Law and the Church

1.List nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy that you have found by searching your nearest municipality laws. By municipality, we mean on the village or town level. If there are none, then tell us how you found that out.

 

Columbus Municipal Code 2321.22: 

Reporting felony; medical personnel to report injuries. 

Specifically (F): Division (A) (No person, knowing that a felony has been or is being committed, shall knowingly fail to report such information to law enforcement authorities.) or (D) (No person shall fail to provide upon request of the person to whom he has made a report required by division (C) of this section, or to any law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to assert the authority to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, any facts within his knowledge that may have a bearing on the investigation of the death.) of this section does not require disclosure of information, when any of the following applies:

(1) The information is privileged by reason of the relationship between attorney and client, doctor and patient, licensed psychologist or licensed school psychologist and client, clergyman or rabbi or minister or priest and any person communicating information confidentially to him for a religious counseling purpose in his professional character, or husband and wife, or a communications assistant and those who are a party to a telecommunications relay service call.

(4) Disclosure of the information would amount to disclosure by an ordained clergyman of an organized religious body of a confidential communication made to him in his capacity as such by a person seeking his aid or counsel.

 

Columbus Municipal Code 3347.12 

Home occupation.

The purpose of this section is to permit a home occupation as an accessory use if it is compatible with the residential character of the neighborhood in which it is located, and is conducted so as not to have an adverse affect upon the average neighbor under normal circumstances; to set standards by which to judge the operation of such use; and to prohibit uses which are incompatible with permissible uses in apartment districts. A home occupation may be an accessory use in any apartment district subject to the following conditions:

(E) No person other than a permanent resident of the dwelling unit shall be engaged in or employed at any home occupation within such dwelling unit except that in connection with the practice of a profession which can be practiced only with the assistance of supportive personnel, one person not residing in such dwelling unit may be so employed. Profession is limited herein to architect, attorney, clergyman, dentist, engineer, physician or surgeon.

 

 

 

 

 

2.If there is a body of laws between the municipality laws and the state/provincial laws where you live, list nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy, that you have found by searching this area.

Franklin County:

LOC.R. 75.14 MARRIAGE LICENSE APPLICANTS

Pursuant to Ohio R.C. 3101.05 any applicant for a marriage license who is a minor must provide proof of having had marriage counseling prior to applying for the license. The counseling can be provided by clergy or a person licensed by the State of Ohio to provide counseling. Proof of counseling may be in the form of a letter to this Court from the person who provided the counseling on his or her letterhead.

(“Local Rules of Court”)

 

 

 

3.List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your state/provincial laws.

Chapter 21: Probate Court – Juvenile

Juvenile Court

Reporting child abuse or neglect. (see question 6 for full discussion)

(a) No person described in division (A)(1)(b) of this section who is acting in an official or professional capacity and knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to suspect, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect to the entity or persons specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the entity specified in that section.

(b) [Effective 9/17/2014]Division (A)(1)(a) of this section applies to any person who is an attorney; physician, including a hospital intern or resident; dentist; podiatrist; practitioner of a limited branch of medicine as specified in section 4731.15 of the Revised Code; registered nurse; licensed practical nurse; visiting nurse; other health care professional; licensed psychologist; licensed school psychologist; independent marriage and family therapist or marriage and family therapist; speech pathologist or audiologist; coroner; administrator or employee of a child day-care center; administrator or employee of a residential camp or child day c administrator or employee of a certified child care agency or other public or private children services agency; school teacher; school employee; school authority; person engaged in social work or the practice of professional counseling; agent of a county humane society; person, other than a cleric, rendering spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religion; employee of a county department of job and family services who is a professional and who works with children and families; superintendent or regional administrator employed by the department of youth services; superintendent, board member, or employee of a county board of developmental disabilities; investigative agent contracted with by a county board of developmental disabilities; employee of the department of developmental disabilities; employee of a facility or home that provides respite care in accordance with section 5123.171 of the Revised Code; employee of a home health agency; employee of an entity that provides homemaker services; a person performing the duties of an assessor pursuant to Chapter 3107. or 5103. of the Revised Code; third party employed by a public children services agency to assist in providing child or family related services; court appointed special advocate; or guardian ad litem.

