U. S. Supreme Court declines suit against Church

On January 12, the United States Supreme Court refused, unanimously and without comment, to hear a case brought by two church members against a number of past and present officers of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. The Court's denial of a hearing ended the suit, Weaver, et al, v. Wood, et al., and let stand last year's unanimous decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dismissing the case.

The two members had asked the Massachusetts courts to interpret governing documents written by the Church's Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, including provisions in her Manual of The Mother Church. The suit also asked the courts to review policy and financial decisions made by Directors and other officers to expand church publishing activities in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The case had raised two important legal issues: first, whether individual members of the Church have the right to sue its officials regarding their performance and the management of the organization; and second, whether, under the U.S. Constitution, a civil court can review church policy and financial decisions.

To three boys in São Paulo ...
February 16, 1998

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