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Clergy Selection

A federal court in Oregon rejected a minister’s claim of unlawful religious discrimination.

Key point 2-01.4. The selection of a minister is an ecclesiastical decision that the civil courts ordinarily will not review-even when it is alleged that a church failed to follow its own internal procedures in the selection of a minister, or the selection process was discriminatory.
Initiating the Pastor-Church Relationship

* A federal court in Oregon rejected a minister's claim that the federal government's refusal to hire him as a chaplain was based on unlawful religious discrimination. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has adopted standards for becoming a chaplain that require applicants to be ordained clergy and to have earned a Masters of Divinity degree or its academic equivalent. A counselor ("Tom") for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who was also an ordained minister, was rejected for a chaplaincy position because he did not have a Masters of Divinity degree. Tom sued the Bureau ...

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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:
  • May 1, 2003

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