Reproductive Discrimination • Homeless Man’s Donation • Hit-and-Run Defrocking: News Roundup
This week's news headlines that affect churches.
Reproductive Discrimination • Homeless Man’s Donation • Hit-and-Run Defrocking: News Roundup

Reproductive Discrimination

House Votes to Strike Down D.C. Law Banning Reproductive Discrimination

The U.S. House of Representatives voted against two Washington, D.C., laws aimed to end “reproductive discrimination” in employment. The measures ban discrimination over employees’ reproductive decisions, for example, a Catholic institution firing an employee for receiving an abortion. House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), called the bill “an outrageous intrusion into workers’ personal lives,” according to The Washington Post. Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), said, “The issue is one of religious liberty.”

Though the House’s decision will now have to pass a vote in the Senate and be signed by President Obama—both extremely unlikely—Republicans “have urged House budget leaders to block funding for the District to enforce the reproductive discrimination law through the next federal spending bill.”

For a guide on legal and illegal grounds for firing employees, see our downloadable resource, Dismissing Employees and Volunteers.

Homeless Man’s Donation

Church Receives Heartwarming Note with 18-Cent Donation

A church in Charlotte, North Carolina, got a surprise in one of its collections. The church runs a Sunday morning breakfast for homeless persons followed by a church service. When the collection counters went through the offering, they found an envelope. Inside the envelope was $0.18 and on the outside was written, “Please don’t be mad. I don’t have much. I’m homeless. God Bless,” reports ABC News.

“We were very touched by it,” said the pastor of the church. “I feel like he gave everything he had that morning.” The homeless man has asked to remain anonymous.

Hit-and-Run Defrocking

Maryland Bishop Charged in DUI Death Gets Defrocked by Episcopal Church

Heather Cook, the Episcopal bishop from Maryland who is facing manslaughter charges in the drunk-driving death of a bicyclist in December 2014, will no longer be “an ordained person in the Episcopal Church,” according to her diocese. “Cook left the crash scene and returned about 30 minutes later,” says Religion News Service of the December hit-and-run incident. Cook’s breathalyzer test registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.22, far exceeding the state’s legal limit of 0.08.

Do you have measures in place to hold your ministers and employees accountable? Our resource, Your Guide to Employee Handbooks, can help ensure your handbook keeps all parties accountable within a legal framework.

Philly Abuse

Philadelphia Archdiocese Quietly Settles Two Priest Sex-Abuse Lawsuits

Two separate lawsuits filed against the archdiocese in Philadelphia have been settled out of court for undisclosed amounts, according to Each lawsuit alleged abuse by two separate priests during the 1990s. One abuser was removed from the priesthood in 1993 and the other was suspended from ministry duties in 2010. Neither have been charged with a crime due to the statute of limitations for abusers. However, both lawsuits were filed by the victims before the statute of limitations on reporting abuse had expired.

Our five-post ministry roundtable series covers child sexual abuse prevention and response. Our latest post is a good place to start.

Jesuit Inaction

San Antonio Archdiocese, Former Priest Named in Lawsuit

A new lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Jesuit Order alleges that four victims were sexually molested by a priest at a parish in the diocese in the late 1960s, reports According to the suit, the archdiocese notified the abuser’s superiors of an allegation of child sexual abuse in 1968, no investigation occurred into the incident, and the abuser was allowed continued access to children.

See our Reducing the Risk Screening Forms & Records File to ensure your screening process is effective and well executed and documented.

18 Years of Deceitful Ministry

Former Minister Arrested, Charged with Stealing Thousands from New York Church

After 18 years of being a minister at a New York church, a man was arrested on April 30 and charged with stealing thousands of dollars in this church's funds. The missing funds were discovered by the church board only after the accused had left his role at the church.

The accused has been charged with third-degree grand larceny (a felony), according to the Register-Star. “He stole money by paying off personal expenses, credit cards, etc., over a period of time,” said the local district attorney. The district attorney did not give an exact dollar amount of the estimated stolen funds but revealed that it was “many tens of thousands of dollars.”

Internal Controls for Church Finances gives you the basics to get started on protecting your church's money, 20 internal control practices, and more!

We're always preparing the best and fastest ways to bring you the news in the context of expert advice. For more regular updates, follow us on Twitter @ChurchLawAndTax or on Facebook.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.


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