Multiple readers have informed me that FBC Hammond is voting in a new church constitution that includes this little gem for its members on page 21:

Here’s the truth: you can’t give up your right to sue. I know because my alma mater tried something very similar to this with its students but they still got sued on a regular basis. This is merely theater to squash dissent from those who don’t know any better.

142 thoughts on “Constitutions”

    1. {sigh} Because they believe the MoG is always right and anything he says is gospel truth. ๐Ÿ˜ก

    1. As Darrell said, it’s legally unenforceable. If I make a rule saying “You can’t sue me,” that won’t stop anybody from suing me, unless they are so gullible they take my word for it.

      1. which is exactly what they are banking on. Most people will read such a thing and think, “ok I guess i can’t sue! Sounds biblical, too, isn’t that great?” Generally speaking, Waiver forms aren’t necessarily enforceable either, they just hold a psychological power (influencing people to be less likely to sue) more than an actual legal power.

  1. I’m a bit surprised that it didn’t read.
    “Remember Beloved if you have a problem with this Church or an officer of this church then your issue is a heart matter, for you carry the spirit of rebellion and your attack is not just against this church, her leadership, and our undershepherd but against God himself.”

      1. LMFBO. That was hilarious but so true. I read the comments on here everyday and they are pure gold.

  2. I’m sure the right to sue is not available to the sheeple, but if the Mog or the church find it suitable to meet their needs, they will sue any and everyone they deem necessary.

    1. That’s exactly it. Fundy institutions like this are quick to attempt to make church members/students think they are unable to sue them once they’ve signed a form, and even faster to misuse Bible verses to support it. At the same time, they almost always have a lawyer on retainer (or on staff), ready to sue anyone the church/school wishes.

  3. Just read the hover text. The most insidious part is that those who vote it in will defend it as gospel. Because it is couched in terms of a Bible verse (taken completely out of context) it is on par with Holy writ.

    1. Not only that, but if a dispute with FBCH/HAC goes to binding arbitration, guess who’s going to insist on picking the arbitrator?

  4. Some people prayed FBC Hammond would learn their lesson. I guess in their own twisted IFB way, they did.

    What’s sad for me is this is in no way surprising. Many Baptist churches (even non-IFB ones) are adding this little piece of glorious legislation.

    First Baptist Church of Jacksonville (SBC) did this a few years ago.
    My wife’s childhood church tried passing this earlier this year, but was unsuccessful.

    1. I expected (though I did hope otherwise) that the “lesson” for FBCH would be to cover its rear better.

      And behold …

  5. Wait, isn’t asking people to take their disputes to private arbitration due to religious doctrine considered Shariah Law?

    BTW, this is hardly unique to this church. It’s common practice in most Orthodox Jewish communities as well. And, hell, it’s in virtually all EULAs. The Church has adopted the worldly ways of Microsoft, et al.

    1. Hmmm, an EULA for church members?

      Wouldn’t work for Baptists, though. The acronym looks like some sort of Lutheran association.

      1. When I first saw it, I was thinking Lutheran – and I have a BSIT degree! Wrong channel in the brain! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  6. All contracts are subordinate to legislation.

    I tiny, weeny bit of basic legal education would completely undermine these stupid clauses.

  7. This is their “gospel”: Bend over and grab the ankles. No, you will not get a courtesy reach-around. If you do not like our abuse, you may go to hell. Now.

  8. Wouldn’t it be more in line with the Bible for the leadership to be above reproach, thus negating the need for promises to not sue?

  9. You know, it would make far more sense not to hire guys like Jack Schaap in the first place rather than rig things so the church can’t be sued. But then, this is fundamentalism….

  10. I am reminded of events years ago when the tiny village Church I was a member of had trouble with people using our car park on a Sunday morning. To put that in context, the car park could hold about six cars if two were very small (in US terms it would hold three), and when we were not using it we left it open for anyone to use. But no, there were people who would use it on Sunday morning despite the fact that our service times were clearly displayed. So we had to put up a polite sign to discourage such abuse. Well, we thought about those ‘we accept no liability…’ signs. Looking into the legal side of it (one of our members worked for the local council), we found that they are legally worthless. If someone wants to sue you, it doesn’t matter what you try to do, they will. And if they have a legitimate complaint, you will lose.

