Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Illinois Church Election Under Court Supervision Upheld

In Marsaw v. Richards, 2006 Ill. App. LEXIS 870 (IL App., Sept. 22, 2006), and Illinois state court of appeals upheld a trial court's judgment that resolved a dispute between two factions of the Bethlehem Healing Temple Church through ordering an election that it supervised. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court had resolved the dispute using neutral principles of civil law. Even though the church's formal election procedures had often not been used in the past, they were still operative. The court also held that the results of a judicial proceeding are not burdens on religious practice that violate the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act.