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Recent Developments in Iowa Regarding Constitutions, Bylaws, and Charters

The Iowa Supreme Court suggested that it was barred by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom from resolving a dispute involving the interpretation of church bylaws, but it refused to dismiss the case on procedural ground.

Iowa
State:
• Key point. The civil courts are barred by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom from resolving internal church disputes involving the meaning of church bylaws.

The Iowa Supreme Court suggested that it was barred by the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom from resolving a dispute involving the interpretation of church bylaws, but it refused to dismiss the case on procedural ground. Can the civil courts resolve an internal church dispute in which one group of members claims that the church's leadership has violated the church bylaws? That was the issue addressed by the Iowa Supreme Court in a recent ruling. A group of church members filed a lawsuit, claiming that the pastor and other members had violated the church bylaws in the following ways: (1) Placed plaintiffs and other members on probation as punishment for unspecified misdeeds when no such procedure or status ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1999

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