      1. I saw one at a local church that read “Persons parking here illegally will be Baptized”. I guess that’s close to being thrown in a lake.

    1. There is a story (probably an urban legend) of a church that went around with bumper stickers saying something like “Proud Member of XXXX Church” that they put on the cars using their parking lot.

  11. Do the members sign anything? Is there a contract or other written agreement for membership?

    1. Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. With no binding agreement for members whether they *can* give up their right to sue or not doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing on record saying they “submit to the church constitution.”

      What a pile of manipulative crap. It sure isn’t my idea of acting like Christ, but what would I know?

      1. I mean, if they can prove that you voted the thing in (or were there when it was voted in), then maybe…I dunno. What a load.

        1. Lots of churches ask their members to assent to their beliefs/standards, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they ask their members to sign it. So it’s not that offensive, at least not to me.

          //That doesn’t excuse the manipulative nature of this one clause. Because it is manipulative.

      2. My sister used to work for a big company; one of the yearly handouts used to insist that they had the right to search employee’s offices, briefcases & purses coming in to the build, and the employee’s car. That last never seemed right to me. Office, yes – it belongs to the employer. Briefcases/purses; yes, you’re bringing it into their place. But my car is *MINE*, and I would have thought they needed probable cause to do a search.

        Can an employer force one to give up constitutional rights just to work there??

        1. Nope.
          There’s lots of case law on this.
          An employer can’t do what would otherwise be illegal, no matter what he/she/they put in writing or make you sign.

        2. Thanks, Big Gary; I didn’t think so, but, given the current state of the economy, she didn’t want to make waves.

          But I’ll pass it along to her.

        3. I do think that the ability to search the car does depend on what kind of place you work at. I work for a government contractor and in times of elevated threat levels they do car searches. Quite frankly, I’ll submit to a car search if it means they’ll stop and search the unmarked white van with no windows that a non-employee is driving!

        4. People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both. – paraphrase of Benjamin Franklin quotation.

          I’m not against them searching cars upon entry to a parking lot. I’m opposed to the blanket statement that they have the right to search my (her) car anytime they want.

        5. Some replies to your comment reflect a common misconception that you have constitutional rights against a private employer. You don’t. The constitution and bill of rights protect against government, not private individuals/entities. The framers (and most Supreme Court justices today) assume that you wouldn’t work for a private entity if you found their policies to be too invasive. So, yes, a private employer can require you to consent to a car search, drug test, or anything else as a condition of employment. Throwing the Fourth Amendment in a private employer’s face is a quick way to get fired.

        6. Deacon’s Son: Good constitutional point. The “we reserve the right to search your car whenever we feel like it” still seems wrong to me; I don’t see how anything in her car could have a bearing on her work. Drug testing – yes, and some other workplace protection things.

          Then again, Big Gary said that there is case law that a company cannot do this… you mentioned a private company – is a publicly traded company still considered “private”? Or did you mean merely a company that isn’t run by the government?

  12. “This is merely theater to squash dissent from those who donโ€™t know any better.”

    Darrell – using the word “theater” as verb to describe the intent of such actions has been the literary highlight of my month.

      1. oh yeah…i guess i do mean noun. I missed “squash” as the verb and was thinking “this” was the noun and theater was the verb. I grew up7 miles from 1st Baptist – go figure my English is about as good as their doctrine

        1. Depends on the type of Baptist 1st Baptist is. Some “flavors” of Baptist are pretty doctrinally sound. Others, like what we talk about here, well… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. How any decent church could support Gibbs and the CLA anymore…well, I just shake my head.

    This really shows how little FBCH cares about victims in their midst. It is always CYA with them.

    In article 11 of this same document, it basically says it does not matter how you designate your donations (to missions, for example) they can spend it any way they wanna…


    1. That is what caused me to stop “tithing” at my former fundy church. Written in tiny letters on the bottom of the tithing envelope was a disclaimer stating funds would be used as the church saw fit & not to what you designated. It was outraged! If I give $20 marked for missions, I want it to go to missions not “pastors” new car! ๐Ÿ˜ก

      1. I think the fine print on the offering is needed, perhaps. If the church takes up an offering to replace the carpet, but then an A/C unit breaks, without that fine print, I don’t believe that the church can vote to use the funds to replace the A/C instead… they must go to each & every person who gave for the carpet and secure their OK to use it to fix the A/C instead. Sometimes, this process could be very hard if the offering has been in work a long time, and some of the people giving have passed away or moved away. It’s to protect themselves. That’s how I understand it; I could be wrong.

