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Falwell wins right to incorporate Virginia church. (Around the States).

A federal court in Virginia has ruled that a centuries-old state law forbidding church incorporation is unconstitutional.

In a lawsuit brought by TV preacher Jerry Falwell in November 2001, the evangelist's Thomas Road Baptist Church challenged a Virginia law passed in 1787 that prohibited corporate charters for religious institutions. The case, Falwell v. Miller, was filed by Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group that merged with Jerry Falwell Ministries two years ago.

On April 15, U.S. District Judge Norman Moon struck down the state law as unconstitutional and ordered the Virginia State Corporation Commission to grant Thomas Road a corporate charter.

In his ruling, Moon explained that the law punished churches by denying them "the benefits of incorporation because of their religious status."

By incorporating, Falwell's Lynchburg church will be able to expand the size of its property, gain legal protections and have the power to enter into contracts.
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Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U5VA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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