Questions and Answers about Church Rights

Answers to Common Questions Churches Have

The Christian Law Association exists to preserve Christian liberty in America. They provide free legal assistance to Bible-believing churches and Christians who are experiencing difficulty practicing their religious faith because of governmental regulation, intrusion, or prohibition in one form or another. Below are just a few of the legal questions that have been raised through their cases.

What Should the Church Do After Police Stop Them from Going Door to Door with the Gospel?

For nearly a century, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the right of Christians to go door to door along public streets presenting the Gospel to home owners and leaving religious literature at their doors. Unfortunately, local police are not always aware of their responsibility to protect that constitutional right.

One church called CLA when police threatened to arrest their members for going door to door. CLA was able to provide that city’s attorney with a letter outlining the law guaranteeing the constitutional rights of those soulwinners. They were able to resume their soulwinning activities with no further threats from the police. It is your right in America to share the Gospel from door to door.

Is Talking about God in the Public Schools Really Unconstitutional?

Eric takes his Bible with him to all of his sixth-grade classes. If his friends notice the Bible and ask him about it, he shares his faith with them. When Eric’s teacher learned what he was doing, school officials removed him from class, telling him it was illegal to bring his Bible to school and talk about God there. But it was the teacher, not Eric, who was wrong.

Students in America have First Amendment free speech rights to carry their Bibles and share their faith with friends at the public school. Teachers who interfere with these rights could provoke a lawsuit against the school. It is legal in America to take your Bible to school.

Can the Government Determine Christian School Staffing Policies?

The United States Supreme Court has done a great service for Christian education by agreeing unanimously that Christian schools have the same right to hire and fire teachers as churches have to hire and fire pastors. This is found under what the law calls the “general ministerial exception.” This decision came after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Hosanna-Tabor Church on behalf of a former teacher.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the Court’s opinion saying that churches are not required to either hire or retain teachers they do not want whether for religious or nonreligious reasons.

How Can Your Church Avoid Falling Victim to Another Telephone Scam?

A company claiming to be the Yellow Pages was calling churches nationwide, offering to list the church in an undefined business section for $500. The telephone scammer then posed a series of fast-paced, confusing questions to the person who took the call. Usually, it was an unsuspecting church secretary. The caller’s goal was to record the call and trick the person into unknowingly accepting the offer without a written contract. An invoice for $500 quickly follows. Aggressive collection agency tactics are then used for a service the church never wanted or agreed to. Don’t be victimized by this scam. Train your ministry workers to hang up and notify the FCC (Federal Communication Commission)immediately and never pay for a bogus invoice.

Why Is it So Important for Churches to Have Bylaws?

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Far too many churches operate with little or no written rules to guide them and when difficulties and legal issues arrive, it is always a problem. If your church bylaws do not specifically state what you do and how you do it, your state’s nonprofit laws will become the rule that you have to follow—whether or not you operate by them, agree with them, or even know about them. It is important for every church and every ministry in America to have legally sound bylaws for their ministries.

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