        By the way, I’m personally uncomfortable with the scenario I outlined above, though I can see it happening. The modern church seems to work at ways to get as much money from people as possible. Look at “faith promise” missions; it used to be that churches did missionary work out of the general offering (I’ve heard that some churches designated 10% of the general offerings to missions work). But then someone invented “faith promise” missions, and now the general fund has another 10% to spend, or hire another staff member, or to spend on a white piano…

        1. Ah, the ever-desired white piano(s). ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ˜‰
          I do see what you’re saying GR. At my former fundy church, members were told things like AC, broken window, new carpet, etc. was covered under the “General Fund”, which was one of the options you could check to designate your donation. I was upset when the fine print was added because I felt my donation specified to go to a missionary, who likely didn’t have a hope of AC, windows or carpet, could in fact end up in the General/Rainyday/XYZ Building Expansion Fund/Pastor’s Goodie Bag. ๐Ÿ˜•

        2. The main purpose (I would think) of that fine print is to give the church legal wiggle room to pay its bills in extreme situations, say if the church needs to pay its mortgage. Although I would have to be really committed to the church in lots of other ways if it was having problems paying its bills. I would be afraid debt collectors would be coming after me if I stayed around too long. I’m sure that right has been abused over the years way more often than it has been actually implemented in a financial emergency.

        3. Absolutely. My sister’s husband was a member of a church that people have given generously to missions, and the church twice raided the missions fund. The excuse was “We’re starting a Chinese church to reach the Chinese, and so the money we are paying to the Chinese pastor is really missions money.” The first time they did this, they didn’t ask for no votes; the second time, they said something like: “All opposed: leave.” I was disgusted and let him know it.

          They don’t go there anymore.

          I should add that reputable churches don’t behave like this (nor do I think most of them do). I believe missions money goes to missions. I don’t even like the common practice of using missions giving to fund bus routes.

      2. I had it explained to me that the disclaimer allowed any extra designations to be used elsewhere, after the object of the offering was paid for. This keeps someone from having to go to everyone who gave and get permission to use the money for another project. It really is a good idea, as long as those in leadership are trustworthy. (which is a stretch in many churches)

      1. Their fine print means nothing. If the church has a designated program/project, and an individual gives toward that program/project, it is illegal for the church to use that money in any other way.

    2. In my church the A/C went out catastrophically one fine August Sunday morning before church. This is the desert, where A/C is a necessity until about October. So that year, the church crowded into the much – smaller chapel until the money was raised and the A/C was fixed. So even if something catastrophically fails, there can be another option until it’s fixed. I realize not all churches have something like a chapel that they can use, but it could be possible to rent a hall, use another church’s sanctuary on Sunday afternoon, etc. One local church had a fire in the fall, and since it was fall / early winter while their sanctuary was being repaired, the season when the weather is nice out here, they rented a big party tent to hold their worship services in!
      Also, more than once, when we’ve had something that we were raising a set amount of offerings for, there was a statement made to the effect that any offerings gathered over this amount would be used for, and they would give a specific purpose for the overage. It has NEVER been, if we have leftover designated it goes to the general fund. And something like missionary giving, if we have a goal, all money collected above that goal also goes to the missionaries!

  14. That Article 12 is not worth the paper its written on… Just a ploy to try and keep the sheeple in line…

    Its hard to imagine that FBC, with all that its going though right now, would try and push something like this through. Why not try and be a church that looks after its congregation instead of the other way around. Oh wait, I know the answer, power and control. Hard to believe there is still enough people there to keep the doors open.

    1. That reminds me of the “covenant marriage” thing some Fundies promote. The idea, so far as I understand it (maybe not very well), is that a couple could agree when they get married that they will never divorce.
      As of now, I don’t think such a “covenant” is legally binding in the U.S. or anywhere else that divorce exists, but some Fundy lawmakers have tried to make it part of state law in some states.

