Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2021 / 15:04 pm
The Texas supreme court on Friday rejected a defamation lawsuit against the Lubbock diocese, filed by a former deacon who disputed the diocese listing him as “credibly accused” of abuse of a minor.
In an 8-1 decision, the Texas supreme court ruled that the First Amendment shields the internal management decisions of churches from secular courts and governments.
“The ecclesiastical abstention doctrine prohibits civil courts from delving into matters of ‘theological controversy, church discipline, ecclesiastical government, or the conformity of the members of the church to the standard of morals required of them,’” the court’s majority decision stated.
“The doctrine is grounded in the First Amendment, which protects the right of religious institutions ‘to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine,’” the court ruled.