‘Law and the Church’ Posts


Law and the Church Passes

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Dear Rev. Crystal Groves (Crystal Groves),

Congratulations! Your Law and the Church submission passes. That fortune telling law is crazy.

I think I have “Hex and Spellwork: The Magical Practices of the Pennsylvania Dutch,” btw. Let me check and see. I know I have something similar to that, but I don’t know if it’s the same book. I picked it up at a rest stop at one point, of all places.

Rev. Michael Dangler


Law and Church Works Cited

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“TITLE 42 JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE § 5943 Confidential Communications to Clergymen.” The Pennsylvania General Assembly. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/>.

“TITLE 42 JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE SUBCHAPTER B. § 6311 Persons Required to Report Suspected Child Abuse.” The Pennsylvania General Assembly. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/>.

TITLE 23 DOMESTIC RELATIONS 1503. Persons Qualified to Solemnize Marriages.”Pennsylvania General Assembly. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/>.

“Recognition of Same-sex Unions in Pennsylvania.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Pennsylvania>.

The Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act PDF. N.p.: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 26 Dec. 2006. PDF. <www.portal.state.pa.us:80/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_160154_797894_0_0_18/copy_of_act_(2007).pdf>.

“The Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act.” Pennsylvania Department of State. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/charities/12444/the_solicitation_of_funds_for_charitable_purposes_act/571842>.

“CHAPTER 95. COUNTY CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS § 95.237. Religion.”Pennsylvania Code. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/037/chapter95/chap95toc.html>.

“Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1023.” Social Security Administration. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-1023.htm>.

Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations. N.p.: Internal Revenue Service, n.d. PDF. <http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf>.

Program Statement, Visiting Regulations. N.p.: U.S. Department of Justice, n.d. PDF. <http://www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5267_008.pdf>.

House Bill No. 1099 Session For 2007.” General Assembly of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM>.

“Section 7104 – Title 18 – CRIMES AND OFFENSES § 7104. Fortune Telling.” Section 7104 – Title 18 – CRIMES AND OFFENSES. Pennsylvania General Assembly, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/18/>.

Bilardi, C. R. “5. The Operation of Braucherei.” The Red Church or the Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei. Sunland, CA: Pendraig, 2009. 158-59. Print.

“Pastoral Counseling Licensing.” American Association of Pastoral Counselors. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.aapc.org/membership/licensing.aspx>.

Chaplain Activities in the United States Army. N.p.: United States Army, n.d. PDF. <http://chaplain.ng.mil/resources/Documents/AR165_1.pdf>.


Law and the Church, #11

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What are the regulations and options for prison ministry in your county and state?

From a state level, the prison ministry regulations I’ve found are as follows:

PA Chapter 95 Law in regards to County Correction Institutions § 95.237. Religion says that the follow are minimum requirements applicable to religion in correctional facilities (CHAPTER 95. COUNTY CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS § 95.237. Religion.):

(1) Written local policy must provide that each prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his religious life consistent with the orderly administration of the prison.

(2) Written local policy must require that individuals seeking to provide religious guidance to inmates be screened and selected by the prison administrator or a designee.

(3) Written local policy must provide for the accommodation of religious practices consistent with the security needs and orderly administration of the prison. The policy must describe the procedure for reviewing an inmate request for accommodation of a religious practice or activity.

(4) Written local policy must provide that inmates are permitted to possess religious objects consistent with the security needs and orderly administration of the prison. The policy must describe the procedure for reviewing an inmate request to possess religious objects that would otherwise be considered contraband.

(5) Written local policy must provide for the accommodation of special foods, diets and fasts as part of an inmate’s religious practices consistent with the security needs and orderly administration of the prison. The policy must describe the procedure for reviewing an inmate request for accommodation of these practices.

In addition § 95.233. Visiting. states:

(5)  Written local policy must allow for visits by an inmate’s attorney or clergy. Written local policy must require that accommodations be made to provide for the privacy of conversation during these visits.

There are no current county laws that I’ve found for prison ministry.


Law and the Church, #10

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What are the rules regarding outside worship for any local military base, and what happens if a soldier on that base wants access to a priest who is not in the military or not a military chaplain? If there are no local military bases, what are the general rules?

The closest military base is either Camp David in Sabillasville MD, or Fort Detrick in Frederick Maryland.  There are military facilities around Gettysburg, but they are not considered “bases”.