  15. Two things:
    1. If this is new to their constitution, I’m wondering if it was directly caused by the Jack incident(s) and possible civil liability.

    2. It makes me sad that a church has conflict so much on the forefront of their mind that something like this would be voted into the constitution. If I went to a church and saw this or something similar, I’d make a U-turn on the spot and run back to my (hopefully not towed away) car.

    1. Regarding your first question – really? Is there any doubt? Why else would they modify the constitution before they even before have another pastor in place?

    2. Do you really wonder if this is in response to the “Jack incidents”?

      How could it NOT have been caused by that?

  16. This is so typical of FBCH. Don’t change the behavior of the mogs, eliminate the options of the sheeple.
    On another note, this is not the first time I have heard this used to cow rape/abuse victims into not going to the police. It sickens my stomach. For the second post in a row, we need a pukey icon!

    1. This only covers civil actions at law, not criminal. I would boggle at a church attempting to force their members to submit criminal complaints to binding arbitration, but not any more. OTOH, putting such a clause in a Church constitution would be silly, to put it mildly.
      Attempting to deprive citizens of the right to sue is both futile and heinous, as others have pointed out.

      1. Our daughter’s private school has a similar clause and before we signed her up we asked the school administrator about it. He said it absolutely does not apply to any criminal complaints.

    2. As much as they would probably love to include criminal accusations in the wording of this article, the police wouldn’t overlook that.

      Though they might be hoping that their members will see it as being implied along with the civil suits and fall in line if/when something happens.

      1. No, fortunately the police don’t overlook things like that. The problem is when you hear it preached from the pulpit that you never ever go to the law against a brother, you don’t even think to go to the police when something happens to you.
        I have yet to see not going to court on a criminal complaint in a church constitution, but I have heard it from the pulpit more than once.

        1. Not going to the police preached from the pulpit? I’d be appalled if I weren’t so jaded. But I do wonder if that could successfully be prosecuted. Isn’t that incitement to be an accessory after the fact?

        2. Could be, especially in a mandatory reporting situation, such as child abuse or elder abuse, where not to report is itself an offense.

    1. It doesn’t seem to say they can’t. Just that members can’t sue them. How convenient… ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

  17. I have never heard of signing a membership constitution. That seems incredibly bizarre and controlling. Does that mean to be an “official” member one *must* sign the constitution?? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    1. It doesn’t matter. It’s still unenforceable.
      It isn’t as easy as that to lose your right to sue.

      1. BG, I understand they can’t take away a persons right to sue just because it’s in their “constitution” ( ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ), I was curious how one is an “official” member vs. just an attendee. I mean, do they actually have “Membership Sunday!” where people line up and sign the contract?? If not, and this really is just a disgusting & disturbing scare-tactic, I truly ache for the brainwashed members at FBCH and I fear for those on staff pushing this through. God help you, because you’re going to need all the grace & mercy you can get. I do not envy you in any way. You are lying & messing with people’s lives and you will reap the harvest you are sowing. I grieve. ๐Ÿ™

        1. I would like to retract my statement, “If not, and this really is just a disgusting & disturbing scare-tactic.”
          Of course that is what this is. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™

        2. There are generally three methods of becoming a member.
          1. Join by letter – an actual letter will be sent from your former church to your new church stating that you are a member in good standing of a church of like faith and practice.
          2. Join by statement – you say “Yes, I’m saved and baptized and I want to join.”
          3. Join by baptism – in many churches, the act of getting baptized automatically makes you a member unless you specify that you don’t want to join.

  18. I’m sure there will be a number of people that will challenge me on this, but I’m not certain that this is per se unenforceable. I don’t have the time or desire to look into what the particular Indiana law is regarding mandatory arbitration clauses, but I see these all the time in contracts. Now, there are some variables here. First, the constitution is not a contract, but if the members join in a covenant, it could be upheld. Also, the language is broad. Normally the arbitration language would be narrowly tailored to the matters related to the contract (or covenant). For example, you can’t sue the church if it doesn’t permit you to be considered as an elder because you are divorced, or if you are an unrepentant drunkard and you are subjected to restorative church discipline and don’t repent, you can’t sue for being excommunicated. But the “no lawsuit” language would not prevent you from suing if there were an actual tort or criminal act committed (say, for instance, the statutory rape of a minor). Finally, before I would ever concede to not suing, I’d want to know what the procedure for binding arbitration is. It’s wide open in the clause presented. It could be a kangaroo court of the “Yes Men” of the pastor. If however, it were with a recognized third party that is a viable alternative to the court system, such as Peacemaker Ministries or Christian Conciliation Services, with a true neutral third party, it might be more acceptable.

