Jump directly to the content

Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Defamation

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-15
Key point 10-15. The First Amendment limits, but does not eliminate, a church's liability for defamation.

Defamation consists of the following elements:

(1) Oral or written statements about another person
(2) That are false
(3) That are "published" (that is, communicated to other persons), and
(4) That injure the other person's reputation

If the words are oral, the defamation is sometimes called slander. If the words are written, the defamation may be referred to as libel. Although this terminology is still widely used, there is a tendency to refer to both slander and libel as defamation.

The courts have been reluctant to subject churches to civil liability on the basis of defamation. In many cases, this reluctance is rooted in the fact that allegedly ...

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.

Unrelated Business Income — The General Rules

Unrelated Business Income — The General Rules Member access only

How unrelated business income, and the possible taxes owed from it, works for churches.
Charitable Contributions Bulletin Inserts

Charitable Contributions Bulletin Inserts Member access only

Help your members give more by answering their charitable giving and tax law questions.