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Church Officials Violate of Freedom of Speech

Court rules that seeking identity anonymous blogger critiquing the church and forcing him out was unconstitutional.

Key point 4-04. Many states recognize "invasion of privacy" as a basis for liability. Invasion of privacy may consist of any one or more of the following: (1) public disclosure of private facts; (2) use of another person's name or likeness; (3) placing someone in a "false light" in the public eye; or (4) intruding upon another's seclusion.

* A federal court in Florida ruled that the disclosure of the identity of a church member who started an anonymous blog critical of the pastor and various church practices violated his constitutional right of free speech. A man (the "plaintiff") had been a member of a church for 20 years. The church's lead pastor retired, and the church eventually called a new pastor. Almost immediately after the new pastor began his duties, the plaintiff noticed changes in the preaching style, fundraising, and administration of the church. He disapproved of these changes, ...

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  • September 1, 2011

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