There is very little information to be found about Camp David, which is to be expected since it is such a private institution.  For Detrick, which is known as the center for the creation of Anthrax, does not have any public mandates regarding outside worship.  In fact I cannot find many bases around here that have any sort of official mandate.  I think for the most part those types of laws are regulations are served on an “as needed” basis and by request from the soldier in question who would then filter through the military chaplain.

Further research found mention in the Army Regulation 165-1 mention of Chaplain Activities in the United States Army which has several regulations regarding “Distinctive Faith Groups” (Chaplain Activities in the United States Army).

3–3. Religious services on military installations
a. The Army recognizes that religion is constitutionally protected and does not favor one form of religious expression over another. Accordingly, all religious denominations are viewed as distinctive faith groups and all soldiers are entitled to chaplain services and support.
b. When facilities are shared, scheduling priority will be given to worship services conducted by chaplains and services that minister to the largest number of soldiers and family members. The Installation Staff Chaplain will supervise all worship services held on a military installation.
c. Religious services conducted in military chapels and facilities are primarily for military personnel and authorized civilians. The Army is not required to provide religious support to non-DOD authorized personnel; however, military worship services are generally open to the public.

5–3. Civilian contract clergy
a. The services of civilian clergy may be contracted on an exception to policy basis when the Army is unable to provide a military chaplain, DOD civilian, or volunteer to meet the religious needs of soldiers and their family members. Exceptions must be approved by the MACOM chaplain (see chapters 13 and 14).
b. The services of civilian clergy may be procured by means of a nonpersonal services (NPS) contract with a recognized religious organization.
c. Civilian contract clergy will not function as a military chaplain, wear a military uniform, or be assigned AR 165–1 • 25 March 2004 9responsibilities as a staff officer. Their duties will be solely to provide specific and essential religious services to a distinctive faith group in the absence of a military chaplain according to the terms of the contract.

5–5. Distinctive faith group leaders
a. Distinctive faith group leaders may provide ministry on an exception to policy basis when military chaplains are not available to meet the faith group coverage requirements of soldiers and their families.
b. Distinctive faith group leaders—
(1) Are normally volunteers.
(2) Do not function as military chaplains.
(3) Must be sponsored and supervised by an assigned chaplain.
(4) May receive offerings at services they conduct with the funds being handled IAW chapter 14 of this regulation.
(5) Will receive no payment for their services, travel, or other expenses from APF (unless under contract). Military members will not be paid. However, if these leaders are nonmilitary full-time ordained clergy, they may be contracted.
Pay rates will not exceed the contract prices for civilian clergy contracted with APF.
(6) Will not perform collective Protestant services.
c. Distinctive faith group leaders seeking to provide religious services in chapel or unit facilities must submit an application (to be resubmitted for approval upon change of sponsoring chaplain) to the local installation chaplain for approval. The prospective leader must—

(1) Be approved by a religious organization recognized by the AFCB or recognized as a tax-exempt religious organization by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In the latter case, the prospective distinctive faith group leader shall submit a letter of approval by an authorized leader of the distinctive faith group with a full description of the group. This will include its origin, the length of time it has existed, and the number of members of the parent faith group.
(2) Establish the need for the requested distinctive faith group service.
(3) Provide a list of those persons requesting the service.
(4) Provide an explanation of why the service cannot be conducted by a military chaplain.
(5) Provide reasons why the local chaplain-led services cannot meet the specific theological/denominational requirements of the group.
(6) Establish with the installation chaplain that the proposed distinctive faith group leader is qualified for the position.
d. Distinctive faith group leaders will not conduct services before approval by the MACOM/STARC/USARC MSC Staff Chaplain.


Law and the Church, #9

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Describe the mandatory reporting laws in your area and how they affect you as a clergyperson. Explain the process you would go through to file a report if it were necessary.

Clergy do not have mandatory reporting laws outside of the IRS fundage.  We are not required to report child abuse that is reported during a confession to Clergy, but are also not held to the same regulation of confidentiality when it comes to child abuse.

If we were to report these types of abuse, however, Subchapter C gives an outline of the required documentation for child abuse claims:

(a) General rule.–Reports from persons required to report under section 6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse) shall be made immediately by telephone and in writing within 48 hours after the oral report.

