From Pine View Farm

Forget Separation of Church and State 2

How about separation of Church and Church?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected a Philadelphia parish’s attempt to quit the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, but ruled that the parish – not the diocese – holds title to its assets.



  1. Opie

    January 5, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t think the government should even take cases like this into the judicial system. If Christians can’t even settle a dispute like this amongst themselves without outside help, God help us all. I’d love to be a judge and tell the parties to leave my courtroom and let me get on to important cases. I think I’d even read them some verses from the Bible about how Christians ought not to sue Christians.

    Oh, but wait… I’d be reading the Bible from the bench of a civil court… ut oh…

  2. Frank

    January 7, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    I agree to the extent that the very fact this ended up in court indicates a failure of self-governance in this church.

    And judges have been known to direct parties in dispute to attempt to solve their dispute outside the court (and to do so without having to read the Bible to them), but apparently this case had progressed beyond that point.

    The only other comment I would offer is that property rights are civil (meanig defined by the civil government), not religious rights.

    In observing property rights disputes in religious communities, it appears to me that they are a civil manifestation of a power-struggle within the religious community. In other words, someone (the hierarchy or the local church) is unhappy with someone else (the local church or the hierarchy) and is looking for a club with which to win the dispute.

    In other words, they are beyond the point of prayerful discussion.

    Now, one may argue that that should be their problem, and not the problem of the state through the judiciary, but fighting it out in court is probably still better than fighting it out in the ring.