savannah supports the decision of the Board of Trustees at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon not to employ Mr. Flint Dollar for the 2014-2015 school term.

Mount de Sales is an independent Catholic school sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, under the direction of the Diocese of Savannah concerning its Catholic identity.

Read the statement from the Board of Trustees of Mount de Sales Academy.

From this morning's Macon Telegraph:

Fired Mount de Sales Academy band director Flint Dollar has filed a gender discrimination claim with the agency that enforces laws against workplace bias.

In the claim, Dollar alleges that he signed a new contract May 1 to teach at the Catholic school for the 2014-2015 term. He was fired May 21.

Dollar contends the school discriminated against him because he didn’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes, said his attorney, Charles E. Cox.

“Our belief is that one of the traditional gender stereotypes is that men marry women. He violated that gender stereotype and he was fired because of it,” Cox said.

Cox said gender discrimination is a type of sexual discrimination. Sexual orientation is not currently protected under federal law, he said.

The school fired Dollar, an openly gay man, on grounds that his intention to marry his partner constituted a violation of the church doctrine of marriage. Mount de Sales is run by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy.

School President David Held said he hadn’t heard of the filing with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as of Tuesday afternoon.

“When we get that report, I’ll make a comment about it,” he said.

On Tuesday, Dollar said he’s been focusing on planning his wedding and trying to find a new job. Though he received several inquiries from schools across the state and from Texas, Dollar hasn’t found a full-time position yet. Dollar and his partner own a home in Milledgeville and have strong ties to the community.

His wedding will take place in Minnesota, which allows same-sex marriage.

“My timeline is shrinking,” he said. “My benefits and paycheck end July 31. Finding a full-time job for a non-certified music teacher, especially in the middle of the summer, is difficult. My professional life is in an upheaval. Not knowing (about a new job) is very scary.”

Dollar said teachers who aren’t retained by a school are usually informed in February or March to give them time to find a new job. Entering the job market in May put him at a disadvantage, he said.
“At this point, I’d have to find something that was vacated unexpectedly.”

The school has known Dollar was gay since his initial interview for his job four years ago.
Mount de Sales’ employment policy says in part: “Mount de Sales Academy is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender, ancestry, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or any other characteristic or status that is protected by federal, state, or local law.”

In a letter the school released about the firing, however, Held wrote that Dollar wasn’t fired because he is gay, but because same-sex marriage goes against Catholic doctrine.

“Personnel decisions are never easy, and we consider many factors when making such decisions,” the letter read in part. “Teaching ability, knowledge of the subject matter, the ability to communicate with constituents, and the willingness to support the teachings of the Catholic Church are just some of factors considered when making these decisions. Please know that these decisions are never made arbitrarily and are guided always by our mission as a Catholic School.”

Dollar said he informed the school of his decision to marry his partner back in October. At the time, Dollar said, no one from the school raised any objections about his marriage.

The school offered Dollar a one-year contract in early May, which Dollar signed.
Dollar said Held told him that there were no performance-related issues in his dismissal -- that the issue was related only to his marriage.

Dollar said the EEOC investigation could take up to 180 days, but it’s a necessary step in filing a discrimination suit.

He said he believes it’s important to follow through with a discrimination suit against the school.
“Filing with the EEOC, for me, is pretty much saying that it’s not OK to discriminate,” he said. “To terminate without cause is not OK. It shouldn’t be OK in the public or private sector. I need to make that statement, ... and I have to follow through with that statement.”

Soon after the news broke of Dollar’s firing, about 60 parents and students marched around the campus to protest his firing. In addition, three members of the Mount de Sales board of trustees resigned their positions.

My Comment: I think the Supreme Court has already ruled on issues like this especially with the Lutheran Church's  Hosanna-Tabor case. Need I write more?

Unanimous Supreme Court ruling supports Hosanna-Tabor

By Paula Schlueter Ross
The United States Supreme Court Jan. 11 issued an historic 9-0 decision in favor of a Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod church and school in Redford, Mich.

The decision marks the first time the Supreme Court has ruled that federal discrimination laws do not apply to employees of religious organizations whohosanna-new.gif perform “ministerial” duties, including teaching religion.

