It’s common knowledge that you need evidence to prove something. In the context of protecting your church’s rights, its most vital evidence is its governing documents.
Courts look to governing documents as evidence when churches are in court for a religious liberty claim. Considering that courts rely on these documents as “evidence,” the time to get these in order is now.
Those documents start with a firm foundation—your church’s statement of faith. They extend to your employment documents, position descriptions, facility use policy and more.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently litigated a case involving Fort Des Moines Church of Christ.
In 2016, ADF attorneys representing the church filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after it issued guidance documents applying the Iowa Civil Rights Act to churches. Left unchecked, the commission could have applied the law to censor certain church statements on biblical sexuality.
A big reason the church won its case was because its sincerely held religious beliefs were clearly articulated and therefore entitled to long-established, protected First Amendment protection.
All churches should make sure their governing documents are in order so they can be relied upon in court. Performing an audit or legal review is the best place to start.