The attention of the nation has been riveted in recent months to salacious allegations of sexual harassment by politicians, entertainment industry executives, and network news anchors, with some saying the worst is yet to come. Churches are not immune from incidents of sexual harassment, but few church leaders know what it is or how to reduce the risk. A Feature Article will assist church leaders in understanding the relevance of sexual harassment to church staff.
The 2017 shootings at a church in Texas, which left 26 dead and several others injured, have once again focused attention on church safety, with many church leaders asking what steps they should implement to protect their congregations. Most churches in America are safe places. While incidents of shootings on church property are shocking, they are rare. But "open access" policies make churches susceptible to violent acts. While such acts cannot be completely prevented, a Secondary Article reviews steps church leaders can take to reduce the risk.
In a Special Section, Richard Hammar analyzes a case where an appellate court ruled that a youth-serving charity had a legal duty to perform criminal background checks on employees and volunteers, and could be liable for the sexual molestation of minors by unscreened workers. He concludes with six critical points of application for churches. Then, Hammar and Matthew Branaugh, editor of Church Law & Tax Report, highlight 21 facts church leaders should know about child abuse reporting laws.
This past December, President Trump signed the Republican bill overhauling the tax code. Three tax experts talk about the legislation's possible effects on churches and clergy.
"Churches suing the US government for funds to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey received some good news … . The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has revised its policies to make churches eligible for federal assistance following a disaster," Christianity Today reported.