Who's Online Now
We have 166 guests and no members online
A Joint Statement of The Bishop and Standing Committee of The Diocese of South Carolina
It is with the weight of decision but conviction of heart and mind that I write to tell you the Standing Committee, after prayerful deliberation, and with my full support, has voted unanimously to proceed with a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. I remind you that this long process first began with our stand for Gospel truth—holding firmly to the faith once delivered to the saints. All too soon, we were thrust us into a battle for Religious Freedom. As Justice Kitteridge has aptly stated about the State Supreme Court’s recent denial for rehearing “…to disallow a full court from considering the rehearing petitions is deeply troubling and, in my opinion, raises constitutional implications as the Court has blocked a fair and meaningful merits review of the rehearing petitions.” So we have before us our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ to which we are unwaveringly wedded; a civil concern for religious freedom for ourselves and others; and a public duty to petition for constitutional due process to be upheld. Any of these might justify taking the next step down this legal road. Together they make a three-fold cord not easily broken.
Diocese of South Carolina Denied Rehearing by South Carolina Supreme Court
Statement by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis:
“We are deeply disappointed the Court did not see fit to recuse Justice Hearn. Her personal interest in the outcome of this litigation, beyond the normal matters of law, has clearly influenced its outcome. That is unfortunate not only for the Diocese but for all the citizens of this State with concerns for a fair and impartial judiciary. We also find it disturbing that the weight of the Constitutional concerns raised was not given further opportunity to be addressed. Church property ownership in South Carolina is now gravely complicated.
Amicus Brief Filed By Religious Leaders in Support of Diocese
Misapplication of neutral principles of law leads to constitutional conflicts and property rights confusion.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (November 13, 2017) – Friday, a diverse group of 106 South Carolina religious leaders, representing 52 cities and many denominations, filed an amicus curiae brief in the South Carolina Supreme Court supporting the Petition for Rehearing filed by the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) and 29 parish churches regarding the South Carolina Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Appellate Case No. 2015-000622. Among the amici are representatives of Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian, United Methodist, REC, Nazarene, Holiness and non-denominational churches, as well as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The amici are represented by attorneys with Winston & Strawn as well as Michael W. McConnell, who is the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The brief addresses the Court’s misapplication of “neutral principles of law”, which presents both a serious threat to religious liberty and “leaves this state’s Church property law in disrepair and confusion.”
Statement by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis:
“Friday’s brief illustrates well two essential problems with the current ruling of the Court. Because there is no legal consensus among the Justices, the ruling as it stands is, as stated in the brief, a “recipe for endless litigation.” As a consequence of misapplying neutral principles of law as intended by the U.S. Supreme Court, it violates rather than preserves, the First Amendment protections of religious liberty they are meant to ensure. Resolving these significant issues merits rehearing by the Court.”
Nominating Committee Accepting Nomination Suggestions
Attached is a letter from the Nominating Committee Chairman, the Rev. Karl Burns, a nomination form along with a list of those positions to be filled at Convention. We're also including a list of who is currently and has recently served to help you in your discernment process.
Please send your suggestions to the Chairman of the Committee, by way of the Diocesan office by December 13th. The Committee will be convening in December to make its final recommendations for nominees well ahead of Convention. Working with the suggestions received, and often by further recruitment, the Committee will recommend a slate of nominations to the Convention.
Diocese Rebuts Amici Brief Defending Justice Hearn
The Code of Judicial Conduct still requires recusal.
Quotes from today’s filed Response:
+ Regarding Justice Hearn’s interest in the outcome, the amici brief “simply disregards the evidence provided with the Motion to Recuse.” [p. 4]