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A Troubling Legal Precedent in Texas

by Jason Pitzl-Waters

Twelve years ago a 17 year-old girl in a Pentecostal church was restrained for several hours on two different occasions for the purposes of exorcism. She experienced rope-burns, carpet burns, and bruises. Feeling emotionally traumatized by this involuntary action, the girl was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and her parents sued the church for damages and won. However, the Texas Supreme Court has now reversed that decision, saying that the previous ruling unfairly impinged on the First Amendment rights of the church. All three opposing judges, including Chief Justice Jefferson, filed dissents. Arguing that this decision will sanction abuse, so long as the offending organization holds a fig-leaf of religion.

“…the state Supreme Court dismissed Schubert’s case in a 6-3 ruling, saying her lawsuit violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections on religious expression — the latest in a string of decisions limiting judicial oversight of religious institutions and practice. “The case, as tried, presents an ecclesiastical dispute over religious conduct that would unconstitutionally entangle the court in matters of church doctrine,” said the majority opinion, written by Justice David Medina.”

Read the original article at: The Wild Hunt

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