Jump directly to the content

Church Finance Disputes

Court rules that it cannot resolve a claim relating to a church's financial expenditures.

Key point 9-07. The First Amendment allows civil courts to resolve internal church disputes so long as they can do so without interpreting doctrine or polity.

A Texas court ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom from resolving a dismissed church member's lawsuit accusing his former church of defamation, emotional distress, and fraud. A church member ("Steve") became concerned about his church's financial expenditures, and shared his concerns with several members of the board of elders. He was dissatisfied with the church's response, and resigned his membership in the church. He then began emailing church members about the church's alleged misuse of its resources. He encouraged those he contacted to leave the church and to "rise up" against the pastor. His conduct upset some church members and caused disruption within the congregation.

Steve sued the pastor ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
  • March 1, 2010

Related ResourcesVisit Store

2021 Church & Clergy Tax Guide (Book)
2021 Church & Clergy Tax Guide (Book)
The most comprehensive and authoritative tax guide available.
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
A review of state laws and court decisions affecting church leaders.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.