(4)

(a) No cleric and no person, other than a volunteer, designated by any church, religious society, or faith acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church, religious society, or faith who is acting in an official or professional capacity, who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child, and who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, that another cleric or another person, other than a volunteer, designated by a church, religious society, or faith acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church, religious society, or faith caused, or poses the threat of causing, the wound, injury, disability, or condition that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to believe to the entity or persons specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the entity specified in that section.

(b) Except as provided in division (A)(4)(c) of this section, a cleric is not required to make a report pursuant to division (A)(4)(a) of this section concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship, if, in accordance with division (C) of section 2317.02 of the Revised Code, the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

(c) The penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship described in division (A)(4)(b) of this section is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege under division (C) of section 2317.02 of the Revised Code with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report pursuant to division (A)(4)(a) of this section with respect to that communication, if all of the following apply:

(i) The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under twenty-one years of age.

(ii) The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication or any observations made during that communication, the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the penitent.

(iii) The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion performed upon a child under eighteen years of age or upon a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under twenty-one years of age without the notification of her parents, guardian, or custodian in accordance with section 2151.85 of the Revised Code.

(d) Divisions (A)(4)(a) and (c) of this section do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

(R.C. § 2151.421)

Chapter 23: Court of Common Pleas

Evidence: Privileged Communications

The following persons shall not testify in certain respects: (see question 6 for discussion)

(1) A cleric, when the cleric remains accountable to the authority of that cleric’s church, denomination, or sect, concerning a confession made, or any information confidentially communicated, to the cleric for a religious counseling purpose in the cleric’s professional character. The cleric may testify by express consent of the person making the communication, except when the disclosure of the information is in violation of a sacred trust and except that, if the person voluntarily testifies or is deemed by division (A)(4)(c) of section 2151.421 of the Revised Code to have waived any testimonial privilege under this division, the cleric may be compelled to testify on the same subject except when disclosure of the information is in violation of a sacred trust.

(2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

(R.C. § 2317.02)

 

Jurisdiction – Limitation of Actions

Assault or battery actions – childhood sexual abuse.

(1) “Childhood sexual abuse” means any conduct that constitutes any of the violations identified in division (A)(1)(a) or (b) of this section and would constitute a criminal offense under the specified section or division of the Revised Code, if the victim of the violation is at the time of the violation a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age. The court need not find that any person has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to the offense under the specified section or division of the Revised Code in order for the conduct that is the violation constituting the offense to be childhood sexual abuse for purposes of this division. This division applies to any of the following violations committed in the following specified circumstances:

(viii) The actor is a cleric, and the victim is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric.

(R.C. § 2305.111)

Chapter 29: Crimes – Procedures

Sex Offenses

Sexual battery.

(A) No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another, not the spouse of the offender, when any of the following apply:

(12) The other person is a minor, the offender is a cleric, and the other person is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric.

(R.C. § 2907.03)

Illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

(A) No person shall do any of the following:

(1) Photograph any minor who is not the person’s child or ward in a state of nudity, or create, direct, produce, or transfer any material or performance that shows the minor in a state of nudity, unless both of the following apply:

(a) The material or performance is, or is to be, sold, disseminated, displayed, possessed, controlled, brought or caused to be brought into this state, or presented for a bona fide artistic, medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance;

(b) The minor’s parents, guardian, or custodian consents in writing to the photographing of the minor, to the use of the minor in the material or performance, or to the transfer of the material and to the specific manner in which the material or performance is to be used.

(2) Consent to the photographing of the person’s minor child or ward, or photograph the person’s minor child or ward, in a state of nudity or consent to the use of the person’s minor child or ward in a state of nudity in any material or performance, or use or transfer a material or performance of that nature, unless the material or performance is sold, disseminated, displayed, possessed, controlled, brought or caused to be brought into this state, or presented for a bona fide artistic, medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance;

(3) Possess or view any material or performance that shows a minor who is not the person’s child or ward in a state of nudity, unless one of the following applies:

(a) The material or performance is sold, disseminated, displayed, possessed, controlled, brought or caused to be brought into this state, or presented for a bona fide artistic, medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance.

