An amicus brief was filed petitioning the SC Supreme Court for a rehearing in the case over disputed church property previously belonging to the Diocese of South Carolina.
Over 23,000 Christians in South Carolina remain entangled in a legal battle for their church property and for religious freedom. But a positive step forward could be taken very soon thanks to the efforts of Palmetto Family’s Nehemiah Network and over 100 faith leaders in South Carolina.
On Friday, November 10th, an amicus brief (friend of the court) was filed petitioning the South Carolina Supreme Court for a rehearing in the case over disputed church property previously belonging to the Diocese of South Carolina. The brief should catch the attention of the Court because it was filed on behalf of a significant number of South Carolina leaders – specifically, 106 members of Palmetto Family’s Nehemiah (Pastor’s) Network, who signed on in support of the Diocese of South Carolina and religious freedom.
The brief could be the positive breakthrough for the bible-believing Diocese of South Carolina, religious freedom and property rights.
The 106 South Carolina faith leaders argue in the brief entitled Amici Curiae Brief of 100 Religious Leaders in Support of Respondents’ Petition for Rehearing that the Court’s earlier decision in favor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TEC) did not properly apply neutral principles of law, which threatens their religious liberty. They further argued that confusion surrounding the actual meaning of the fractured multi-opinion earlier decision has created uncertainty for the property rights of their churches.
There is a positive sense that the brief will bring about the desired result of a rehearing:
Gary Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the SC Baptist Convention and a passionate signatory of the brief, said, “One of the founding principles of our nation has been religious freedom and any threat to that freedom is an affront to every other freedom. We stand with our Anglican brethren in that same spirit.”
Pastor Jeremy Rivers of Body of Christ Overcomer Ministries Church said, “Everyone has the right, as I see it, to represent Christ and spread the Gospel, and I stand with these churches because one day my freedom could be at stake. I have gladly signed my name to this brief.”
Senator Chip Campsen who represents the majority of those who will be affected by the decision said, “Thousands of my constituents are on the verge of being stripped of historic and valuable churches, which they and their ancestors built and paid for over the course of three centuries. This would be a major blow to property rights, freedom of association and religious liberty. Hopefully the brief, authored by foremost First Amendment scholars, will persuade the Court to avert that tragic outcome.”
The outcome of the petition for rehearing and the actual case, which looms as perhaps one of the most important religious freedom cases in the history of South Carolina, still remains in limbo. However, behind the leadership of the Nehemiah Network’s pastors and Palmetto Family, South Carolina Christians are showing the South Carolina Supreme Court that religious freedom ought to be defended at all costs.
As it remains an ongoing effort, we invite you to take two minutes to sign this petition to help our brothers and sisters in need.
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