Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Seceding Church Must Forfeit Property

A wrinkle in the saga that is the schism in the Episcopal church over gay marriage (and other assorted doctrinal matters) is the question of who owns church property; the national church, or the or the churches seceding to create their own Anglican province? A California court has ruled for the national church, holding that individual churches who join the Episcopal church agree to the church's rules that property they own and acquire is placed in the trust of the national church, and that courts are not free to hold otherwise. As U.S. Constitutional law applies and the court interprets the matter in light of prior Supreme Court holdings, the ruling has implications for fights over church property being waged in other states as well.

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