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View Full Version : Virginia judge says church secession law is constitutional



megimoo
06-28-2008, 10:25 AM
RICHMOND, Virginia: Eleven conservative Episcopal churches won a legal victory Friday when a circuit court judge upheld a Virginia law allowing congregations to vote to secede from their parent denominations.

The conservative church members invoked the law to split from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia after disagreements over the role of homosexuals in the church.The law passed in 1867 was intended to help Southern congregations after the Civil War become independent from parent denominations in the North, according to William Hurd, the diocese's lawyer.

The conservative churches seek to take tens of millions of dollars in property with them.

But the diocese says it's entitled to the property and has a right to settle church disputes without state interference."Follow the money, it's always the bottom line !"

In a 49-page ruling, Circuit Judge Randy Bellows of Fairfax found that the state law breaks no rules governing the separation of church and state.

The dispute has revolved around interpretations of Virginia's so-called Division Statute.

The law lets a state court determine whether a division exists within a denomination and gives a congregation the right to disaffiliate itself and retain its property.

The conservatives argue the law justifies their departure and claims to the property.

But diocese leaders counter that the congregations hold the property in trust and it belongs to the greater denomination. They argue the law constitutes state interference in church matters.

The Virginia lawsuit has been closely watched as two of Virginia's oldest and wealthiest Episcopal churches are among those leaving: Truro Church in Fairfax and The Falls Church in Falls Church both trace their history to colonial times.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/27/america/NA-REL-US-Episcopalians-Split.php

jinxmchue
06-28-2008, 12:21 PM
Good. It's sad this took a court decision, but the court decided right.


But the diocese says it's entitled to the property and has a right to settle church disputes without state interference."Follow the money, it's always the bottom line !"

Considering it was the diocese that lost the property, that statement is laughably ironic.

Gingersnap
06-28-2008, 01:17 PM
Regardless of what the courts decide, the Communion is broken. Over a third of bishops will skip the Lambeth Conference and many of those who will still attend are doing so as a last gesture of unity.

The "progressive" elements will limp along for a while in the U.S. and Europe but they can't attract new members and they can't breed any.

The Continuing Church will continue to grow and eventually all the various traditional bodies will unite in a New Communion.

It's sad but overdue. My own bunch left in the 70s and we're very active with other Continuing bodies. We have no regrets. :)

jinxmchue
06-28-2008, 10:44 PM
they can't breed any.

BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!