Weaver case decision

In a unanimous decision on June 19, the highest court of Massachusetts dismissed a case (Weaver et al. v. Wood et al.) brought by two church members against current and former officers of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that individual members of the Church do not have the legal right, or "standing," to sue church officers and Directors over issues of church administration and government.

The court ruled in response to an appeal by the church officer defendants, who sought to end the lawsuit. The case raised two important legal issues: first, whether individual members of the Church, a public charity, have the right to sue its officials for alleged violations of duties; and second, whether, under the United States Constitution, a civil court can review church policy and financial decisions. (Because the court decided the case based on the members' lack of standing, it did not address the constitutional issue.)

The atoning power
July 21, 1997

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