Massachusetts proposals to force church disclosures
Hamilton02 at aol.com
Hamilton02 at aol.com
Wed Aug 17 07:12:14 PDT 2005
The proposed legislation is not anti-Catholic, but rather anti-fraud and
anti-coverup. This is coming from inside the Mass. legislature as much as it
is from any outside pressure. The legislation is neutral on its face.
In a message dated 8/17/2005 6:49:33 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
vrkoven at gmail.com writes:
I suppose that depends on how you define "anti-Catholic," but the proponents
of this legislation (all Catholics, so far as I can tell) are adopting the
*political* stance of supporting the lay Catholics who have been critical of
church-closing decisions. More votes in the pews than in the pulpits, I guess.
Vance R. Koven
Boston, MA USA
_vrkoven at world.std.com_ (mailto:vrkoven at world.std.com)
On 8/17/05, Paul Finkelman <_paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu _
(mailto:paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu) > wrote:
My understanding is that there is a large Catholic majority in the Mass.
legislature; if so, then are you suggesing that thte legislture is
Vance R. Koven wrote:
>I'm a bit surprised that nobody here has brought up the recent
>initiatives of the Massachusetts legislature to require churches
>(guess which one they mostly have in mind) to start disclosing
>financial information, including assets held. Churches have been
>exempted from making the financial disclosures that "other charities"
>(quoted because this is an issue in contention) have to disclose to
>the Attorney General's Division of Public Charities. The RC church, of
>course, but also the Massachusetts Council of (mostly Protestant)
>Churches has opposed this requirement on First Amendment grounds. A
>lot of the public debate has revolved around whether churches are
>really charities like secular ones, or have their own special niche
>that precludes the state from even requiring disclosure of financial
>information. The state legislators sponsoring the bill (the AG has
>been trying to stay neutral) contend that disclosure is in the
>interests of potential and actual donors (primarily parishioners) in
>making sure their funds are not misused; and in many cases this
>information is thought to aid claimants against the principally
>Catholic churches and clergy involved in sex scandals and follow-on
>parish closings to pay the damages resulting from the scandal.
>Is the Free Ex claim of the churches sound? Do other states require
>this type of disclosure?
Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Tulsa College of Law
3120 East 4th Place
Tulsa, OK 74104-3189
_paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu_ (mailto:paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu)
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