(b) Oral Reports – Oral reports shall be made to the department pursuant to Subchapter C (relating to powers and duties of department) and may be made to the appropriate county agency. When oral reports of suspected child abuse are initially received at the county agency, the protective services staff shall, after seeing to the immediate safety of the child and other children in the home, immediately notify the department of the receipt of the report, which is to be held in the pending complaint file as provided in Subchapter C. The initial child abuse report summary shall be supplemented with a written report when a determination is made as to whether a report of suspected child abuse is a founded report, an unfounded report or an indicated report.

(c) Written Reports  – Written reports from persons required to report under section 6311 shall be made to the appropriate county agency in a manner and on forms the department prescribes by regulation. The written reports shall include the following information if available:

(1) The names and addresses of the child and the parents or other person responsible for the care of the child if known.
(2) Where the suspected abuse occurred.
(3) The age and sex of the subjects of the report.
(4) The nature and extent of the suspected child abuse, including any evidence of prior abuse to the child or siblings of the child.
(5) The name and relationship of the person or persons responsible for causing the suspected abuse, if known, and any evidence of prior abuse by that person or persons.
(6) Family composition.
(7) The source of the report.
(8) The person making the report and where that person can be reached.
(9) The actions taken by the reporting source, includingthe taking of photographs and X-rays, removal or keeping of the child or notifying the medical examiner or coroner.
(10) Any other information which the department may require by regulation (TITLE 23 DOMESTIC RELATIONS § 6313. Reporting procedure.).


Law and the Church, #8

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What is the difference between pastoral counseling and other kinds of counseling, and does the law differentiate between these types? What sort of license do you require in your state in order to perform counseling of any type? Does divination fall into this sort of counseling?

The difference between pastoral counseling and other kinds of counseling is that pastoral counseling is mainly faith-based counseling.  We cannot legally counsel on the mental or medical state of a person (unless otherwise licensed for those types of counseling).  Those types of counseling include psychological, relationship, or medical counseling.  ADF provides the pastoral training for Clergy to perform pastoral counseling, but it does not provide psychological or medical training for the latter, nor should it.

Pennsylvania State law does not define Clergy as an occupation that requires a license to practice pastoral counseling.  According to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, PA is not listed among the six states that require a license for the title “Pastoral Counselor” (“Pastoral Counseling Licensing.”).


Law and the Church, #7

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How do you see these laws affecting how you serve your Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole?

None of the particular laws for Pennsylvania or Federal law directly affect how I serve my Grove, ADF or the Folk.  For the most part these laws are fair and just in terms of Clergy, and unless someone tries to get me charged with a misdemeanor for using runes or tarot, and even that is iffy, then I am at no risk for my practice and spirituality.

ADF has very knowledgeable leadership that have educated themselves on legal matters concerning Clergy and religious organizations.  They have set a foundation that is more organized than most Neo-pagan institutions, thus it gives us a leg up on our position in the political and legal realms.  We are in a very good position within the Neo-pagan community to really set a precedence for Pagan Clergy.  I hope that I can continue that knowledge and make sure ADF stays abreast of all policies that might affect us in the future.


Law and the Church, #6

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Looking at those laws listed in questions 1 – 4 and how they affect you, are there any specific laws that seem out of place, unfair, or unjust? What is the avenue for change to these laws, and do you see change to these particular laws as necessary?

The main law I see as unfair in my research is the same-sex marriage laws.  This does not affect me as Clergy directly, but as a person and Clergy who fully supports same-sex marriage, I feel it is an unjust law.

I could also see the laws against Fortune-telling as being a potential threat if manipulated correctly against Clergy with the use of omen and divination.

If the House Bill 1099 passes, it could threaten the definition of congregation and ordination of Clergy in that ADF being rather virtual organization, but still providing legit in-person ordination, I worry about manipulation of these laws to further exclude Groves that do not own a physical church building.

Avenues for change of these types of laws require that we as Clergy and Druids in general being aware and active in our judicial community.  Knowing what bills and amendments are upcoming for votes, rally against them publicly and voice your position through your vote.  To be honest I wish we had more neo-pagans or even ADF members in political office to help further politics and law into a more fair direction.


Law and the Church, #5

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How do laws of your nation, state, or local area respond to Paganism and Neo-Pagan clergy? Are there laws that prohibit certain functions our clergy usually serve (such as divination, counseling, or conducting marriages or funerals)? Does your country implicitly or explicitly state that Neo-Pagans cannot have clergy, or that they cannot perform certain functions or receive similar rights as those from other religions?