(b) The person knows that the parents, guardian, or custodian has consented in writing to the photographing or use of the minor in a state of nudity and to the manner in which the material or performance is used or transferred.

(R.C. § 2907.323)

Permitting unlawful operation of viewing booths depicting sexual conduct.

(C) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section that either of the following applies to the involved visual materials or performances:

(1) The visual materials or performances depicting sexual conduct are disseminated or presented for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose and by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the visual materials or performances.

(R.C. § 2907.38)

Offenses Against the Family

Endangering children.

(A) No person, who is the parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control, or person in loco parentis of a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under twenty-one years of age, shall create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support. It is not a violation of a duty of care, protection, or support under this division when the parent, guardian, custodian, or person having custody or control of a child treats the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body.

(B) No person shall do any of the following to a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under twenty-one years of age:

(5) Entice, coerce, permit, encourage, compel, hire, employ, use, or allow the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, is sexually oriented matter, or is nudity-oriented matter;

(D)

(1) Division (B)(5) of this section does not apply to any material or performance that is produced, presented, or disseminated for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance.

(R.C. § 2919.22)

 

Offenses Against Justice & Public Administration

Failure to report a crime or knowledge of a death or burn injury.

(G) Divisions (A) and (D) of this section do not require disclosure of information, when any of the following applies:

(1) The information is privileged by reason of the relationship between attorney and client; doctor and patient; licensed psychologist or licensed school psychologist and client; licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, independent social worker, social worker, independent marriage and family therapist, or marriage and family therapist and client; member of the clergy, rabbi, minister, or priest and any person communicating information confidentially to the member of the clergy, rabbi, minister, or priest for a religious counseling purpose of a professional character; husband and wife; or a communications assistant and those who are a party to a telecommunications relay service call.

(4) Disclosure of the information would amount to disclosure by a member of the ordained clergy of an organized religious body of a confidential communication made to that member of the clergy in that member’s capacity as a member of the clergy by a person seeking the aid or counsel of that member of the clergy.

(R.C. § 2921.22)

 

Chapter 37: Health – Safety – Morals

Hospice care definitions.

(D) “Interdisciplinary team” means a working unit composed of professional and lay persons that includes at least a physician, a registered nurse, a social worker, a member of the clergy or a counselor, and a volunteer.

(R.C. § 3712.01) 

Nursing Homes & Residential Care Facilities

Implementation of residents’ rights.

To assist in the implementation of the rights granted in division (A) of section 3721.13 of the Revised Code, each home shall provide:

(E) Access to the following persons to enter the home during reasonable hours, except where such access would interfere with resident care or the privacy of residents:

(6) A minister, priest, rabbi, or other person ministering to a resident’s religious needs.

(R.C. § 3721.14)

Chapter 43: Liquor

Liquor Control Law

Sales of sacramental wine for religious rites.

All sales of sacramental wine for religious rites shall be made only upon the written, signed, dated, and sworn application of the member of the clergy or official purchasing the same. Such application must have endorsed thereon the approval of the general administrative officer, if there is such an officer, of the religious group to which the purchasing member of the clergy or official belongs. The name, address, and official position of such administrative officer shall be certified to the division of liquor control in such manner as the liquor control commission by rule prescribes.

(R.C. § 4301.23)

Chapter 47: Occupations – Professions

Counselors, Social Workers, Marriages, and Family Therapists

Exemptions.

(A) This chapter shall not apply to the following:

(4) Rabbis, priests, Christian science practitioners, clergy, or members of religious orders and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in federal tax regulations, paragraph (g)(5) of 26 C.F.R. 1.6033-2 (1995), and when the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

(R.C. § 4757.41)

Chemical Dependency Professionals

Exemptions.

