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Church Uses First Amendment As Defense In Sex Abuse Case


atheistjd

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Ugh.

A statement issued in response to the lawsuit, filed in Maryland, says permitting courts to second-guess confidential advice given by church leaders to congregation members would "represent a blow to the First Amendment."

"We are saddened that lawyers are now, in essence, seeking to violate those rights by asking judges and juries, years after such pastoral assistance was sought, to dictate what sort of biblical counsel they think should have been provided," the statement said.

Just what is this protected pastoral advice?

The suit filed in October accuses church officials of concealing sex abuse committed by its members and of discouraging victims from reporting allegations to the police. The case was initially brought on behalf of three women associated with the church, including one who says she was molested as a child and then directed by church officials to meet with the man she accused of assaulting her. More plaintiffs have been added, and a former member of the church's flagship congregation, Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., was indicted on sex abuse charges in December.

:angry-cussingblack: :angry-cussingblack: :angry-cussingblack:

ETA link. Not breaking because HuffPo. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/20/first-amendment-defense-sovereign-grace-ministries_n_2726023.html

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I know that lawyers just try any argument that they can to defend a case - but have the various churches ever sat down and REALLY considered the implications of this argument?

It means that they aren't saying "we had some idiots working with us", nor are they saying "times and standards were different, and we didn't know any better." To me, when they use a First Amendment argument, it's like saying "this is how our religion does things - even if it does perpetuate sexual abuse - and we don't have to change or answer to anyone." Lovely message to send out to the public about your religious group.

Also, you'd think that churches would be interested in keeping the First Amendment. Well, if you convince people that it's a get out of jail free card for clergy involved in sex abuse scandals, sooner or later someone is going to propose changing the First Amendment.

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