    1. You would never win a lawsuit on the church governance issues you mention, with or without a “no sue” provision in the church constitution.
      And you can always sue in cases of real torts (personal injury, liability issues, workers’ comp, unpaid wages, and so on), even if there is a “no sue” paragraph in the constitution.

      State and federal law generally trump anything written into contracts, especially when a basic civil right is at stake.

      I don’t live in Indiana. Indiana may have a statute stipulating that people can make a blanket advance waiver of any and all right to sue, but that strikes me as highly unlikely. What a horrible law that would be!

      1. Gary, please tell me which State and Federal laws you are speaking of. I’ve practiced law for almost twenty years without knowing of them.

        As for whether you could sue and win on church governance issues, absent a “no lawsuit” clause, I would say you absolutely could. Perhaps not in the examples I gave, but I’m sure I could come up with some examples that the court would be willing to look at, despite its reluctance to meddle in private church affairs.

        On the issue of torts, I think I already pointed out that the no lawsuit clause would not apply there.

        Finally, I think you are looking at this backward. The state does not need a law to permit people to waive their right for this to be enforceable, it would have to have a law that prohibited such actions to make them unenforceable.

        1. I just mean the laws that allow people to sue to recover injuries.
          Surely you’ve heard of them?

          About whether or not there would need to be an affirmative law to allow people to sign away their right to sue as a condition of church membership, we have differing interpretations.

    2. I suspect some states might recognize such waivers, while others don’t.

      I am curious how this new constitution could affect old abuse cases amongst members. If the abuse happened before the date the new constitution was adopted, can they still sue?

      1. I assume it could not have any retroactive effect, even if it had any legal standing from here forward. In other words, it couldn’t affect the ability to sue over something that happened previously. Do you agree, PBLawman?

        That raises another question though: Assuming that members can’t sue the church for whatever reason, could a member resign his/her membership and then be free to sue over something that happened while he/she was a member? Again, that’s assuming that the prohibition on lawsuits by members has any legal standing.

      2. It would be hard to enforce a provision like that retroactively. I’ve already said that I only think the ADR provision would only be applicable to matters that are the subject of the constitution anyhow, so if we’re talking about a new constitution, the provision would only apply to matters related to the constitution.

        Gary, I think I know what you mean about State and Federal laws now. Originally I thought you were referring to laws that made these provisions unenforceable on their face. Now I think you are referring to statutes that provide for a private cause of action for a plaintiff (e.g. the ADA or the Civil Rights Act). I don’t think the waiver would be upheld in those types of cases.

        As to your question about resigning to be able to sue, I would suspect that if the provision were otherwise enforceable, you could not resign and then sue on the matter. Think of a partnership agreement where the partners all agree to submit their disputes to binding arbitration. I don’t think a partner with a grievance would be able to resign or withdraw from the partnership to avoid the arbitration provision.

        1. I recently read that in some states courts have not allowed a parent to sign away their child’s right to sue for sports injuries.

          I wonder if that principle might apply toward underage victims whose parents are church members.

          Also, some churches do not grant church membership rights (such as voting) to minors under a certain age.

          I think there might be some loopholes to this Article 12.

  19. Forgive me, but I am one of the gullible who has just now been enlightened. I thought the “waive your right to sue” thing was perfectly legal and necessary, according to the EULAs of several computer games I own. As for not suing a church, that’s just ridiculous.

