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Decision Reinforces When Courts Can—or Can't—Resolve Church Bylaws Disputes

Many courts have concluded that the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevents the civil courts from resolving any internal church conflict.

Last Reviewed: March 19, 2021
Key point 6-06.4. Church officers and directors can be removed from office in the manner authorized by the church’s governing documents. It is common for church bylaws to give the membership the authority to remove officers and directors who engage in specified misconduct or change their doctrinal position.Key point 6-12.1. Church membership meetings must be conducted in accordance with the procedural requirements ordinarily specified in the church’s governing documents. The most common requirements pertain to notice, quorum, and voting.Key point 6-12.4. Most courts refuse to intervene in church disputes concerning the validity of a membership meeting that was not conducted in accordance with the procedural requirements specified in the church’s governing documents. However, some courts are willing to intervene in such disputes if they can do so without inquiring into ...

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Posted:
  • December 20, 2018
  • Last Reviewed: March 19, 2021

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