• 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.
* An Arkansas court ruled that a church congregation lawfully removed a pastor from office. A church's pastor and 70 members left to form a new church. At that time, a majority of the congregation voted that the departing pastor and members would be allowed to take half of the church's funds with them. An interim pastor was selected, and the church appointed a pastoral search committee to find a permanent pastor. Conflict arose almost immediately between the interim pastor and members of the congregation. Chief among the problems was the interim pastor's decision to file a lawsuit to recover the money that had been given to the departing pastor and former members of the church. Another matter of concern was the interim pastor's decision to open another church bank account without consulting the membership or seeking its approval. A church meeting was held to address these and other concerns. A majority of those present voted to dismiss the interim pastor and to write the attorneys he hired to inform them that the church had not authorized him to institute the litigation.