Jump directly to the Content

Church Law & Tax Report

November/December 2005
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

Become a Member

Keep your church safe, legal, and financially sound.

When you become a member you get instant online access to help your church:

  • Reduce potential legal liability
  • Manage finances and risks
  • Comply with IRS requirements


Natural Disasters and the Tax Law Member access only

Some tax consequences of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Child Abuse; Confidential and Privileged Communications

Child Abuse Reporting Member access only

A Texas court ruled that the clergy-penitent privilege did not prevent a minister from testifying against a church member in a child molestation prosecution.

Privacy Member access only

An Illinois court ruled that it was not barred by the First Amendment from resolving a pastor's "invasion of privacy" lawsuit.
North Carolina

Church Membership Member access only

A North Carolina court ruled that the civil courts are barred by the First Amendment from resolving cases involving the discipline of church members.

Church Property - Part 1 Member access only

A city ordinance requiring a church to "tap in" to a city sewer line, at a substantial cost, did not violate the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) or the First Amendment.

Church Property - Part 2 Member access only

A California court ruled that a disruptive church member’s legal rights were not violated by a court order banning her from church property.

Church Property - Part 3 Member access only

A California court ruled that a trial court’s order prohibiting an abusive 84-year-old church member from entering church property was reasonable and valid.

Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

An Arizona court ruled that a woman's confession of a crime, communicated to a volunteer music minister at her church in an email, was not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Employment Practices - Part 1 Member access only

A former female chaplain at a Catholic University was barred by the so-called “ministerial exception” from suing the University for sex discrimination.

Employment Practices - Part 2 Member access only

False information provided on an application for employment may constitute grounds for termination.

Defamation Member access only

A Florida court ruled that a pastor could sue two members of his church for defamation as a result of statements they made during a church business meeting.