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Recent Developments in Ohio Regarding Clergy Removal

An Ohio court ruled that it was barred by the first amendment from resolving an internal church dispute regarding the tenure of the pastor.

Ohio
State:
Key point. Most courts have concluded that they are barred by the first amendment guarantees of religious freedom and nonestablishment of religion from resolving challenges by dismissed clergy to the legal validity of their dismissals.

An Ohio court ruled that it was barred by the first amendment from resolving an internal church dispute regarding the tenure of the pastor. A church hired a new pastor, and an employment agreement was signed. The contract made no provision for the method of terminating the contract other than to require thirty-day notice for either party. A few years later, the church members held an election and 39 of the 40 members present voted to terminate the pastor's employment. After the pastor refused to leave his position, the church asked a court to issue an injunction compelling him to do so, and ordering the church trustees to discontinue paying him. The ...

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Posted:
  • May 1, 1999

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