In the case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al., a former commissioned-minister (teacher) at the now-closed Hosanna-Tabor school sued the school after she was dismissed in 2005 for “insubordination and disruptive conduct in violation of church teaching,” according to Hosanna-Tabor’s Petition for Certiorari.

The fourth-grade teacher, Cheryl Perich, sued the congregation for disability discrimination, claiming the church rescinded her call as a commissioned minister because of her narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that typically causes excessive daytime sleepiness.

A federal district court dismissed the case based on the “ministerial exception,” a First Amendment doctrine that bars lawsuits that would interfere in the relationship between a religious organization and employees who perform religious functions.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit later reversed the district court and ruled in favor of Perich, holding that the teacher had a predominantly “secular” role because she spent more time each day teaching secular subjects than religious ones.

In his opinion for the Supreme Court and its unanimous decision — which reverses the Court of Appeals ruling — Chief Justice John G. Roberts said that, in light of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion, “it is impermissible for the government to contradict a church’s determination of who can act as its ministers.”

Further, Roberts said, “Since the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other employment discrimination laws, the Courts of Appeals have uniformly recognized the existence of a ‘ministerial exception,’ grounded in the First Amendment, that precludes the application of such legislation to claims concerning the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers. The Court agrees that there is such a ministerial exception.”

The Supreme Court’s decision effectively bars future lawsuits brought by “ministers of religion” against their churches for violations of nondiscrimination laws.

Perich qualified as a “minister” of Hosanna-Tabor — and is therefore subject to the “ministerial exception” — Roberts wrote, since she served in “a role distinct from that of most of its members” and her “commissioned minister” title “represented a significant degree of religious training followed by a formal process of commissioning.

“Perich also held herself out as a minister by, for example, accepting the formal call to religious service. … As a source of religious instruction, Perich played an important part in transmitting the Lutheran faith.”

Sherri Strand of Thompson Coburn LLP, St. Louis, who served as co-counsel for Hosanna-Tabor along with Professor Douglas Laycock, of the University of Virginia, and The Becket Fund of Washington, D.C., told Reporter that the Supreme Court decision “upholding the right of churches to choose their own ministers and religious leaders without government interference is a landmark victory for religious freedom in America.”

Strand said the Court “not only recognized the ‘ministerial exception,’ a doctrine developed by the U.S. Courts of Appeals and grounded in the First Amendment, as barring certain claims by ministers against their religious employers, the opinion also went on to say that ‘requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister … intrudes more than on a mere employment decision, it interferes with the internal governance of the church.’

“Significantly, the Court held that invading the church’s right to select its own ministers would violate both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” she said.

Speaking Jan. 11 on behalf of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said, “We are delighted with the opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hosanna-Tabor case today. The Court, in upholding the right of churches to select their own ministers without government interference, has confirmed a critical religious liberty in our country.

“The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod places great emphasis on the religious education of its children and the important role of commissioned ministers in promoting our faith,” he said, “so we are thankful that the Court has confirmed our church’s right to decide who will be serving as ministers in our churches and schools.

“We also are thankful that this unanimous opinion will help secure the religious freedom of all religious organizations in America for years to come,” Harrison added. “Please keep the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in your prayers daily.”

Ron Schultz, the Synod’s chief administrative officer, said, “We are very pleased with today’s Supreme Court opinion in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC and its affirmation of the ministerial exception under the religion clauses of the First Amendment.

“The unanimous opinion by the Court,” Schultz said, “presents a clear message that religious institutions are protected when making decisions that affect the faith and mission of the church.”

To download a 39-page PDF of the Supreme Court’s decision, click here.
Posted Jan. 11, 2012
Return to Top
Reporter Online is the Web version of Reporter, the official newspaper of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this is one Supreme Court decision that the secular media doesn't mention much. I wonder why?

JBS said...

This is all very tiring. All I have to add is, judges should wear wigs.

Gene said...

It is tiring…and the Left knows it and is counting on wearing us down. We must learn to be as ruthless as they are...

JBS said...

Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.