List nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy that you have found by searching your nearest municipality laws. By municipality, we mean on the village or town level. If there are none, then tell us how you found that out.
City of Tigard Oregon
After researching the 17 titles in Tigard Oregon’s municipal laws I came up empty handed for any content pertaining to clergy (or religion at all for that matter). I emailed Carol Krager, the City Recorder for the City of Tigard Oregon, and she replied with: “The city does not have any clergy laws.”
If there is a body of laws between the municipality laws and the state/provincial laws where you life, list nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy, that you have found by searching this area.
I researched Washington County municipality laws and ordinances online and could not find any public records of laws concerning clergy in this area. I emailed the county administrative office and received message back from Michael Dahlstrom that “Washington County does not have any clergy, religious, or ministry specific laws. The county operates under all the state level laws.”
List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your state/provincial laws
The State of Oregon
ORS 40.260 Pertaining to the definition of Clergy:
(1) As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise:
(a) "Confidential communication" means a communication made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.
(b) "Member of the clergy" means a minister of any church, religious denomination or organization or accredited Christian Science practitioner who in the course of the discipline or practice of that church, denomination or organization is authorized or accustomed to hearing confidential communications and, under the discipline or tenets of that church, denomination or organization, has a duty to keep such communications secret.
(2) A member of the clergy [shall not, without the consent of the person making the communication,] may not be examined as to any confidential communication made to the member of the clergy in the member's professional character unless consent to the disclosure of the confidential communication is given by the person who made the communication.
(3) Even though the person who made the communication has given consent to the disclosure, a member of the clergy may not be examined as to any confidential communication made to the member in the member's professional character if, under the discipline or tenets of the member's church, denomination or organization, the member has an absolute duty to keep the communication confidential. (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 124.095 Spiritual treatment not abuse
An elderly person who in good faith is voluntarily under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for this reason alone, not be considered subjected to abuse by reason of neglect under ORS 124.050 (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 106.120 Who may solemnize marriage; fee; personal payment; records.
A “Secular organization” is defined as an organization that occupies a place in the lives of the organization’s members parallel to that filled by a church or particular religious authority. Religious congregations or organizations as indicated in ORS 106.150; A clergyperson of any religious congregation or organization who is authorized by the religious congregation or organization to solemnize marriages. (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 419B.005 Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse.
“Abuse” means: Any assault any physical injury to a child which has been caused by other than accidental means, including any injury which appears to be at variance with the explanation given of the injury. Any mental injury to a child, which shall include only observable and substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function caused by cruelty to the child, with due regard to the culture of the child. Rape of a child, which includes but is not limited to rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and incest. Sexual abuse. Sexual exploitation. Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including but not limited to the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care that is likely to endanger the health or welfare of the child. Threatened harm to a child, which means subjecting a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare. Buying or selling a person under 18 years of age. Permitting a person under 18 years of age to enter or remain in or upon premises where methamphetamines are being manufactured. Unlawful exposure to a controlled substance, or to the unlawful manufacturing of a cannabinoid extract, that subjects a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or safety. In the event of child abuse, members of clergy are mandatory reporters and must consult law enforcement. (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 430.735 Relating to reporting abuse of persons with developmental disabilities
Abuse of a person with developmental disabilities includes: any death caused by other than accidental or natural means. Any physical injury caused by other than accidental means, or that appears to be at variance with the explanation given of the injury. Willful infliction of physical pain or injury. Sexual harassment or exploitation, including but not limited to any sexual contact between an employee of a facility or community program and an adult. Neglect that leads to physical harm through withholding of services necessary to maintain health and well-being. In the case of abuse of a person with developmental disabilities members of clergy are mandatory reporters and must report to law enforcement. (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 675.090 Relating to psychologist licensure;
A person who is a recognized member of the clergy may provide counseling, teaching, research, consulting services etc., provided that the person is acting in the person’s ministerial capacity and does not use the title “psychologist.” (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 167.332 and Chapter 731. Relating to reporting of crimes involving animals;
The Legislative Assembly finds that: There is a clear link between animal cruelty and crimes of domestic violence, including child abuse; and It is in the public interest to enact legislation to encourage the permissive reporting of animal cruelty. Members of clergy are mandatory reporters to law enforcement agencies orally or in writing in all cases of animal abuse. The following information, if known, should be submitted
(a) The name and description of each animal involved;
(b) The address and telephone number of the owner or other person responsible for the care of the animal;
(c) The nature and extent of the suspected abuse;
(d) Any evidence of previous aggravated animal abuse;
(e) Any explanation given for the suspected abuse; and
(f) Any other information that the person making the report believes may be helpful in establishing the cause of the suspected abuse or the identity of the person causing the abuse. (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 137.221 Vacation of judgment of conviction for prostitution
A person may request vacation of a judgment of conviction for prostitution by filing a motion in the county of conviction. The motion must contain an explanation of facts supporting a claim that the person was the victim of sex trafficking at or around the time of the conduct giving rise to the prostitution conviction. The motion must further contain an explanation of why those facts were not presented to the trial court. The court shall consider any evidence the court deems of sufficient credibility and probative value in determining whether the person was a victim of sex trafficking. The evidence may include, A sworn statement from a trained professional staff member of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy or a medical or other professional, certifying that the person has sought assistance addressing trauma associated with being a sex trafficking victim. (“Oregon Laws”)
ORS 137.473 Means of inflicting death
(1) The punishment of death shall be inflicted by the intravenous administration of a lethal quantity of an ultra-short-acting barbiturate in combination with a chemical paralytic agent and potassium chloride or other equally effective substances sufficient to cause death. The superintendent of the institution shall be present at the execution and shall invite the presence of one or more physicians, physician assistants or nurse practitioners, the Attorney General, the sheriff of the county in which the judgment was rendered and representatives from the media. At the request of the defendant, the superintendent shall allow no more than two members of the clergy designated by the defendant to be present at the execution. (“Oregon Laws”)
List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your national laws
Most services you perform as a minister, priest, rabbi, etc., are ministerial services. These services include:
Services that aren't part of your ministry.
