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Dismissed Members Sue Church

Court rules that it cannot interfere.

Key point. The civil courts are prohibited by the first amendment from interfering with a church's decision to dismiss a member as a result of his suing another member. Further, the courts will not resolve a dismissed member's claim that he was defamed by the pastor.

A Louisiana court ruled that it could not resolve a lawsuit brought by dismissed church members who claimed that their church acted improperly in dismissing them for suing the church.

When the members' request to inspect church records was denied by church leaders, they asked a court to order the church to allow them to inspect certain records. The church's pastor dismissed the members for filing a legal action against the church, and removed their names from the membership rolls. The pastor acted pursuant to an "essential tenet" of the United Pentecostal Church that prohibits Christians taking other ...

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  • March 3, 1997