    1. As others have hinted, just because the other party in an agreement asserts that your surrendering your right to sue is part of an agreement such as accepting an EULA doesn’t mean you are in law deprived of the right to sue. Assuming that the wording of such an agreement is acceptable and court-tested is exactly what the company wants you to think. ๐Ÿ˜

  20. I filed suit against Peoples Baptist Church in Corpus and won…
    But I had to sign a “Non-disclosure agreement” after the suit was settled.
    But as Darrell said I don’t think you can sign a waiver, instrument, prohibiting you from suing anyone.
    These “Churches” are like coporations…they have no heart and soul. All they have is money, and in order to get their attention you have to go after their money.
    Then all they do is scream poverty.
    We are all held responsible for our actions…and in FBC Hammond case…accountable.

    1. Lester Roloff’s People’s Baptist Church?
      Congratulations on getting at least a little restitution from that cult.

      If a non-disclosure agreement was involved, it had to be a settlement, not a court judgment against the respondent (the church being the respondent here). You could have refused the settlement and proceeded to a trial. Trial outcomes are public and never include “non-disclosure” orders. Avoiding the public testimony that a trial would have involved was probably one of the reasons the church agreed to settle with you.

      But the important point here is that you did have a right to sue the church, no matter what kind of bylaws the church itself may have had.

      1. Big Gary…
        Yep it was Roloff’s church. And yes it was settled out of court. My attny. said “Thats why they call it the halls of justice, cause thats where all the deals are struck, in the hall outside the court room.”
        Even though I signed a non-disclosure agreement I still talk about it to others…the pricks deserve it. After what they had done, and the people that they trained and went elsewhere to continue their abuse, I felt like people needed and had the right to know.

    2. John – I can tell you that in construction contracts, it is not unusual to have an binding arbitration clause (I am an expert wittness in two such cases at the moment). I think that the issue here is that the clause is enforcable because it is a contract provision (accepted by both parties). Does a church constitution constitute a contract? I don’t think so because there is no consideration…therefore the provisions would be unenforcable. Thoughts?

  21. This reminds me of one of the main reasons I left fundystan. The church i was going to contractually obligated the teachers of the associated Christian School to be members of the church. I personally want no part of any church that forces someone under a legal contract to be a member of any church. The reasons they cited as to why they did it could be accomplished by other means without forcing membership.
    I need to start a thread in the forum on this!

    1. I don’t see why they put that in the contract. Church schools are free to discriminate in hiring as long as the schools don’t receive any public funds, so they could have just made it a school policy to hire only members.

      It would have been a stupid policy, but not an illegal one.

      1. Big Gary, I agree that a private business (christian school) has every right to hire whom it wants and fire whom it wants for whatever reason it wants. And I think it is a grey area to force someone to become a member of a church as a requirement for employment. It certainly flies in the face of the spirit of our constitution and the notion that everyman is free to worship God as he sees fit.

        I have this suspicion though that its a scheme to recoup at least 10% of the paycheck. They force you to become a member of the church and then preach the false “tithing” for Christians. If there are spouses involved then they get more than a percentage of the faculty salary. As Don always says on the posts – “follow the money trail”.

        1. @Teddy-ball-game: My dad taught in Christian schools during my entire childhood. We moved around a lot from school to school. It was common practice for schools to require teachers to be members of the sponsoring church. Not all did, but I noticed that the ones that didn’t didn’t have as much control over the lives of their teachers and that teacher’s family. I’m talking about issues like whether or not the wife worked outside the home (a big issue in the 80s, don’t know if it still did — but we lived in poverty because my dad would have taken a pay cut if my mom got a job [he’d lose his “head of household” allowance]) and whether the womenfolk of the family wore pants (was and still is a big issue). I hadn’t thought about the tithing angle as I’d always thought it was about control. Maybe it’s both.

        2. Sorry about the typos: …still is… not did

          …would have lost… not would lose

          Also having the teacher a member of the church can mean more control over what the teacher believes. I remember in one high school we had this teacher who wasn’t a member of the sponsoring church, and he was the best Bible teacher we had. He actually wanted students to think and examine what the Bible says. If memory serves he was later fired for being too Calvinistic.

        3. I really don’t have a problem with a church insisting that all of the teachers be members of that church.

          I don’t know that it is just for the money. After all, if the school is teaching what the church believes – and is some areas, all churches have slightly different beliefs – it is much more practical if the teacher is a member.

