On 4-28-16 I called the City Of Lawrence Clerk’s office at 785-832-3400 and was told there are no laws as pertain to clergy at the City or County levels.
On 4-28-16 I contacted the office of Kansas State Office of Revisor of Statutes (http://www.ksrevisor.org) I found 7 laws as pertain to clergy at the state level. I did find out that in the state of Kansas, a member of clergy is a mandatory reporter of abuse or neglect. This surprised me, since I thought all clergy were mandatory reporters in every state of the union.
“Same; religious organizations. Nothing in this act shall be construed to allow a court to: (a) Adjudicate or prohibit any religious organization from deciding upon ecclesiastical matters of a religious organization, including, but not limited to, the selection, appointment, calling, discipline, dismissal, removal or excommunication of a member, member of the clergy, or other person who performs ministerial functions; or (b) determine or interpret the doctrine of a religious organization, including, but not limited to, where adjudication by a court would violate the prohibitions of the religion clauses of the first amendment to the constitution of the United States, or violate the constitution of the state of Kansas.”
History: L. 2012, ch. 136, § 7; July 1.
What does this mean? It means that religious organizations have the right to call or dismiss clergy as they see fit. The religious organization is also allowed to decide what it’s own doctrines will be.
“Construction of act. Nothing in the addictions counselor licensure act shall be construed:
(a) To prevent addiction counseling practice by students or interns or individuals preparing for the practice of addiction counseling to practice under qualified supervision of a professional, recognized and approved by the board, in an educational institution or agency so long as they are designated by titles such as "student," "trainee," "intern" or other titles clearly indicating training status;
(b) to authorize the practice of psychology, medicine and surgery, professional counseling, marriage and family therapy, master's level psychology or social work or other professions licensed by the behavioral sciences regulatory board;
(c) to apply to the activities and services of a rabbi, priest, minister, clergy person or organized ministry of any religious denomination or sect, including a Christian-Science practitioner, unless such person or individual who is a part of the organized ministry is a licensed addiction counselor;
(d) to apply to the activities and services of qualified members of other professional groups including, but not limited to, attorneys, physicians, psychologists, master's level psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, or other professions licensed by the behavioral sciences regulatory board, registered nurses or social workers performing services consistent with the laws of this state, their training and the code of ethics of their profession, so long as they do not represent themselves as being an addiction counselor; or
(e) to prevent qualified persons from doing work within the standards and ethics of their respective professions and callings provided they do not hold themselves out to the public by any title or description of services as being an addiction counselor.”
History: L. 2010, ch. 45; § 10; L. 2011, ch. 114, § 16; July 1.
A. What does this mean? This means that as a clergy person I am allowed to preform counseling as long as I make it clear that I am not a licensed addiction counselor and that I don’t try counsel outside of the abilities of my training.
“Construction of act. Nothing in the master's level psychology statutes shall be construed to apply to the activities and services of qualified members of other professional groups including, but not limited to, attorneys, physicians, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, registered nurses, social workers, rabbis, priests, ministers, or clergy persons, including Christian Science practitioners, performing services consistent with the laws of this state, their training, and the code of ethics of their profession, so long as they do not represent themselves as being a master's level psychologist.”
History: L. 1996, ch. 153, § 41; July 1.
What does this mean? As long as I make it clear that I am not a master's level psychologist I can still do pastoral counseling.
“Witnesses of executions. [(a)] In addition to the secretary of corrections or the warden designated by the secretary, the executioner and persons designated pursuant to K.S.A. 22-4001, and amendments thereto, to assist in the execution, the following persons, and no others, may be present at the execution: (1) A member of the clergy attending the prisoner; (2) not more than three persons designated by the prisoner; and (3) not more than 10 persons designated by the secretary of corrections as official witnesses. The secretary shall consider the inclusion of members of the immediate family of any deceased victim of the prisoner as witnesses when designating official witnesses. The identity of persons present at the execution, other than the secretary or the warden designated by the secretary, shall be confidential. A witness may elect to reveal such witness' own identity, but in no event shall a witness reveal the identity of any other person present at the execution.
(b) All witnesses shall be 18 years of age or older.
(c) The secretary may deny the attendance of any person selected or designated as a witness when the secretary determines it is necessary for reasons of security and order of the institution.
(d) As used in this section, "members of the immediate family" means the spouse, a child by birth or adoption, stepchild, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or the spouse of any member of the immediate family specified in this subsection.”
History: L. 1970, ch. 129, § 22-4003; L. 1994, ch. 252, § 13; L. 1999, ch. 164, § 22; July 1.