From what I’ve been able to research, there are no current laws that prevent Neo-pagan clergy from practice in the state of Pennsylvania.  There was a House Bill 1099 Session of 2007 of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania that attempted to amend laws on persons qualified to solemnize marriages by stating that:

Definition.–As used in this section, the term “regularly established church or congregation” excludes churches or congregations through which ordination is available by mail order or via the Internet or any other electronic means (House Bill No. 1099 Session For 2007.).

I feel this was mostly targeted to the Universal Life Church, but could potentially affect ADF Grove’s as well.

Additionally, there are some old time Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore laws that were established over a century ago against Fortune-Telling called TITLE 18 CRIMES AND OFFENSES  § 7104.  Fortune telling that reads as follows:

Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if he pretends for gain or lucre, to tell fortunes or predict future events, by cards, tokens, the inspection of the head or hands of any person, or by the age of anyone, or by consulting the movements of the heavenly bodies, or in any other manner, or for gain or lucre, pretends to effect any purpose by spells, charms, necromancy, or incantation, or advises the taking or administering of what are commonly called love powders or potions, or prepares the same to be taken or administered, or publishes by card, circular, sign, newspaper or other means that he can predict future events, or for gain or lucre, pretends to enable anyone to get or to recover stolen property, or to tell where lost property is, or to stop bad luck, or to give good luck, or to put bad luck on a person or animal, or to stop or injure the business or health of a person or shorten his life, or to give success in business, enterprise, speculation, and games of chance, or to win the affection of a person, or to make one person marry another, or to induce a person to make or alter a will, or to tell where money or other property is hidden, or to tell where to dig for treasure, or to make a person to dispose of property in favor of another (Section 7104 – Title 18 – CRIMES AND OFFENSES § 7104. Fortune Telling).

Further Research into former incidents regarding the fortune-telling law, an incident in 1999 involving a Pow-Wower named Marie May states that she was arrested for fortune-telling after a complaint was made against her to the State Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (Bilardi, C. R).  Because of this, many occult shops across the state no longer offer fortune-telling such as tarot reading and such.  However I do know of a shop on a main Gettysburg street that advertises Tarot readings, so perhaps the law is becoming less effective.

Apparently the state of Pennsylvania used to also license hexenmeisters (sorcerers) in order to ensure they had an education.  This is referenced in The Red Church or the Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei which also references  another book I don’t have access to in order to find out more information on licensed hexenmeisters called “Hex and Spellwork: The Magical Practices of the Pennsylvania Dutch”



Law and the Church, #4

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List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your national laws.

The Code of Federal Regulations and the IRS.gov website list several laws concerning clergy on a national level.

1. § 404.1023. Ministers of churches and members of religious orders.

A minister is working in the exercise of the ministry when he or she is—

(i) Ministering sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship (other than as described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section); or

(ii) Working in the control, conduct, and maintenance of a religious organization (including an integral agency of a religious organization) under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination (Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1023.).

2. Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions . To qualify for tax-exempt status, such an organization must meet the following requirements (Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations):

– the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
– net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
– no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
– the organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and
– the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy

3.  *Under the Qualified Services section the pamphlet discusses the types of services that a minister could get paid for that would be reportable under the self employment regulations.

Qualified services, in general, are the services you perform in the exercise of your ministry or in the exercise of your duties as required by your religious order

4. Most services you perform as a minister, priest, rabbi, etc., are qualified services.

These services include:

  • Performing sacerdotal functions,
  • Conducting religious worship, and
  • Controlling, conducting, and maintaining religious organizations (including the religious boards, societies, and other integral agencies of such organizations) that are under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination.

5. Your services for a nonreligious organization are qualified services if the services are assigned or designated by your church.

6. If your services are not assigned or designated by your church, they are qualified services only if they involve performing sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship.

7. Writing religious books or articles is considered to be in the exercise of your ministry and is considered a qualified service.

8.  Services you perform as a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties
required by the order are qualified services. The services are qualified because you perform them as an agent of the order.

9. Clergy Visitation to Federal Bureau of Prisons

Minister of Record.  An inmate wanting to receive visits from his or her minister of record must submit a written request to the Chaplain.  Upon approval, unit staff will add the name and title (minister of record) to the inmate’s visitor list.

An inmate may only have one minister of record on his/her visiting list at a time.  The addition of the minister of record will not count against the total number of authorized regular visitors an inmate is allowed to have on his or her visiting list, and will not count against the total number of social visits allowed (Program Statement, Visiting Regulations).