In Texas, it seems, churches have a license to kidnap, and the state says they can't be forced to pay for it.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colleyville church Friday saying that church members involved in a traumatic exorcism that ultimately injured a young woman are protected by the First Amendment.How serious were the injuries that the teenager--because the plaintiff here was 17 years old when this happened--sustained? Bruises and carpet burns, as well as hallucinations and a desire to self-mutilate and attempt suicide that eventually sent her to a psychiatrist. But the church? Their "religious beliefs" trump her rights as an individual.
But the church raised the question of whether the Fort Worth appeals court erred when it said Pleasant Glades’ First Amendment rights regarding freedom of religion do not prevent the church from being held liable for mental distress triggered by a "hyper-spiritualistic environment."A little hint--if your core principles of your religious beliefs involve holding down a person and slapping the demons out of them, then you need to re-examine your beliefs. The First Amendment ought not be a curtain behind which a church can cause harm to an individual without consequence. I think it's a good thing that there be a separation between church and state, but that separation is not absolute--the state is there to provide protection for everyone, believer and non-believer, and is situations like this one, where believers violate the personal integrity of another person, they should be forced to pay damages.
A majority of the court agreed, with Justice David Medina writing that while Schubert’s secular injury claims might "theoretically be tried without mentioning religion, the imposition of tort liability for engaging in religious activity to which the church members adhere would have an unconstitutional 'chilling effect’ by compelling the church to abandon core principles of its religious beliefs.