A Virginia court today upheld an Virginia law that blocked the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia from confiscating the property of its dissident congregations. (Opinion here (big pdf).) Many conservative parishes are leaving the Episcopal Church over a host of issues (most famously — but less importantly — over issues regarding sexuality) that call into question whether the Episcopal Church is even Christian any more. Episcopal Dioceses have responded by attempting to confiscate the property of congregations that secede, but the Diocese of Virginia has been blocked by an 1867 law called the Division Statute.
The Diocese laments that the Division Statute is “uniquely hostile to religious freedom,” which is strikingly audacious, given that the Diocese itself is attempting to persecute dissident congregations for exercising their religious freedom. I sympathize with the idea that the court should not involve itself in the affairs of a church, but the Diocese of Virginia initiated that involvement itself by suing the dissident congregations for their property. (Contrary to the Bible’s teaching (1Co 6:1-8), I might add.)
(Via the Corner.)