Religious Organizations and the Law (“the Treatise”)

The treatise Religious Organizations and the Law  (Second Edition 2017) is a comprehensive work originated by William W. Bassett, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, has been updated annually since 1997 and in 2012 expanded to 4000 pages in four volumes. The greatly expanded 2nd edition — 19 sections increasing to 37 — was completed in 2016 and appeared in early 2017. The work has proceeded under the supervision of Robert T. Smith and W. Cole Durham, Jr.,  Former Managing Director and Founding Director of the  International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, employing the research assistance of students and staff at the Center, at the as well as an outstanding interdenominational advisory board of legal professionals, including most recently and in particular Mark Goldfeder and M. Christian (Christy) Green at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion.

The work contains a comprehensive analysis of the laws, decisions, statutes, ordinances, and regulations affecting the operation of religious entities and practical advice on entering and terminating transactions with churches. See the work’s 81-page Table of Contents here. The Treatise appears in its entirety on Westlaw.

Sections of the work discuss the following:

  1. Introduction to Religious Organizations and the Law
  2. Historical Antecedents of Religious Freedom and Church-State Relations
  3. The Free Exercise Clause
  4. The Establishment Clause
  5. The Church Autonomy Doctrine and the Independence of Religious Organizations
  6. Individual Autonomy and Freedom of Conscience
  7. Religion and the Constitution: The Search for Underlying Principles
  8. Legal Entities and Religious Polity
  9. Legal Organization Choices of Religious Organizations
  10. Formation of Religious Entities
  11. Duties of Directors, Officers, and Trustees of Religious Organizations
  12. Reorganizations of Religious Organizations: Mergers, Divisions, Dissolutions, Asset Sales, Liquidations, and Conversions
  13. Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Fraudulent Transfers Involving Religious Organizations
  14. Employment Laws and Regulations Applicable to Religious Organizations
  15. Employment Discrimination Protections for Religious Employers
  16. Accommodations for Religious Employees
  17. Risk Management and Insurance for Religious Organizations
  18. Religious Organizations in Court: General Considerations, Liability, Procedures, and Damages
  19. Defenses and Immunities to Liability Claims Affecting Religious Organizations
  20. Disclosure Duties and Privileges of Religious Organizations
  21. Sexual Abuse and Religious Organizations
  22. Liability Claims Affecting Religious Organizations
  23. Religious Considerations in Marriage and Family Law
  24. Religion and Public Education
  25. Government Influence on Private Religious Education
  26. Religiously Sponsored Social Services
  27. Religiously Sponsored Health Care Services
  28. Immigration and Religious Organizations
  29. Religious Land Use and Property
  30. Intellectual Property of Religious Organizations
  31. Financing Religious Organizations: Voluntary Contributions, Fundraising and Government Regulation
  32. Income Tax Exemptions for Religious Organizations
  33. Property, Sales, and Use Tax Exemptions for Religious Organizations
  34. Special Tax Rules for Ministers
  35. Religion in Penal and Mental Institutions
  36. Religion and Military Chaplaincy
  37. Religious Organizations and International Activities
    § 37:20. Appendix: Comparative constitutional provisions on religion and religious freedom around the world

Appendix A. The Equal Access Act of 1984
Appendix B. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
Appendix C. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1994
Appendix D. The Religious Liberty and Charitable Donation Act of 1998
Appendix E. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000
Appendix F. The Churches In America—A Legal Directory
Appendix G. Internal Revenue Service Regulations on Public Disclosure of Filing and Returns for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Chapter contents are cross-indexed to speed research, and the work provides extensive references to additional materials, directories of organizations of all denominations, and extensive tables of statutes and cases.