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Church Law & Tax Report

September/October 1997
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.


Supreme Court Strikes Down Religious Freedom Restoration Act Member access only

Every church will be affected.

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Child Abuse

Evaluating Allegations of Child Abuse Member access only

A recent case will be of use to churches.
Church Property

Check Deed Before Renting Property Member access only

Some deeds contain restrictions prohibiting religious facilities.
Church Property

Review Deed Before Conveying Property Member access only

Be familiar with restrictions in your church's deed.
Church Property

Churches as Historic Landmarks Member access only

Restriction of a church's right to demolish a building may violate the First Amendment.
Church Records

Members' Inspection of Church Records Member access only

Who has a right to inspect records?

Former Minister Sues Church for Wrongful Dismissal Member access only

Courts generally will not intervene in churches' ministerial employment decisions.

Dismissed Minister Sues Former Church Member access only

Courts are reluctant to resolve employment disputes between ministers and churches.

Lawsuit Challenges Church's Selection of Pastor Member access only

Court rules that it cannot intervene.

Hearsay Testimony Member access only

Ministers may be barred from testifying about statements made to them out of court.
Freedom of Religion

Freedom of Religion at Work Member access only

Restrictions of employees' religious speech may violate the First Amendment.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Insurance Coverage of Sexual Misconduct Member access only

Be sure to know what your policy covers.

Defamation and "Qualified Privilege" Member access only

Claims made to others concerning a matter of common interest generally are protected.
Defamation; Schools

Defamatory Statements Member access only

Expressions of opinion cannot be considered defamation.
Counseling; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Church and Pastor Sued Over Child Molestation Member access only

Don't ignore accusations of sexual misconduct.
Clergy Malpractice; Counseling; Defamation; Invasion of Privacy

Pastor Sued for Disclosing Confidential Information Member access only

Court ruled that a pastor and his church could be sued on the basis of malpractice and other grounds as a result of the pastor's disclosure of confidential information shared with him by a church member.