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Recent Developments in Georgia Regarding Church Elections

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that members of a "congregational" church could not challenge their expulsion in civil court since membership in such a church is not a property right.

Georgia
State:
Key point. It is the view of some courts that members of a "congregational" church have no legal right to sue their church for exclusion from membership.

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that members of a "congregational" church could not challenge their expulsion in civil court since membership in such a church is not a property right. A church dismissed certain members, and these individuals later sued the church's board members claiming that their dismissal was improper. The court, in dismissing the lawsuit, observed:

[C]ivil courts have no jurisdiction to inquire into and to control the acts of the governing authority of a religious organization undertaken with reference to its internal affairs. It is undisputed that [the church] has a congregational form of government. Membership in a congregational church is not a property right. Since membership in [such a church] is not a ...

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Posted:
  • March 2, 1998

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