Judge orders Corporation to seat trustees, pay $5.5 mil to firm client.

A Circuit Judge has ordered the Missouri Baptist Foundation, which administers over $152 million in assets, to seat trustee/directors elected by the Missouri Baptist Convention (a client of this firm). The Court also awarded $5.5 million in fees and interest, due to the “special circumstances” surrounding the case. In 2001, the Foundation voted to sever ties with the Missouri Baptist …

Greece wrap-up.

The Supreme Court decided Town of Greece v. Galloway, 12-696 (scotusblog/slip. op.), today. Last year, we authored an “amicus” or “friend of the Court” brief concerning this case for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The ERLC is dedicated to engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and speaking to issues in the …

Jonathan Whitehead reacts to Supreme Court’s Decision on Prayer at Government Meetings

For Immediate Release Contact: Jonathan Whitehead, 816.398.8305, jon@whiteheadlawllc.com Local Attorneys React to Supreme Court’s Decision on Prayer at Government Meetings LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo., May 5, 2014 Two local attorneys who filed a brief for the Southern Baptist Convention applauded the decision by the Supreme Court on Monday in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. The 5-4 decision written …

Should churches use Robert’s Rules?

There’s an old joke that some churches believe Robert’s Rules of Order is the third testament. But, I can tell you that the worst church fights happen when the rules seem unfair. When people lose a fair process, they are disappointed. But when people feel they’ve lost at an unfair process, they become angry. If the decision is important, it …

How to Write Church Bylaws

“Bylaws” can be confusing. The “bylaws” might be the controlling legal document for a church. Or it could be a second or third-level document. Our ‘model’ for governing documents is below; if you’d like efficient and affordable advice about drafting documents, please call us at 1.816.398.3805. First Layer – Articles The top layer of documents for an incorporated church in …

4 Points in Favor of the Ministerial Housing Allowance

I will blog a lot more about the decision in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Lew, (W.D. WI Nov. 22, 2013), which declared Section 107(2) of the Internal Revenue Code an unconstitutional establishment of religion. But here are four points lost in much of the coverage I am reading: Housing Allowance isn’t limited to ministers. Section 107(2) is a …

District Court Holds Ministerial Housing Allowance Tax Provision Unconstitutional

A district judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin held last week that the “ministerial housing allowance” provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (26 USC Sec. 107(2)) were an impermissible establishment of religion. (Order at Freedom From Religion Foundation here; coverage at ChristianityToday; Religion Clause Blog; SBC ERLC. I don’t think the ruling will …

What does history tell us about legislative prayer?

I had the privilege of attending the November 6 arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway. It was a lively argument. But the key question, it seems, came just a few minutes into the presentation, when Justice Kennedy asked a question about the value of history. The case was about prayer before legislative meetings, which was affirmed in 1983’s Marsh …

Prune Your Church’s Governing Documents Carefully.

Are you thinking about making changes to your constitution or bylaws? These documents are frequently the most comprehensive written statement about how a church plans to work out the gospel in its local context. If you are drafting changes, I encourage you to sit down with a lawyer who understands the law, and your churches’ mission, and make them thoughtfully. …