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Church Liability for Publishing Information Online

Despite dismissal, case shows precautions churches should take when handling private information.

Church Liability for Publishing Information Online

An adult Muslim male (the "plaintiff") was converted to Christianity at a Presbyterian church in Oklahoma, and was thereafter baptized. The plaintiff alleges that he made the church and its pastor (the "defendants") aware of the need for confidentiality throughout the conversion process, as he was planning to return to Syria. The plaintiff was baptized during a service that was open to members and guests of the church, but it was not broadcasted live. The church, however, later posted a recording of the baptism on its website. The plaintiff was not, and never became, a member of the defendant church before or after his baptism. Doe v. Presbyterian Church, 2017 WL 712811 (Okla. 2017).

Following his baptism, the plaintiff travelled to Syria. Radical Muslims in Damascus who had heard of his conversion on the internet confronted him shortly after his arrival. The plaintiff claims that he was ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • August 17, 2017

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