Rev. Arnold

Church Vs. State

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Tricky question but let's see what comes back here: Now are County government agencies (County Probation Department and County Mental Health) allowed to dictate to the church how it should operate? Now, the pastor is not under the jurisdiction of either agency but a family member is. I'm trying to get a church started and I can't even launch without Internet on-site.

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Youch   

Tricky question but let's see what comes back here: Now are County government agencies (County Probation Department and County Mental Health) allowed to dictate to the church how it should operate? Now, the pastor is not under the jurisdiction of either agency but a family member is. I'm trying to get a church started and I can't even launch without Internet on-site.

What kind of church? What religious affiliation?

The family member is irrelevant, so what do the county Probation and Mental Health organizations have anything to do with it?

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jba   

Hi

I agree we need more information. What do you mean by "I can't even launch without Internet on-site"?

Are you trying to start a church in a mental hospital?

Hope to hear from you soon.

jba

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ok, maybe my choice of wording on that was bad. The County Mental Health and Probation agency are telling me i have to turn off the churches internet service because I'm starting the church out of my relatives house. They are threatening to place this relative in jail because the church has internet access for the business. My relative doesn't have access to the internet himself but they threaten anyways.

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kokigami   

ok, maybe my choice of wording on that was bad. The County Mental Health and Probation agency are telling me i have to turn off the churches internet service because I'm starting the church out of my relatives house. They are threatening to place this relative in jail because the church has internet access for the business. My relative doesn't have access to the internet himself but they threaten anyways.

I am assuming this relative has a court order forbidding his internet access. And it would be a violation of his parole, or plea bargain. I would listen to the county health people.. they are correct. Or let him go to jail..

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Aina   

What Kokigami says. Because it is highly unbelievable that someone can live in a house with internet access and not "have access" to it. And their stance on that will not change.

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ok, local attorney advised me that the government CAN NOT regulate a church or any private business unless one of the owners is under their jurisdiction or unless it's a business that is normally regulated by the government like a doctor's office, school ect.

Edited by Rev. Arnold

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Your right to a degree. However, they can get involved if say your "relative" is a registered sex offender and is not allowed to be within X number of feet of places like schools, day cares, playgrounds and churches. In this case, you can be forced to choose between your relative and your church.

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kokigami   

Agreed. They can't regulate you, They can regulate him. Assuming our assumption above is correct.. you have not confirmed it. You can start the church with the i net access, he has to leave, or get arrested.. The state will be ok with either..

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On 6/29/2010 at 8:15 AM, Rev. Arnold said:

ok, maybe my choice of wording on that was bad. The County Mental Health and Probation agency are telling me i have to turn off the churches internet service because I'm starting the church out of my relatives house. They are threatening to place this relative in jail because the church has internet access for the business. My relative doesn't have access to the internet himself but they threaten anyways.

Just wondering if there is another person with the last name Arnold on this site.May create some confusion and complications.If not then I have been hacked and may have posts that I did not place here.

Edited by Reverend John Arnold

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On 6/28/2010 at 4:19 PM, Rev. Arnold said:

Tricky question but let's see what comes back here: Now are County government agencies (County Probation Department and County Mental Health) allowed to dictate to the church how it should operate? Now, the pastor is not under the jurisdiction of either agency but a family member is. I'm trying to get a church started and I can't even launch without Internet on-site.

There is no quarum for the mental health to be invovled.You must go by the laws of county,state and government.

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On 6/29/2010 at 8:15 AM, Rev. Arnold said:

Hello folks.Do not get me mixed up with this other Rev. Arnold.I know the law and what it pertains to.And yes,I agree with the other posts stating that unless you have a church in someones house who is either under mental health,pending on severity,or in a house of one that has some sort of sexual crime that can't have any access to the internet,then you can,by city,county,state and government law have a church.Mental health has nothing to do with having a church unless the speaker of the house or it's congregation is that of a mental health patient.Some laws are very confusing,but if you actually read them it is very plain as day.Maybe as a suggetion,take a small course in law or have someone who knows the law help.

 

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ULCneo   
On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2010 at 10:15 AM, Rev. Arnold said:

ok, maybe my choice of wording on that was bad. The County Mental Health and Probation agency are telling me i have to turn off the churches internet service because I'm starting the church out of my relatives house. They are threatening to place this relative in jail because the church has internet access for the business. My relative doesn't have access to the internet himself but they threaten anyways.

Ok, here's the thing- this depends upon the specific set of circumstances. In general the separation clause prohibits the government from interfering in the church's business unless the government can meet a strict-scrutiny standard of review. Strict-scrutiny requires the government to prove (1) There is a compelling government interest in regulation. (2) That the compelling interest isn't merely hypothetical in nature, (3) that the proposed regulation is narrowly tailored to address only that compelling interest and nothing beyond that.

That said, probation is considered a privilege, not a right, meaning the government need only to prove a violation of probation via preponderance of the evidence (as opposed to the higher beyond a reasonable doubt standard applicable to criminal law.) However, there's nothing within the situation that would inherently suggest a violation of probation (because those living in the residence can assert all constitutional rights against a probation officer independently of the probationer- such as the constitutional right of a search warrant before entering, etc.) and thus issue a criminal trespass warning against the probation officer or get a state protective order if necessary.) If you are incorporated as a church (which is a good idea) the church become its own legal entity with its own distinct set of legal rights.

So the following are the questions of analysis that need to be evaluated: First, you need to first determine which terms of probation are alleged to have been violated? Is there a lesser means of enforcement of these provisions that doesn't interfere with the church (i.e. such as the implementation of passwords, etc.- remember a probation order can't be construed against the rights of third parties that were not parties to the order.)? Is the violation actual or merely hypothetical? (meaning if the term only requires that the probationer not "access" the internet is the threat of access only "hypothetical" or can the government prove the probationer ACTUALLY would have access?)  These are the kinds of questions that you first need to be able to answer.

The mental health community also has strict standards regarding interfering in the religious practices of patients, under the patient bill of rights- which mental health professionals are obliged by federal law to respect and take notice of.  A psychiatrist or state-funded agency can potentially loose their license to practice or other certification credentials, or be de-funded (i.e. loose federal and state grant money) over this sort of thing.  In most states you need not be the patient or an attorney to file a complaint against a mental health professional for violating the state-promulgated rules of ethics and conduct for mental health professionals (which differs from state to state). 

In short this is something definitely worth getting in contact with an attorney about. 

 

Edited by ULCneo

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