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Defamation: Statements of Opinion

Statements of opinion are generally not considered defamatory.

Key Point 4-02. Defamation consists of (1) oral or written statements about another person; (2) that are false; (3) that are "published" (that is, communicated to other persons); and (4) that injure the other person's reputation.

Key Point 7-17. Churches do not have to tolerate persons who disrupt religious services. Church leaders can ask a court to issue an order barring the disruptive person from the church's premises. If the person violates the order, he or she may be removed from church premises by the police, and may be found to be in contempt of court.

A Tennessee court ruled that a statement made by a church member to police officers to the effect that another church member intended to kill someone was not defamatory since it was a statement of opinion rather than fact. A male church member (the "plaintiff") claimed that a female pastor at his church made unfounded accusations of sexual ...

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  • July 1, 2008