Ladies and gentlemen, we have found the one man in the world who really understands the Missouri Synod! (see below in bold).
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Did you say -- did I
understand you before, in response to Justice Sotomayor
and Justice Scalia, that even if she were merely a
contract teacher, the fact that she teaches religion
classes would be enough for her to qualify for the
MR. LAYCOCK: Yes. And the fact that she's
a commissioned minister is the clincher in this case.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Is the clincher in this
case, but even -- I think you answered if she were not a
commissioned minister, she's teaching the faith,
therefore she can be fired, and it doesn't matter
whether she's commissioned, so the commission is
irrelevant. It's -- it's her job duties that count?
MR. LAYCOCK: Job duties are enough.
Commission is not irrelevant. It is the clincher.
JUSTICE ["Follow the Money"] GINSBURG: Well, it was certainly
for some purposes, I mean, if every teacher who teaches
religion and math and a lot of other things said, I'm a
minister and I'm entitled to the parsonage allowance on
my income tax return, certainly that's something that a
government agent would review.
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, they do review it there.
I think they -- I don't think the Lutherans have any
problems with the IRS on that. But yes, that is a
context where they review these questions.
JUSTICE BREYER: Well, suppose that that's a
central tenet. Suppose you have a religion and the
central tenet is: You have a problem with what we do,
go to the synod; don't go to court. And that applies to
civil actions of all kinds. All right? So would that
not be protected by the First Amendment?