What does this mean? It means that if requested by the person being executed, and as their acting member of clergy; I may attend the execution of a prisoner.
Disqualification for benefits; examination by secretary; substance abuse program, approval of; job skills program, approval.
The relevant passage as clergy: “...(v) the individual's reasonable belief that termination of employment is necessary to avoid other situations which may cause domestic violence and to provide for the future safety of the individual or the individual's family.
(B) An individual may prove the existence of domestic violence by providing one of the following:
A restraining order or other documentation of equitable relief by a court of competent jurisdiction; (ii) a police record documenting the abuse; (iii) documentation that the abuser has been convicted of one or more of the offenses enumerated in articles 34 and 35 of chapter 21 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, prior to their repeal, or articles 54 or 55 of chapter 21 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, or K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6104, 21-6325, 21-6326 or 21-6418 through 21-6421, and amendments thereto, where the victim was a family or household member; (iv) medical documentation of the abuse; (v) a statement provided by a counselor, social worker, health care provider, clergy, shelter worker, legal advocate, domestic violence or sexual assault advocate or other professional who has assisted the individual in dealing with the effects of abuse on the individual or the individual's family; or (vi) a sworn statement from the individual attesting to the abuse.
What does this mean? That as clergy, I can give a statement that a person was forced to leave a job because of fear of abuse as they apply for State assistance and un-employment benefits.
Definitions. As used in K.S.A. 65-6701 through 65-6721, and amendments thereto:
"Counselor" means a person who is: (1) Licensed to practice medicine and surgery; (2) licensed to practice professional or practical nursing; (3) the following persons licensed to practice behavioral sciences: Licensed psychologists, licensed master's level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, licensed social workers, licensed specialist clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical professional counselors; (4) a licensed physician assistant; or (5) a currently ordained member of the clergy or religious authority of any religious denomination or society. Counselor does not include the physician who performs or induces the abortion or a physician or other person who assists in performing or inducing the abortion.”
A. What does this mean? It means that I can provide abortion counseling to members of my church or Grove as a necessary step in getting an abortion in this state.
“ Community-based teenage pregnancy reduction program; behavioral and educational objectives; grants, proposals and requirements, competitive awards and administration; duties of secretary; receipt of federal and other grants; rules and regulations.”
Relevant section for clergy, “(c) The secretary of health and environment shall adopt grant requirements in accordance with this section. Proposals for grants under this program shall include provisions for: (1) A community advisory group which shall include parents, school personnel, members of minority population groups, members of the clergy, religious laypersons, public health agency personnel, members of civic groups, public officials, members of health care provider professional groups, representatives of news media agencies and teenagers trained as peer educators;
What does this mean? It means that as clergy I can serve as part of the advisory committee that decides grants for sex-ed in the state.
In the Third Circuit of the United States Court of appeals, it was decided in 1990 that martial counseling done by clergy of any religion is protected by confidentiality laws as long as they meet 3 criteria. (http://federalevidence.com/pdf/2010/07-July/In_re_Grand_Jury_Investig.pdf ). The relevant section is thus stated, “Communications are made (1) to a clergy person (2) in his or her spiritual and professional capacity (3) with reasonable expectation of confidentiality. As is the case with the attorney-client privilege, the presence of third parties, if essential to and in furtherance of the communication, should not void the privilege. This statement of the contours of the privilege is consistent with the provisions of Rule 506, which, as our study in federal case law confirms, tracks the evolving common law. In addition, we note our agreement with the tenor of the Advisory Committee’s Note to propose Rule 506, which extends the scope of the privilege to encompass not only communications between Roman Catholic priests and their penitents, but also communications between clergy and communicants of other denominations” (918 F.2d at 384-85).
A. What does this mean? It means that communication in a counseling setting are just as private and the confidentiality laws apply as long as it is clear that I am actin as a professional member of clergy and spiritual leader.
2. HIPAA laws also affect clergy, especially those serving as chaplains. According to http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/357/are-hospitals-able-to-inform-the-clergy-about-parishioners-in-the-hospital/index.html, clergy are allowed to keep records of who is in a hospital that apply to their faith group, provided the patient has connected to give such information. “The Privacy Rule provides that a hospital or other covered health care provider may maintain in a directory the following information about that individual: the individual’s name; location in the facility; health condition expressed in general terms; and religious affiliation.”
What this means is that I as a clergy member may get information on patients, including diagnosis in general terms as means to be able to help council them, if they so desire.
