10-06-2005, 10:30 AM
Canon law part of secular law? Seems so in Connecticut
Six Connecticut Parishes File Lawsuit
Source: The Living Church
I'm certianly against the inclusion of any canon law in state statues. But I have to ask, if the state law is struck down by federal courts, would the underlying issue fall only in ecclesiastical courts?
The state of Connecticut gives special status to the canon law of the Episcopal Church, violating the First Amendment prohibition of government establishment of religion, according to a lawsuit filed by five rectors and the vestries for six parishes in the Diocese of Connecticut.
The plaintiffs filed suit Sept. 27 in the U.S. District Court for Connecticut against the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, Bishop of Connecticut, and the diocese charging fraud, trespass and breach of fiduciary duty. Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and the Episcopal Church were also named in the 67-page complaint, charged with “aiding and abetting” Bishop Smith. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was also joined as a defendant, as the “Connecticut Six” argued Connecticut law violated the U.S. Constitution.
Connecticut General Statute § 33-266 incorporates by reference “the constitution, canons and regulations” of the Episcopal Church into civil law, making enforcement of “Episcopal Church polity and morality” a “matter of state law,” the complaint said. “By their mere existence” these laws “permit and encourage Bishop Smith” and the co-defendants “to discriminate” against the parishes “on account of their religious beliefs.”
In addition to the claim for damages, the Connecticut Six asked the federal court to strike down the Connecticut law. The offending statutes promote religious sectarianism and “provide a scheme for the organization and governance of a particular religion through a web of sectarian canon law and secular statutory provisions, codifying the fundamental instruments and canons of” the Church.
So there is a double reason to remove the canon law from Connecticut's law. The underlaying issue is chastisement to those six parishes because of their oppostion to the vesting of a homosexual bishop.
It would seem to be a win-win case for me.
It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God - but to create him.
Arthur C. Clarke
We have created some but they sure weren't an intelligent design.
Last edited by Pah; 10-06-2005 at 10:32 AM..