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Church Law & Tax Report

May/June 2002
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

The National Child Protection Improvement Act Member access only

Providing churches direct access to FBI criminal records.


Update on the Ministers Housing Allowance Case Member access only

Appeals court issues a surprising decision.

Recent Developments

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

Copyright Member access only

A Michigan court ruled that a church had to pay $1.6 million in damages for recording a soloist's performance during a religious service without her permission and then selling CDs of the service.

Defamation Member access only

A Massachusetts court ruled that a pastor could sue his denomination for publishing a statement informing other pastors and the media that he had been suspended from all pastoral duties because of "formal charges of sexual misconduct."

Marriage and Divorce Member access only

A federal court in Utah upheld the validity of a state law barring ministers who are ordained over the Internet from performing marriage ceremonies.

Taxation—Church Property Member access only

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that 16 acres of undeveloped land owned by a church was exempt from property taxation.

Zoning Member access only

A federal court in Illinois ruled that the legal rights of churches were not violated by a city zoning ordinance that required churches to obtain a special use permit.