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Protect Your Church

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The Supreme Court is ready to once again rule on same-sex marriage, and various cities are passing sexual orientation laws. Is there anything you and your church can do to protect itself from lawsuits and government action?

Last week, I had Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel on my radio program. We spent part of our time talking about the constitutional and cultural issues surrounding the impending decision by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. Then I turned the conversation to what churches and Christian organizations can do. We should all be in prayer about the decision by the Supreme Court. But there are some changes churches might make to their bylaws and constitution that can protect them.

His website has many wise suggestions about what can be written into the church bylaws. One safeguard is to have a written policy about church facilities. This should state that the church property and facilities cannot be used for any activity or speech that is contrary to the religious belief or practice of the church. Some churches might even limit the use of church facilities only to members of the church, but that might be more restrictive than a church might want to implement.

In order for this addition to the bylaws to be effective, it would be wise to add something to the doctrinal statement about marriage. It would state that the church accepts the historic Christian position that marriage is the union of one man and woman. It could add that the church believes that marriage and family are the foundation of society.

In the past, many churches have included a statement about sin and church discipline. A church member who engages in a sinful sexual practice (either heterosexual or homosexual) will face discipline from the leadership of the church. It would be wise to add some language about the church ministers and church staff. State that they cannot be forced to use their position in any way that undermines the teachings of the church and the Bible.

I would encourage churches and church leaders to evaluate what they might add to their bylaws in order to protect them and their congregation.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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