The Diocese of Virginia announces that National Hierarchical Churches Support the Diocese of Virginia in Opposing Virginia Law Section 57-9 . The press release starts out:
A number of national hierarchical churches have filed an Amici Curiae arguing that §57-9 division statute of the Virginia Code “cannot withstand constitutional challenge.” The constitutionality of this statute is being examined in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s case to preserve Episcopal Church property. The brief, filed on April 24 in support of the Diocese’s position, calls §57-9 “hopelessly infused with religious concepts” and demonstrates how this section of Virginia Code ignores the theologically-based structures of hierarchical churches throughout the Commonwealth in violation of the U.S. and Virginia constitutions.
When the Court ruled on April 4 that the 57-9 statute allowed for the CANA congregations to file their claims to take Episcopal Church property, the Court explicitly acknowledged that constitutional issues remain and scheduled a hearing on those issues on May 28, 2008.
At issue is the government’s ability to intrude into the freedom of the Episcopal Church and every other church in Virginia to organize and govern themselves according to their faith and doctrine. The implications of the Court’s ruling reach beyond the Episcopal Church, as evidenced by the number of denominations signing on to the Amici filing.
The Diocese of Virginia welcomes the filing of the Amici Brief from:
1. United Methodist Church
2. African Methodist Episcopal Church
3. African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
4. Worldwide Church of God
5. The Rt. Rev. Charlene Kammerer, Bishop of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
6. W. Clark Williams, Chancellor of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Read the full text of the brief as a PDF file here.