Sunday, August 26, 2012

A legally recognized church?

While the underlying case is a rather disturbing one about a pastor sexually abusing his flock, this odd wording somewhat stands out:
The only thing I don't understand is why Justice Levy includes the following, which is the first footnote of the opinion:

"Both parties refer to the garage [the location where the rapes occurred] as a church and appellant refers to himself as a pastor. These characterizations are not supported by the evidence adduced at trial. No documentary or testimonial evidence proved that a legally organized church met at the compound or that the garage had been legally converted into a worship space. Also, no documentary or testimonial evidence proved that appellant was a legally ordained minister or that he was recognized as a minister, pastor, preacher or missionary by any Christian denomination or sect."

Well, I have a pretty good guess why both the defense as well as the prosecution were willing to refer to the garage as a church; namely, because it was.
CAR gives the analysis. Short answer is, a church is a church because it's a church, not because the government in its magnanimity grants it the status of one, something the judge seems to be suggesting.

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