In August, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled, in a sharply divided opinion, that the property belonging to 29 congregations in the Diocese of South Carolina must be returned to the denomination the Diocese voted by 80% margins to leave in 2012. The Anglican churches in the lower part of South Carolina broke ties with the national Episcopal Church over its apostasy and now the liberal leaders of the denomination in New York want to take our South Carolina churches' name and property!
The deciding vote in this decision to overturn South Carolina Supreme Court precedent was provided by Justice Kaye Hearn. Justice Hearn, though having a clearly demonstrated conflict of interest in this case, failed to either recuse herself from this case or declare her conflict of interest, as required by the S.C. Code of Judicial Conduct.
Why it Matters:
No matter what your Christian brand, communion, denomination or affiliation, the actions of Justice Hearn infringe upon religious freedom and stomps on justice.
- Most of the 23,000 members of the Diocese of South Carolina and its 54 congregations will be effectively deprived of their place of worship and ministry, built by God's grace and entirely through the contributions of its members.
- This ruling has direct implications for others with denominational affiliations.
- It will also have significant implications for the capacity of any congregation to pursue financing for future growth and development, having overturned 300 years of common law precedent for property trust interests.
- Perhaps most importantly, all citizens of the state of South Carolina should be concerned that a sitting Justice, with a clear and profound conflict of interest, in a case touching the lives of so many people, is flouting the ethical requirements of the state's Judicial Code of Conduct.
Take two minutes to tell the South Carolina Supreme Court and your fellow South Carolinians that a retrial should be granted.