The Top Five Reasons Your Church Could Land in Court

(UPDATED) Two categories of cases declined last year, but one has significantly risen.
The Top Five Reasons Your Church Could Land in Court
Image: Marcelle Guilbeau/Flickr

A review of 12,000 court rulings from 2012 reveals the most-common reasons that American churches were taken to court last year.

Legal expert Richard Hammar compiled the rulings and analyzed which types are rising and falling for Church Law and Tax, CT's sister publication. His top five categories:

5) Zoning (5.4% of cases)

Most involve RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. CT regularly reports on RLUIPA, including how the law's property and prisoner protections have diverged since 2000 and how the struggling economy has recently affected churches' battles to build.

4) Property disputes (6.8% of cases)

Such cases have seemed unending, thanks to mainline fragmentation. CT has reported how experts debate whether recent rulings are setting precedents for breakaway churches.

3) Insurance coverage disputes (7.3% of cases)

Recent examples: An insurance company challenged an Oregon church over its treatment of sex offenders (see correction ...

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