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Elders of the Church

The facts revolve around the person of Marian Guinn, who was a member of the Church of Christ, which was a Mormon Church, in Collinsville, Ok. Marian Guinn submitted her resignation from the Church of Christ following a move to have her excommunicated from the Church. The reason for such removal was that the Elders of the Church of Christ believed that no member of the Church was allowed to have sexual relations with a male companion who was not a member of the same Church.

The issue arose when the minister refused to accept the resignation of Guinn and instead proceeded with the excommunication which was announced from the pulpit. Guinn contends that any act that was committed by the church after her resignation constituted a tortuous act that allowed her to sue for damages. Issue: The main issue here revolves on religious freedom and the right of a person to be subjected to the rules of his or her congregation. Ruling:

The court decided in this case that such acts committed after Guinn withdrew her membership from the Church Of Christ fall under actions that may be subjected to the jurisdiction of the courts. Similarly, when the church elders subjected her to such treatment after she submitted her resignation, they violated her basic rights and as such, they are to be treated as any other secular individual. The basic tenet under the freedom of religion clause as enshrined in the Bill of Rights is that the government cannot interfere with the religious practices and beliefs of an individual as the case of Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v.

City of Hialeah shows, there are certain restrictions on that right. The government can exercise its right to regulate such acts, however, when it is shown that the person is question is no longer a follower of that faith, placing any such acts done by that person or against that person within the ambit of the law. The freedom of religion encompasses not only the right to choose what to believe in and what religious orders to join but also the correlative right to cease membership in such organizations and religious orders.

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