Income from services you perform as an employee that aren't ministerial services is subject to social security and Medicare tax withholding under FICA (not SECA) under the rules that apply to employees in general. The following aren't ministerial services.
Married Couple Missionary Team
If both spouses are duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers of a church and have an agreement that each will perform specific services for which they are paid jointly or separately, they must divide the self-employment income according to the agreement. If the agreement is with one spouse only and the other spouse isn't paid for any specific duties, amounts received for their services are included only in the self-employment income of the spouse having the agreement. (IRS “Publication 517”)
Net Income Subject to the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)
Churches and religious organizations, like other tax-exempt organizations, may engage in income-producing activities unrelated to their tax-exempt purposes, as long as the unrelated activities aren’t a substantial part of the organization’s activities. However, the net income from these activities will be subject to the UBIT if the following three conditions are met:
Exceptions to Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)
Even if an activity meets the criteria for UBIT, the income may not be subject to tax if it meets one of the following exceptions:
Examples of Unrelated Trade or Business Activities
Unrelated trade or business activities vary depending on types of activities including,
Many tax-exempt organizations sell advertising in their publications or other forms of public communication. Generally, income from the sale of advertising is unrelated trade or business income. This may include the sale of advertising space in weekly bulletins, magazines or journals, or on church or religious organization websites.
Sale of merchandise and publications
The sale of merchandise and publications (including the actual publication of materials) can be considered the conduct of an unrelated trade or business if the items involved do not have a substantial relationship to the exempt purposes of the organization. (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations”)
Tax on Income-Producing Activities
If a church, or other exempt organization, has gross income of $1,000 or more
for any taxable year from the conduct of any unrelated trade or business, it must
file IRS Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, for that year.
(IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations”)
A donor can’t claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of $250 or more unless the donor obtains a contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the recipient church or religious organization. A church or religious organization that doesn’t acknowledge a contribution incurs no penalty; but without a written acknowledgment, the donor can’t claim a tax deduction. The church or religious organization may either provide separate acknowledgments for each single contribution of $250 or more or one acknowledgment to substantiate several single contributions of $250 or more. Separate contributions aren’t aggregated for purposes of measuring the $250 threshold. (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations”)
Jeopardizing Tax-Exempt Status
All churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:
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 preform certain functions or receive similar rights as those from other regions?
For the most part, Oregon is friendly to Paganism and Neo-Pagan clergy as there are no major laws against their practice. They are clear that clergy members must be defined by their respective churches or religious organizations. However, there is one county in Oregon that is not friendly to practices that are common to Paganism.
In Yamhill County (OR), according to its municipal laws, it is illegal to practice "Occult arts".
Describing the use or practice of fortune telling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance, mesmerism, spiritualism, or any other practice or practices generally recognized to be unsound and unscientific. Violation is an unclassified misdemeanor.
This does not, however, prohibit or prevent a school, church, fraternal, charitable or other benevolent organization from utilizing occult arts for a bazaar or other money-raising project, provided that all money so received is devoted exclusively to the organization sponsoring the affair. In such case, the money so received shall be considered as a donation for benevolent and charitable purposes. (Yamhill municipal code: 5.08.110)
This law is in response to the distrust of “predatory”, small, for-profit occult practitioners/businesses profiting from consumers but would not prevent my use for our grove so long as the service revolves around requesting donations to support the grove.
Looking at the 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 necessary?
How do you see these laws affecting how you serve your Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole?
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?
Describe the mandatory reporting laws in your area and how they affect you as a clergy person. Explain the process you would go through to file a report if it were necessary.
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?
What are the regulations and options for prison ministry in your county and state?