Division (A) of section 4758.02 of the Revised Code does not apply to any of the following:

(B) An individual who is a rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, clergy, or member of a religious order and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the chemical dependency counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in paragraph (h) of 26 Code of Federal Regulations 1.6033 -2 (2000) as amended, and the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

(R.C. § 4758.03)

Chapter 51: Public Welfare

Dept. of Job and Family Services

Reporting abuse, neglect or exploitation of adult.

Any attorney, physician, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, dentist, psychologist, any employee of a hospital as defined in section 3701.01 of the Revised Code, any nurse licensed under Chapter 4723. of the Revised Code, any employee of an ambulatory health facility, any employee of a home health agency, any employee of a residential facility licensed under section 5119.34 of the Revised Code that provides accommodations, supervision, and personal care services for three to sixteen unrelated adults, any employee of a nursing home, residential care facility, or home for the aging, as defined in section 3721.01 of the Revised Code, any senior service provider, any peace officer, coroner, member of the clergy, any employee of a community mental health facility, and any person engaged in professional counseling, social work , or marriage and family therapy having reasonable cause to believe that an adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, or is in a condition which is the result of abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall immediately report such belief to the county department of job and family services. This section does not apply to employees of any hospital or public hospital as defined in section 5122.01 of the Revised Code.

(R.C. § 5101.61)

 

Dept. of Developmental Disabilities

Reporting abuse, neglect, and other major unusual incidents.

(C)(1) Any person listed in division (C)(2) of this section, having reason to believe that a person with mental retardation or a developmental disability has suffered or faces a substantial risk of suffering any wound, injury, disability, or condition of such a nature as to reasonably indicate abuse or neglect of that person, shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such information to the entity specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code or as otherwise provided in this division, the person making the report shall make it to a law enforcement agency or to the county board of developmental disabilities. If the report concerns a resident of a facility operated by the department of developmental disabilities the report shall be made either to a law enforcement agency or to the department. If the report concerns any act or omission of an employee of a county board of developmental disabilities, the report immediately shall be made to the department and to the county board.

(2) All of the following persons are required to make a report under division (C)(1) of this section:

(e) A member of the clergy who is employed in a position that includes providing specialized services to an individual with mental retardation or another developmental disability, while acting in an official or professional capacity in that position, or a person who is employed in a position that includes providing specialized services to an individual with mental retardation or another developmental disability and who, while acting in an official or professional capacity, renders spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets of an organized religion.

(R.C. § 5123.61)

Chapter 31: Domestic Relations – Children

Marriage

An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.

No person, except those legally authorized, shall attempt to solemnize a marriage, and no marriage shall be solemnized without the issuance of a license.

A minister upon producing to the secretary of state, credentials of the minister’s being a regularly ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the secretary of state a license authorizing the minister to solemnize marriages in this state so long as the minister continues as a regular minister in that society or congregation. A minister shall produce for inspection the minister’s license to solemnize marriages upon demand of any party to a marriage at which the minister officiates or proposes to officiate or upon demand of any probate judge.

The secretary of state shall enter the name of a minister licensed to solemnize marriages upon a record kept in the office of the secretary of state.

When the name of a minister licensed to solemnize marriages is entered upon the record by the secretary of state, such record and the license issued under section 3101.10 of the Revised Code shall be evidence that such minister is authorized to solemnize marriages in this state.

(R.C. § 3101)

 

 

 

4.List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your national laws.

 Jeopardizing Tax-Exempt Status

Political Campaign Activity: Individual Activity by Religious Leaders

The political campaign activity prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of churches or religious organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy. However, for their organizations to remain tax exempt under IRC section 501(c)(3), religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions. To avoid potential attribution of their comments outside of church functions and publications, religious leaders who speak or write in their individual capacity are encouraged to clearly indicate that their comments are personal and not intended to represent the views of the organization (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 7).

 

Employment Tax

Social Security and Medicare Taxes — Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)

FICA taxes consist of Social Security and Medicare taxes. Wages paid to employees of churches or religious organizations are subject to FICA taxes unless the following exception applies:

– wages are paid for services performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of his or her ministry, or by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties required by such order (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 18).

