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Religious Freedom Prevents Court from Resolving Pastor/Agency Dispute

Pastor's claim that a denominational agency acted unfairly in refusing to circulate his resume goes unresolved by court.

Key point 2-01.4. The selection of a minister is an ecclesiastical decision that the civil courts ordinarily will not review—even when it is alleged that a church failed to follow its own internal procedures in the selection of a minister, or the selection process was discriminatory.

* A Connecticut court ruled that the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevented it from resolving a pastor's claim that a denominational agency acted improperly in refusing to circulate his resume to churches in need of a pastor. An ordained pastor (the "plaintiff") sought employment through the services of a regional denominational agency (the "regional church"). The regional church does not ordain ministers, but it recognizes ordinations performed by member churches. It also provides placement services for ordained ministers by enabling congregations in need of a pastor to obtain information ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 2011

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