        4. Two of the Christian schools at which I taught preferred their teachers to be members. They made an exception for me which I appreciated because my husband was on staff at a different church (a small one without a Christian school). If they weren’t willing to be flexible on this, people like me would never be able to teach in a Christian school.

          However, as Rachel said, my not being a member DID give them less power over me. One school rigorously checked church attendance and insisted on involvement in church ministries especially in the nursery and in Awanas on Wednesdays for female teachers. At my own church, I played piano and taught children’s church but didn’t have to pressured to HAVE to serve in other areas just because I was on paid staff. I also didn’t have to attend their revival meetings!

        5. @Guilt Ridden: I completely understand that reasoning to want to have a unified belief with the faculty. From a business stand point – the services you provide to the paying customer is understood. The parents are paying you to educate their children in a certain way and teach them certain things about the bible. From a customer stand point – the paying parent understands what is going to be taught to their children by the school no matter which teacher the child may sit under.
          HOWEVER – this very same thing can be accomplished by 1) Vetting the faculty during interviews. 2) Setting a rule or standard for all faculty that it is understood that they only teach certain doctrines when working there or teach certain subject only a certain way.

          There are a couple of solid examples that are much less erroneous and have less “side effects” rather than contractually forcing someone to become a member of one “church”.
          And lets not discount the fact that in a Christan school that has been around for a significant amount of time and has a significant enrollment would not be hiring people from their membership. The majority of the schools staff would have been hired first and brought in and then forced to join the church after they accepted the position. This is backwards in my opinion and does not guarantee a unity in belief.

          For instance: lets take a scenario where you are involved in a local church with an associated school. Lets just hypothetically say that you love this “church” and you are invested deeply. You look around at the congregation and wonder: How many of those people are there not because they wanted to be a part of the church you wanted to be a member of. They are there because they wanted a job in “Christian education” and they need a paycheck so they aquiesce to the contractual obligation and show up for “services”?

          How can a “pastor” get up every “service” and “preach” knowing that there are a portion of people there because they have to be solely because they signed a contract stating they would in order to have employment?

          In my opinion, I find it irrational and backwards.

          If you want to get “scriptural” – as fundys interpret scripture then they are over-ruling the spiritual head of the home by forcing membership by contract.

  22. I remember signing that paper at PCC too Darrell.

    Pathetically, I was one of the morons that really thought a church/Christian school/Christian college can have a say in everything you can or can’t do. I really thought they were that powerful. Kind of like how Trieber thinks he can make people change their cell numbers and move away from town! I think I wouldn’t have problems with anxiety and stuff now if I’d had a little more backbone back in the day.

  23. My former employer decided, rather belatedly, to do background checks on all staff members.

    The managers distributed a form we were all supposed to fill out and sign, saying we consented to the background check and (here’s the kicker) released the employer and its contractors from any liability, *even in the case or actual gross negligence or misfeasance or malfeasance.*

    I didn’t really object to the background check. They were mostly trying to weed out convicted sex offenders and other criminals. But they didn’t need anyone’s permission to do that. In my state (and, I suppose, in all states) arrest and conviction records are completely open to the public.

    I did object, strongly, to signing away my right to any recourse, if, say, the “background check” found wrongly that I was a terrorist or a serial rapist or something else infamous. I strongly suspected that such a provision was legally unenforceable, but still, why sign something saying I give someone permission to destroy my life?

    So I declined to sign the liability waiver part of the form. This caused a huge fuss with the H.R. department, my direct supervisors, and eventually with the deputy Executive Director. They could never give me a good reason why I should sign such a waiver. Ultimately, I did not sign it, and I kept working there for several more years.

  24. Our church has something similar, but I think it is closer to what the Bible means when it says don’t sue each other.

    โ€ขWhen two or more of us cannot resolve a conflict privatelyโ€”whether itโ€™s personal or has church, business, or even legal implicationsโ€”we will obey Godโ€™s command to be โ€œeager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peaceโ€ (Eph. 4:3) by looking to our church for assistance and cooperating with our leaders or wise people they recommend to resolve the matter through biblical mediation or arbitration (Matt. 18:16; 1 Cor. 6:1-8).7
    โ€ขIf we have a conflict with a person who attends another church, we will make every effort to cooperate with our church leaders as they seek to work with the leaders of the other church to resolve the matter in a biblically faithful manner.
    โ€ขIf a person coming to our church has an unresolved conflict with someone in his former church, we will assist him in seeking to be reconciled to the other person before joining our church (Matt. 5:23-24; Rom. 12:18).
    โ€ขWhen a conflict involves matters of doctrine or church discipline, we will submit to the procedures set forth in our Commitment to Accountability and Church Discipline.
    โ€ขIf we have a dispute with or within our church as a corporate body and cannot resolve it internally through the steps given above, we will make every effort to resolve our differences through biblical mediation or arbitration before we resort to other processes.

