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Church Law & Tax Report

March/April 2005
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Articles

Recent Developments

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

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 1 Member access only

A Louisiana court ruled that a man’s confession to a minister that he had committed a murder was not admissible as evidence at trial.

Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 2 Member access only

An Illinois court ruled that a church had to turn over records it generated during an internal investigation into sexual misconduct charges made against a minister.

Employment Practices Member access only

A federal court in New York ruled that it was barred from resolving a dismissed minister’s wrongful termination lawsuit against her church.

Freedom of Religion - Part 1 Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that a prison is only required to reasonably accommodate the religious preferences of inmates, and need not respond to every prisoner's demands for religious expression.

Marriage and Divorce - Part 1 Member access only

An Ohio court ruled that a marriage was valid even though the minister who solemnized it was not licensed to solemnize marriages as required by state law.

Marriage and Divorce - Part 2 Member access only

A Connecticut court ruled that the state’s no-fault divorce law did not violate the first amendment’s guaranty of religious freedom.

Marriage and Divorce - Part 3 Member access only

An Alabama court ruled that a pastor who lost his job because he remarried without his church's approval was not entitled to a reduction in his child support obligation.

Officers, Directors, and Trustees Member access only

A New York court ruled that a pastor's attempt to remove an entire board of deacons, and several church members, was unlawful and of no effect.

Releases from Liability Member access only

A West Virginia court refused to enforce a “release agreement” signed by the youth pastor of a church on behalf of a 14-year-old girl who drowned.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers - Part 1 Member access only

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that an employer was not liable for a sexual assault committed by one of its employees because it had done a criminal background check.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers - Part 2 Member access only

A federal court in Kansas ruled that the so-called “ministerial exception” does not insulate churches from having to respond to interrogatories and depositions during the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers - Part 3 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a church and denominational agency were not liable for the sexual misconduct of its senior pastor.

Freedom of Religion - Part 2 Member access only

A federal court ruled that legislative prayers recited in Congress do not violate the first amendment's nonestablishment of religion clause.