Hawaii Insurance Gap • Church Shooting Averted • Fired Gay Worker Receives Settlement: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Hawaii Insurance Gap • Church Shooting Averted • Fired Gay Worker Receives Settlement: News Roundup

Hawaii Church Insurer Refuses to Pay for Sex Abuse Cases. “It will cost roughly $20 million to settle lawsuits brought by 63 people—mostly men—who claim Catholic priests and teachers in Hawaii molested them decades ago, sources told Hawaii News Now. And First Insurance of Hawaii, which provided liability insurance to both the Catholic Church and Damien Memorial School for decades, has refused to fund any settlements in 40 lawsuits that went to mediation last fall and early this year, according to a lawsuit filed by the church and the school. In its lawsuit, the Catholic Church said it paid First Insurance of Hawaii for liability insurance from 1951 to 1987, but during the last year and a half of negotiations, it's been unable to get First Insurance to help pay the bill for settlements and legal fees. . . . The church said with no help paying the big bill, it has been forced ‘to consider liquidating assets in order to meet its settlement obligations’” (“EXCLUSIVE: Hawaii priest abuse settlements could cost $20M, but insurance company refuses to pay,” Hawaii News Now).

See our helpful church insurance guide for information on what insurance will—and won’t—cover.

Muslim Man Planned Mass Shooting at Detroit Church. “Khalil Abu-Rayyan is a 21-year-old Dearborn Heights, Michigan, man . . . actually made plans to shoot up a church full of Christians in Detroit, according to court records documenting his Internet conversations with an undercover FBI agent. According to affidavits filed in US District Court in Detroit, he told the FBI he had already picked out a church for his bloody rampage. It was located less than a half-mile from his place of employment. He chose this church because it was large—up to 6,000 members—and he knew it would be an easy target. ‘A lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church,’ the FBI affidavit quotes him as saying. ‘Plus it would make the news. Everybody would’ve heard. Honestly I regret not doing it. (If I) can’t go do jihad at the Middle East, I would do my jihad over here’” (“U.S. Muslim Planned to Massacre Christians in Church,” WND.com).

Our resource on gun violence at church can help protect your ministry against this growing threat.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese Settles with Worker Fired for Gay Marriage. “The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese has settled with a former church worker who sued it after she was fired when her marriage to another woman was disclosed in a newspaper article. Terms of the settlement with Colleen Simon, a former church food pantry worker, were not disclosed. But the settlement came two days after a Jackson County judge threw out her fraud claim against the church but declined to throw out two other claims alleging violations of Missouri’s service letter statute and Missouri’s minimum wage law. Jack Smith, a spokesman for the diocese, said the church ‘just decided to settle’ on those other counts” (“Church Settles with Gay Married Worker Who Was Fired,” KCUR.org).

Attorney Richard Hammar explains the Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling’s potential effects on churches.

Mississippi Could Allow Guns in Churches. “Thanks to a bill moving through the Legislature last week, more Mississippi church members may be packing heat in the pews. House Bill 786, the Mississippi Church Protection Act was passed by the House 86-32, and will proceed to the Senate for more work. The proposal provides the same degree of immunity from prosecution that state laws give to a person using a gun to defend their home, vehicle or business if threatened. House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said he said his bill was inspired by the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, last summer” (“New bill protects gun carriers in churches,” DJournal.com).

See our “New Statistics on Violence against Religious Organizations” for more details on this safety issue for churches.

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