By Christopher Cross
"Hopefully we'll have the Texas Supreme Court take this case and rule that pastors have a constitutional right to govern the churches as they see fit and to deal with unrepentant sin as they deem the Bible tells them to deal with it -- and not have a secular model imposed upon them by the courts."
Those were the words of Hiram Sasser, Director of Litigation for the Liberty Legal Institute (LLI) in a suit that is currently being played out in Texas Courts. As a result of Pastor Buddy Westbrook of Crossland Community Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas deciding to kick a member of his congregation, Peggy Penley out of the Church for deciding she no longer wanted to be married.
Pastor Westbrook contends that because Ms. Penley did not follow the bibilical scriptures pertaining to leaving her marriage, she no longer held the right to be a member of his Church and LLI believes that the Pastor holds the constitutional right to do as he pleases to "punish sinners" with zero civil accountability.
Moreover, that Pastor Westbrook also held the constitutional right to inform all other member's of the Church that Ms. Penley was being kicked out of the Church because she would not repent her sins and refrain from seeking a divorse in her marriage outside the scope of bibilical scriptures. No matter what harm came of his actions in informing the rest of the congregation and therein destroying the name, character and reputation of Ms. Penley.
So the question becomes ~ Should Church leaders hold the constitutional right to take it upon themselves to "punish sinners" at any costs to the punished person with zero civil accountability? Well, so far the Appellet Court has said no and overturned the lower Courts' decision that said yes.
What is for certain is that if we are to give such constitutional unrestrictiveness to any leader of any Church it is likely that sooner or later some nut is going to decide that "in the nane of the Bible," sinners need to be stoned to death to pay for their sins and there are plenty of crazy folks in society that would go right along with the lunitic in charge.
Promoting so-called "family values" is one thing ~ taking it upon yourself to play God to "punish sinners" however, is entirely different...