 

Special Rules for Compensation of Ministers

Withholding Income Tax for Ministers

Unlike other exempt organizations or businesses, a church is not required to withhold income tax from the compensation that it pays to its duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers for performing services in the exercise of their minis- try. An employee minister may, however, enter into a voluntary withholding agreement with the church by completing IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. A church should report compensation paid to a minister on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if the minister is an employee, or on IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, if the minister is an independent contractor (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 19).

 

Recordkeeping Requirements

Books of Accounting and Other Types of Records

All tax-exempt organizations, including churches and religious organizations (regardless of whether tax-exempt status has been officially recognized by the IRS), are required to maintain books of accounting and other records necessary to justify their claim for exemption in the event of an audit (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 21).

 

Ministerial Services

Ministerial services, in general, are the services you perform in the exercise of your ministry, in the exercise of your duties as required by your religious order, or in the exercise of your profession as a Christian Science practitioner or reader. Income you receive for performing ministerial services is subject to SE tax unless you have an exemption as explained later. Even if you have an exemption, only the income you receive for performing ministerial services is exempt. The exemption does not apply to any other income (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Ministers

Most services you perform as a minister, priest, rabbi, etc., are ministerial services. These services include:

– Performing sacerdotal functions,

– Conducting religious worship, and

– Controlling, conducting, and maintaining religious organizations (including the religious boards, societies, and other integral agencies of such organizations) that are under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination. (You are considered to control, conduct, and maintain a religious organization if you direct, manage, or promote the organization’s activities.) (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Religious Organization Qualification

A religious organization is under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination if it is organized for and dedicated to carrying out the principles of a faith according to the requirements governing the creation of institutions of the faith (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Services for nonreligious organizations.  

Your services for a nonreligious organization are ministerial services if the services are assigned or designated by your church. Assigned or designated services qualify even if they do not involve performing sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship. If your services are not assigned or designated by your church, they are ministerial services only if they involve performing sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Books or articles.   

Writing religious books or articles is considered to be in the exercise of your ministry and is considered a ministerial service (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

 

 

 

5.How do laws of your nation, state, or local area respond to Paganism and Neo-Pagan clergy? Are there laws that prohibit certain functions our clergy usually serve (such as divination, counseling, or conducting marriages or funerals)? Does your country implicitly or explicitly state that Neo-Pagans cannot have clergy, or that they cannot perform certain functions or receive similar rights as those from other religions?

There are no laws that would inhibit me performing the duties associated with being clergy.  There is nothing that explicitly or implicitly states that there cannot be neo-pagan clergy (or clergy of any denomination).  The only requirement appears to be that the clergy person has been vouched for by their religious organization, such as being ordained of licensed.

 

 

 

6.Looking at those laws listed in questions 1 – 4 and how they affect you, are there any specific laws that seem out of place, unfair, or unjust? What is the avenue for change to these laws, and do you see change to these particular laws as necessary?

For the most part, there don’t appear to be any laws that are out of place, unfair, or unjust.  The law is pretty light-handed on governances regarding religious organizations and clergy, and this is a good thing.  Generally, I see no need to make additions or changes to these laws.  If changes were or are needed at any point, those changes would need to go through local, state, or national legislators.

 

My only concern with one of the above laws, involves mandated reporting.  The law is complex to read through, and jumps back and forth in a somewhat redundant manner.  Clergy are not required to divulge communications held in spiritual confidence unless they suspect or know of abuse.  However, if those communications were in confidence, then they don’t even need to do that if it violates sacred trust. And in this case sacred trust means something that was said directly to the cleric and in the context where sacred trust in invoked.  I’ve included the sections of law that pertain to this below, with relevant passages highlighted.

 

I feel confident saying that as a clergy person in ADF, I would be bound by the mandated reporting laws because we don’t have a concept of “sacred trust” in our religion, therefore the bounds of “sacred trust” and its related confidentiality don’t apply.  However, I am uncomfortable with the idea that not all clergy across all denominations are necessarily mandated reporters.  On the other hand, since I don’t understand the mind frame from which they are coming, I don’t think I have the right to impose my views on their views.  It is a complex issue.