  25. Awww. A legal disclaimer for church. Makes me filled with…..


    Hey, what if they put a legal disclaimer on everything in IFB church…

    Hymnals: “When in possession of this hymnal, you are solely responsible for the damage caused by drooling in using it as a pillow, your child drawing in it, removing the sticker indicating the person who donated it, and scratching out the wording where it says it was published by a Lutheran publication.”

    Communion Trays: “We are not responsible for the grape juice stains to any garments, Bible covers, Bibles, and/or other paraphernalia and if you drop the juice tray, you’re in trouble.”

    Butt cushions: “We are not at any time responsible for the theft or use of another person to any person’s butt cushion, neither are we responsible for damage to aforementioned butt cushion (even with communion punch stains).”

    Baptism: “We baptize by immersion; therefore, we are not responsible for the panic attack and/or any hair disruption that should come from someone dunking you backwards into hot water.”

    Dress: “You can wear what you want, but we are not responsible for our members and/or staff for belittling you and embarrassing you.”

    Music: “We don’t do downbeats of any kind; therefore, we are not responsible for throwing your drums in the trash. They’re of the devil anyway.”

    Bibles: “We use the KJV; therefore, we are not responsible for the theft and/or disgardment of your fake copy.”

    Children: “We prefer your children go to a room of strange caretakers, but no you cannot stay with them. And, no we’re not responsible.”

    (This post was placed clearly in jest. It does not represent any IFB church present or past. It is placed merely as a mock and exaggerated representation of past experiences of the author who is in no way responsible for its contents.

    So, get your panties out of a wad.)

  26. Dear SFL Reader:

    Since the Bible forbids all lawsuits, perhaps the church should agree in all instances of injury to settle with members.

    Christian Socialist

  27. it’s really just terrible interpretation of the bible. The passage alluded to in this clause of their constitution (1 Cor. 6) prohibits NOTHING, it merely declares that, if it ends in a lawsuit before the imperial (pagan) authorities, you both have already lost. The funny thing is that, arbitration is itself a TYPE of lawsuit, so this very clause in their constitution contains a blatant contradiction. Prohibiting lawsuits writ large would include prohibiting arbitration. Whoops! I wonder if any legal theorists helped them write this? Doubtful. But i’m sure their lawyers helped them figure out how they could say what they already determined to say.

    1. “I wonder if any legal theorists helped them write this?”

      That depends on whether or not you consider David Gibbs with his Christian Law Association to be a legal theorist.

  28. The provision may or may not be enforceable. I say this primarily because arbitration is a concept arising out of contract law and doesn’t necessarily stretch to cover tort and other areas of the law.

    However, I would note that agreeing to mandatory arbitration is not the same is giving up your right to sue. For one thing, people can (and do) give up their right to sue all the time. Settlement agreements in lieu of litigation are the most well-known example. Outright “wavers” on the other hand, are indeed subject to challenge in many cases. However, that is not what mandatory arbitration is about. Mandatory arbitration, as one commenter pointed out, simply shifts your dispute from the courtroom to the conference room.

  29. Sounds like they got they got that from 1 Corinthians 6. How crazy to try and run a church by the Bible.

    1. Tim, I dont think 1 cor 6 out right prohibits any legal action at all ever between two “believers”.
      Besides – in what ways does HAC seriously run itself “by the Bible”???
      There are probably very few “Christians” who actually do conduct themselves according to ancient Christian literature and scripture. The 3 times a week ceremonial religious empire assembly is not actually “by the bible” or any book contained there in.
      If you mean they use “the bible” as a paper idol to manipulate and then carry on to do whatever they want; then yes you would probably be more accurate.

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