Religious & Ministry Law (35)
Protecting religious liberties, institutions, and ministries at state, federal, and global levels
Can you have a union at a religious college? Only if the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can exercise its jurisdiction over faculty members. NLRB has tried to do this several times. Shortly before Christmas in 2014, the NLRB developed a new test that lets it take jurisdiction over the faculty at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU).
Mission organizations are heavy users of various forms of social media, on an individual and organizational level. With personnel, offices, and supporters in multiple countries and time zones, social media makes sense. It has enormous advantages, but also significant dangers. The law on social media is developing fast ...
In most states, and under the common law, communications with spiritual leaders are protected under a privilege called clergy-communicant, clergy-congregant, clergy communications or something similar. But when does it apply? Ministers must think through this before they start listening to confessions and other important communications. In a case last year, Pastor V. learned that one of his juvenile parishioners had sexually molested a young cousin. Horrified, he called in the boy and his mother, and pressed the boy to confess.
Reporting child abuse is complex and important. Failure to report abuse can leave children at risk. Still, be wise before picking up the phone. An error in one direction may leave a child abused or make you criminally liable. An error in the other direction may damage a family, ruin a career, or expose you to a defamation lawsuit.
Mr. Barth believes that public administrators can learn a great from the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, given that the guiding principles for large bureaucracies are similar to the large religious organization. He wrote a good article called “Crisis Management in the Catholic Church: Lessons for Public Administrators." While Mr. Barth does not refer to the studies that show the rate of child sexual abuse is disturbingly high in public institutions, his work is surely relevant to that problem.
See more on this subject at the Religious Law Network.
Thomas Berg has written an interesting article suggesting that progressives should improve their commitment to religious liberty for traditionalists. It's titled "Progressive Arguments for Religious Organizational Freedom: Reflections on the HHS Mandate". Progressives understand, for instance, that the recent HHS contraceptive mandate impinges on religious liberty. But, as they will tell you, they just don’t care when the issue is one that is important to them, such as access to reproductive choice or gay rights.
See more analysis at the Religious Law Network.
Nonprofit risk management is an interesting area that wavers between a solid business approach and a dash of hope and faith. In June 2013, Crystal & Company, which is a large risk and insurance advisor, put out a “Survey of Nonprofit Risk Management”. The survey studied large nonprofits, with the smallest ones surveyed having revenues of $25 million to $50 million. For many nonprofits, that seems like a different world. Still, it highlighted some principles useful to all nonprofits.
Read more analysis at the Religious Law Network.