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Clergy—Removal

A Michigan court dismissed a lawsuit brought by a pastor against members of his church who were attempting to remove him as pastor.

Key point 2-04.1. 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.

Termination

* A Michigan court dismissed a lawsuit brought by a pastor against members of his church who were attempting to remove him as pastor. The court noted that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom "severely restricts federal and state courts from resolving disputes between a church and its members. In fact, jurisdiction over such matters is limited to determining property rights that can be resolved by the application of civil law." In this case, a group of church members were attempting to oust their pastor. The pastor sued these members, claiming that they used the church facility, without proper authority, for meetings critical ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • March 3, 2003

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