First Amendment

Pastor Had Right to Reveal Affair


A pastor had a First Amendment right to disclose a parishioner’s affair to church members, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled.

The court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Peggy Lee Penley, who argued the pastor had a duty to keep the affair a secret since he learned it in a private counseling session, report the Austin American-Statesman and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The suit claimed that the Rev. C.L. “Buddy” Westbrook, pastor of CrossLand Community Bible Church in Fort Worth, revealed the relationship in a letter to church members that urged them to shun Penley for her actions.

“Churches have a fundamental right to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine,” Justice Harriet O’Neill wrote in her opinion for the court.

A hat tip to How Appealing, which posted the stories.

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