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Recent Developments in Maryland Regarding Church Elections

A Maryland court ruled that a church dispute over an election did not have to be arbitrated but could be resolved by a civil court.

Maryland
State:
Key point. The civil courts are prohibited by the first amendment from resolving questions of church membership.
Key point. The civil courts must apply "neutral principles of law" in evaluating whether or not a valid church election occurred. If an inquiry into doctrine or membership is required, the courts may not intervene.

A Maryland court ruled that a church dispute over an election did not have to be arbitrated but could be resolved by a civil court. A dispute arose in a church between the pastor and board. The board decided to call a special business meeting to take a vote on the pastor. The church bylaws require that all special business meetings be preceded by at least one week's notice from the pulpit, and this requirement was met. Prior to the date set for the meeting the pastor announced that he would convene his own special business meeting in three days for the purpose ...

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Posted:
  • March 2, 1998

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