 

 

Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.421(A)(4)(b)-(d)

A cleric is not required to make a report concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship if, in accordance with § 2317.02(C), the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

The penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report with respect to that communication if all of the following apply:

  • The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under age 18 or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21.
  • The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication or any observations made during that communication, the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the penitent.
  • The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion performed upon a child under age 18 or upon a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21 without the notification of her parents, guardian, or custodian in accordance with § 2151.85.

The above sections do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

 

2317.02: Privileged Communications:

2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

 

 

 

 

7.How do you see these laws affecting how you serve your Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole?

I don’t see any of these laws adversely (or otherwise) affecting my ability to serve my Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole.  As a whole they are rather protective, by allowing us the freedom to do what we do, and not prohibiting the religious acts we engage in. The only laws that may apply are zoning laws regarding church property, and that would not really affect my ability to serve.

 

 

 

8.What is the difference between pastoral counseling and other kinds of counseling, and does the law differentiate between these types? What sort of license do you require in your state in order to perform counseling of any type? Does divination fall into this sort of counseling?

According to Chapters 4757 and 4758, professional counselors are those who are licensed by the state, and pastoral counselors are those who provide similar services as part of their ministry, but are members of the clergy of a church (defined by tax regulations) and are held accountable to that church while providing those services.  For pastoral counselors, the only license needed is one’s clergy credentials.  Divination, and any other forms of fortune-telling, aren’t mentioned anywhere in the law.

 

I’ve noted the laws regarding clergy and counseling below:

 

Chapter 4757

(A) This chapter shall not apply to the following:

(4) Rabbis, priests, Christian science practitioners, clergy, or members of religious orders and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in federal tax regulations, paragraph (g)(5) of 26 C.F.R. 1.6033-2 (1995), and when the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

 

Chapter 4758

Division (A) of section 4758.02 of the Revised Code does not apply to any of the following:

(B) An individual who is a rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, clergy, or member of a religious order and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the chemical dependency counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in paragraph (h) of 26 Code of Federal Regulations 1.6033 -2 (2000) as amended, and the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

 

 

 

 

9.Describe the mandatory reporting laws in your area and how they affect you as a clergyperson. Explain the process you would go through to file a report if it were necessary.

Mandated reporters (including clergy) are those who are required by law to report to the appropriate agencies if they suspect or know that abuse or neglect is occurring.  In Ohio, you simply call 1-855-O-H-CHILD (855-642-4453) with as much of the following information as you can gather:

  • The name and address of the child you suspect is being abused or neglected
  • The age of the child
  • The name and address of the parents or caretakers
  • The name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the child and the address if available
  • The reason you suspect the child is being abuse and neglected
  • Any other information which may be helpful to the investigation
  • You have the option of giving your name or reporting anonymously. Giving your name can help the investigator clarify information. The agency will not give your name to the person suspected of abusing the child.

In Ohio, after a report is made,

  • A child protective services investigator will interview the child, family members & others as deemed appropriate.
  • The investigator determines if the child is being abused or is at risk for abuse.
  • The case may be referred to local social service agencies, or to juvenile, family or criminal court.

(“How to Report Child Abuse and Neglect in Ohio”)

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

 

Columbus Municipal Code. Municode. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.

“How to Report Child Abuse and Neglect in Ohio.” Office of Families and Children. Ohio Dept of Job & Family Services. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <https://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/reportchildabuseandneglect.stm>.

“”Local Rules of Court”” Franklin County Probate Court. 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.

Ohio Rev. Code. Lawriter Ohio Laws and Rules, 2014. Web. 9 September 2014.

Internal Revenue Service. “Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations: Benefits and Responsibilities Under the Federal Tax Law.” Washington: GPO, 2014.  Web. 11 September 2014. <http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf>

Internal Revenue Service. “Publication 517 (2013), Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers.” Washington: GPO, 2013.  Web. 11 September 2014. <http://www.irs.gov/publications/p517/>

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