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The Art of Ecclesiastical War: Using the Legal System to Resolve Church Disputes

Liberty University Law Review, Vol. 6, p. 531, 2012

33 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2012  

Mark A. Hicks

Liberty University - School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The legal system should be used to objectively resolve church disputes. This statement is both simple and controversial. Many Pastors, Attorneys, and Judges are vehemently opposed to the legal system’s involvement in anything that pierces the secular-sacred veil. Unfortunately, it is time that these critics awaken to the very real problem of church disputes. Whether the Church is an intentional tortfeasor, or the Pastor has sexually abused a person with whom he is counseling, the legal system is an appropriate arbitrator of divisive issues within the Church. Courts should no longer merely claim that an issue touches upon religion and, therefore, cannot be adjudicated. Instead, the neutral principles of law test developed by the Supreme Court must be restated in order to provide those that have been wronged by the Church with a legal remedy. The Free Exercise of Religion should not provide immunity for social harms.

Keywords: free exercise clause, religion clauses, church disputes, church law, ministerial exception

Suggested Citation

Hicks, Mark A., The Art of Ecclesiastical War: Using the Legal System to Resolve Church Disputes (2012). Liberty University Law Review, Vol. 6, p. 531, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2172398

Mark A. Hicks (Contact Author)

Liberty University - School of Law ( email )

1971 University Boulevard
Lynchburg, VA 24502-2269
United States

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