3. The right of churches to decided their doctrines came out of a property dispute between two factions of one church body. In Watson v. Jones (1871) the supreme court declared that the law and court systems were not allowed top decided correctness or matters of doctrine for any religion. This means that the courts can not say what is right belief as concerns an individuals religion. (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/80/679/case.html)
This means I am free to explore the doctrines of my faith without a court telling me I am holding a wrong belief on what it means to be a druid. The courts can not say if a religious theology is correct or not. This law was once again reinforced under the court case of Presbyterian Church in the United States v. Mary Elizabeth Blue Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1969.
4. The Court case of Gonzalez v. Archbishop of Manila ruled on 280 U.S. 1 in 1929; and stated that the courts do not have the authority to determine who is qualified to be clergy or a priest. “Pursuant to the will of its foundress, a perpetual collative chaplaincy was established in 1820. Such a chaplaincy is subject to ecclesiastical control, and intervention by the proper spiritual authority to appoint and ordain the chaplain is essential. The ecclesiastical law also prescribes the qualifications of the chaplain. Held, in accordance with the implied intention of the parties, that the Canon Law in force at the time of the presentation of an applicant for appointment, rather than that in force in 1820, governs his fitness, and he cannot complain of an amendment adopted at a time when he was ineligible under either law and was enjoying no right of which the amendment deprived him. (P. 280 U. S. 17).
What this means is that the church is allowed to decide who qualifies as priest as described in canon law, and not by civil law. A religion can design its own requirements for clergy and the courts must accept them.
5. 42 USC 14043e-4 (http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=clergy&f=treesort&fq=true&num=6&hl=true&edition=prelim&granuleId=USC-prelim-title42-section14043e-4), states, “Certification(1) In general: A public housing agency, tribally designated housing entity, or assisted housing provider receiving funds under this section may request that an individual claiming relief under this section certify that the individual is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The individual shall provide a copy of such certification to the public housing agency, tribally designated housing entity, or assisted housing provider within a reasonable period of time after the agency or authority requests such certification.
(2) Contents: An individual may satisfy the certification requirement of paragraph (1) by-
(A) providing the public housing agency, tribally designated housing entity, or assisted housing provider with documentation, signed by an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider, an attorney, a member of the clergy, a medical professional, or any other professional from whom the victim has sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or the effects of abuse; or (B) producing a Federal, State, tribal, territorial, or local police or court record.
What this means is that as clergy, I would be able to testify for the provision of a domestic abuse victim to receive funds for housing from a federal grant.
6. According to the IRS page (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf), “All IRC Section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules: their net earnings may not inure to any private shareholder or individual; they must not provide a substantial benefit to private interests; they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation; they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office; and the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”
What does this mean? If a church engages in these activities, including the clergy member acting in these matters in an official capacity; then the church will loose its tax exempt status.
7.According to the IRS page (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf) ,”Minister. The term minister is not used by all faiths; however, as used in this booklet, the term minister denotes members of clergy of all religions and denominations and includes priests, rabbis, imams and similar members of the clergy.”
This means that as a priest in ADF, I would fall under the IRS guidelines and laws.
8. According to the IRS page (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf), “Social Security and Medicare Taxes — Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) vs. Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA):
The compensation that a church or religious organization pays to its ministers
for performing services in the exercise of ministry is not subject to FICA taxes.
However, income that a minister earns in performing services in the exercise of
his ministry is subject to SECA tax, unless the minister has timely applied for and
received an exemption from SECA tax. “
This means that ministry actions that minister gets compensation for (such as marriages, funeral, etc), are not eligible to have FICA taxes removed, but do fall under SECA taxes.
9. According to 50 USC 3806: Deferments and exemptions from training and service, “(g) Ministers of religion and students preparing for ministry
(1) Regular or duly ordained ministers of religion, as defined in this chapter, shall be exempt from training and service, but not from registration, under this chapter.
(2) Students preparing for the ministry under the direction of recognized churches or religious organizations, who are satisfactorily pursuing full-time courses of instruction in recognized theological or divinity schools, or who are satisfactorily pursuing full-time courses of instruction leading to their entrance into recognized theological or divinity schools in which they have been preenrolled, shall be deferred from training and service, but not from registration, under this chapter. Persons who are or may be deferred under the provisions of this subsection shall remain liable for training and service in the Armed Forces under the provisions of section 3803(a) of this title until the thirty-fifth anniversary of the date of their birth. The foregoing sentence shall not be construed to prevent the exemption or continued deferment of such persons if otherwise exempted or deferrable under any other provision of this Act.”
This means that a member of clergy is exempt from training and service in the armed forces, but not from registration for the draft.
