A Supreme Court Decision – I guess a victory of sorts

Here is the Supreme Court Ruling (unanimous, 3 differing opinions) in favor of Hosanna-Tabor LCMS vs. EEOC representing a teacher. Seeing that the LCMS general counsel represented Hosanna-Tabor, I’m guess they would largely agree with this that this represents a great victory. And I don’t disagree that religious liberty is an important thing. But let me quote the Court Ruling facts:

After respondent Cheryl Perich completed the required training, Hosanna-Tabor asked her to become a called teacher. Perich accepted the call and was designated a commissioned minister…
Perich developed narcolepsy and began the 2004–2005 school year on disability leave. In January 2005, she notified the school principal that she would be able to report to work in February. The principal responded that the school had already contracted with a lay teacher to fill Perich’s position for the remainder of the school year. The principal also expressed concern that Perich was not yet ready to return to the classroom. The congregation subsequently offered to paya portion of Perich’s health insurance premiums in exchange for her resignation as a called teacher. Perich refused to resign. In February, Perich presented herself at the school and refused to leave until she received written documentation that she had reported to work. The principal later called Perich and told her that she would likely be fired. Perich responded that she had spoken with an attorney and intended to assert her legal rights. In a subsequent letter, the chairman of the school board advised Perich that the congregation would consider whether to rescind her call at its next meeting. As grounds for termination, the letter cited Perich’s “insubordination and disruptive behavior,” as well as the damage she had done to her “working relationship” with the school by “threatening to take legal action.” The congregation voted to rescind Perich’s call, and Hosanna-Tabor sent her a letter of termination.

Does that sound like what you want to be in court defending religious liberty over? Yeah, we are the church. We get to fire sick people. Yeah! If you continue, they were able to do that because she was a “minister”. A non-minister employee would have government protection. What does it say that this minister trusted Caesar more than her own church?

Of course none of this address the internal issue that a call is supposed to be a divine call. Something like “in sickness and in health”. The practical reasons cited are all true. And a minister should know enough that they couldn’t continue to work in such an atmosphere. They should place the good of the Kingdom over their own good. But none of those reasons are the traditional reasons for rescinding a call.

Luke 12:58 – As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.

Matt 5:40 – And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

1 Cor 6:1-8 – When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud–even your own brothers!

I call Jesus and Paul to the stand. Why not rather be defrauded? Even if you win before the court unanimously, you lose. Can anyone tell me how I can read this as a glorious victory?

And the answers are…

I could have guessed this. I sent in three questions to the CPH CEO in the ask the CEO anything. Two tough ones and a softball.

They answered the softball. Here is the softball response to
3) If you could have every pastor in synod relay one message from CPH to their congregation, what would that message be?

It was interesting that they wanted me to see this video as an answer to this question.

1) What is the thinking behind binding CPH so closely to one translation of the Bible? As a publisher, wouldn’t publishing an LSB-NLT or LSB-NIV be an attractive proposition?

I’m pretty dumb, but that is not a answer to my question. A more honest answer would have been to just remain silent or answer something like:
A) the synod convention in 199x recommended the ESV
B) our in house pastoral counsel says the ESV is what all Lutheran’s should be using
C) it would be attractive as a publisher to meet a customer want/need like different translations with the Lutheran Study Notes, but we want to maintain a consistent voice. That is why we as a publisher have chosen to use only the ESV.

But that would have required more trust and honesty than can be generated at those levels. I would also add that my question is inappropriate in what is a marketing campaign which is supposed to make them look good. I would have been absolutely floored and jumping up and down in delight if they had given that straight answer even though I don’t like it from a policy/practice standpoint. It would have meant that they are treating customers and each other as adults and can tell the truth about themselves. Which to be fair not many institutions or people can.

I guess two points. CPH is the in house publisher and we should support it. They do good work at what they do – publishing very conservative hymnals, Sunday School curriculum and study material. But…They are seriously politically and institutionally hidebound. We can’t expect leadership or innovation out of the publishing house. Until the leadership posts of the LCMS feel like they can answer questions like these, it is hard to place real trust or feel like anything is moving in the right direction. Step one is always to be able to tell the truth.

But then again, I’m just a snippy little country parson who doesn’t know his place.