Laws of my nation, state, and local area as concern paganism
Thankfully there are no laws specific to paganism in my nation, state or local areas. I even tried looking up laws as pertain to astrology or other divination practices and there are none on any of those levels that I could locate. As far as the state of Kansas is currently concerned a priest, is a priest, is a priest; and does not recriminate between religions.
Looking at those 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 as necessary?
I would like to see clergy as mandated reporters of abuse in Kansas. I feel it is our place to care for all who we come in contact. I know there is some sticky aspects as concerns confidentiality, but I feel there has already been ground work in other states and on the national level for where confidentiality should be the higher concern.
How do you see these laws affecting how you serve your Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole?
I don’t see these laws affecting how I would serve the community on a day to day basis. Most of the laws allow for the freedom to do what needs doing as concerns to leading rituals, providing pastoral counseling, and the day to day work of serving the folk and the kindred. The political aspects of the tax laws are the most binding parts in my opinion, but they hardly affect what the work should really be about.
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?
According to Philip Culbertson in his text book on pastoral counseling called, “Caring for God’s People,” pastoral counseling is defined as something that is short term in nature. It is meant to deal with a well defined issue within an agreed upon timeline. It is somewhat limited in how deep it can go, and the counselor must be willing to refer he client to a licensed therapist if the problem falls out of the scope of the timeline agreed or the depth of the pastor’s training. I would agree that divination does fall under the aegis of pastoral counseling. It allows a client to explore through a spiritual practice an issue that is very import to them in a limited timeframe.
State law 65-6616 allows me to preform pastoral concealing provided I make it clear what my credentials are, and that I do not hold a Master’s level degree in psychology or am a licensed clinical social worker.
Describe the mandatory reporting laws in your area and how they affect you as a clergyperson. Explain the process you would go through to file a report if it were necessary.
The state of Kansas has a guide on how to report abuse or neglect found at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Documents/GuidetoReportingAbuseandNeglect.pdf. DFC asks that the minimum amount of questions be asked to get the information needed to make a report. The reason for this is so that the case when not be influenced by leading questions. The guide stresses that it is import to tell a child that has been abused that you are going to talk to someone who can help the child so as not to make the child feel threatened or scared because they told someone about the abuse. “The report may be made orally and followed by a written report if requested by the State of Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) or law enforcement agencies… Both mandated reporters and concerned citizens should attempt to include the following information:
• The name and address of the child, the child’s parents, or other individuals responsible for the child’s care
• The child’s location
• The child’s condition, including the nature and extent of the child’s injury
• Whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child
• Any other information that the reporter believes might be helpful in showing the cause of the injuries or the extent
to which the child might be in danger.
Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect should be made to the Kansas Protection Report Center or if the child has serious injuries or is in immediate danger to the appropriate law enforcement agency. (On the next day that DCF is open for business, the law enforcement agency will report to DCF any report received and any investigation initiated.) Reports of abuse and neglect in an DCF institution (such as State hospitals) should be made to DCF or the Attorney General’s office at (785) 296-7968. Reports of DCF employees as alleged perpetrators should be made to local law enforcement agencies. Kansas law requires that these types of cases not be investigated by DCF. A reporter should call the statewide number 1-800-922-5330. The Kansas Protection Report Center can be called 24-hours a day, seven days a week and may be reached from any location. Reports are referred to the appropriate local office to be investigated. If the DCF office is closed, Kansas Protection Report Center staff immediately refer emergency to local law enforcement agencies.(p.14)” Telephone: 1-800-922-5330
• Fax: Sent to KSPRC (Kansas Protection Report
• Email: KSPRC@dcf.ks.gov
• Mail: Kansas Protection Report Center
Docking State Office Building
915 SW Harrison, 5th floor
Topeka, KS 66612
• On-Line Web Intake: The Kansas Protection Report Center
(KPRC) has an option for mandated reporters to report concerns
of child and adult abuse or neglect online.
Mandated reporters may access the on-line report at: http://www.
Clergy in the state of Kansas are not mandatory reporters.
Culbertson, Philip Leroy. Caring for God's People: Counseling and Christian Wholeness. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2000. Print.
"42 USC 14043e-4: Grants to Combat Violence against Women in Public and Assisted Housing." 42 USC 14043e-4: Grants to Combat Violence against Women in Public and Assisted Housing. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.
"Https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf." N.p., n.d. Web.
"Http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/357/are-hospitals-able-to-inform-the-clergy-about-parishioners-in-the-hospital/index.html." Hhs.gov. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Kansas Office of Revisor of Statutes." Kansas Office of Revisor of Statutes. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.
"Watson v. Jones 80 U.S. 679 (1871)." Justia Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.