Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Law and the Church


1.  Municipality Laws
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.

According to my research, there are no current laws or regulations regarding clergy in my city, which is Omaha, Nebraska.  I began by doing online research, read through the Omaha Municipal Code Charter, and contacted the city clerk’s office by phone (402-444-5550) to verify that there was not information that I was missing on May 5, 2014.  I was referred to several different departments, but eventually learned that the city does not have any specific laws and instead follows the state laws.

2.  County Laws
If there is a body of laws between the municipality laws and the state/provincial laws where you live, list nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy, that you have found by searching this area.

I was also unsuccessful in locating any county laws for my county, which is Douglas County in Nebraska.  I followed a similar train of research, involving online studies, and contacting the Douglas County Clerk’s Office by phone (402-444-6767) where I was again passed around to several different departments before being told that all laws for the county follow any state laws that are currently in place.


3.  State Laws
List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your state/provincial laws.

I searched the Nebraska Legislature’s website (nebraskalegislature.gov) in order to find the following statues regarding clergy in Nebraska.  I have underlined the name of the statue and designated the clergy-relevant part in bold.

Law 1:  42-108. Marriage ceremony; who may perform; return; contents. 

Every judge, retired judge, clerk magistrate, or retired clerk magistrate, and every preacher of the gospel authorized by the usages of the church to which he or she belongs to solemnize marriages, may perform the marriage ceremony in this state. Every such person performing the marriage ceremony shall make a return of his or her proceedings in the premises, showing the names and residences of at least two witnesses who were present at such marriage. The return shall be made to the county clerk who issued the license within fifteen days after such marriage has been performed. The county clerk shall record the return or cause it to be recorded in the same book where the marriage license is recorded.

Law 2:  42-109. Ceremony; requirements.

In the solemnization of marriage no particular form shall be required, except that the parties shall solemnly declare in the presence of the magistrate or minister and the attending witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife; and in any case there shall be at least two witnesses, besides the minister or magistrate present at the ceremony.

Law 3:  42-113. Violations; penalty.

If any justice, minister, or other person whose duty it is to make and transmit to the county clerk such certificate shall neglect to make and deliver the same; if the county clerk shall neglect to record such certificate; if any person shall undertake to join others in marriage, knowing that he or she is not legally authorized so to do or knowing of any legal impediment to the proposed marriage; if any person authorized to solemnize any marriage shall willfully and knowingly make a false certificate of any marriage to the county clerk; or if the county clerk shall willfully and knowingly make a false record of any certificate of marriage, he or she shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

Law 4:  27-506.  Communications to clergyman; definitions; general rule of privilege; who may claim privilege.

(1) As used in this rule:

(a) A clergyman is a minister, priest, rabbi, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting him; and

(b) A communication is confidential if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.

(2) A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a clergyman in his professional character as spiritual advisor.

(3) The privilege may be claimed by the person, by his guardian or conservator, or by his personal representative if he is deceased. The clergyman may claim the privilege on behalf of the person. His authority so to do is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary.


Law 5:  28-372. Report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; required; contents; notification; toll-free number established.

(1) When any physician, psychologist, physician assistant, nurse, nursing assistant, other medical, developmental disability, or mental health professional, law enforcement personnel, caregiver or employee of a caregiver, operator or employee of a sheltered workshop, owner, operator, or employee of any facility licensed by the department, or human services professional or paraprofessional not including a member of the clergy has reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or exploitation or observes such adult being subjected to conditions or circumstances which reasonably would result in abuse, neglect, or exploitation, he or she shall report the incident or cause a report to be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency or to the department. Any other person may report abuse, neglect, or exploitation if such person has reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or exploitation or observes such adult being subjected to conditions or circumstances which reasonably would result in abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

(2) Such report may be made by telephone, with the caller giving his or her name and address, and, if requested by the department, shall be followed by a written report within forty-eight hours. To the extent available the report shall contain: (a) The name, address, and age of the vulnerable adult; (b) the address of the caregiver or caregivers of the vulnerable adult; (c) the nature and extent of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation or the conditions and circumstances which would reasonably be expected to result in such abuse, neglect, or exploitation; (d) any evidence of previous abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation; and (e) any other information which in the opinion of the person making the report may be helpful in establishing the cause of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation and the identity of the perpetrator or perpetrators.

(3) Any law enforcement agency receiving a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall notify the department no later than the next working day by telephone or mail.

(4) A report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation made to the department which was not previously made to or by a law enforcement agency shall be communicated to the appropriate law enforcement agency by the department no later than the next working day by telephone or mail.

(5) The department shall establish a statewide toll-free number to be used by any person any hour of the day or night and any day of the week to make reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Law 6:  83-186. Visitors of facilities; enumerated.

(1) The following persons shall be allowed to visit any facility in the Department of Correctional Services at any time:

(a) Members of the Legislature;

(b) Members of the judiciary;

(c) Members of the Board of Pardons;

(d) Members of the Board of Parole; and

(e) Members of the clergy, subject to the approval of the Director of Correctional Services.

(2) The chief executive officer of a facility may permit any other person to visit the facility.

Law 7:  38-2121. License; required; exceptions.

The requirement to be licensed as a mental health practitioner pursuant to the Uniform Credentialing Act in order to engage in mental health practice shall not be construed to prevent:

(1) Qualified members of other professions who are licensed, certified, or registered by this state from practice of any mental health activity consistent with the scope of practice of their respective professions;

(2) Alcohol and drug counselors who are licensed by the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Human Services and problem gambling counselors who are certified by the Department of Health and Human Services prior to July 1, 2013, or by the Nebraska Commission on Problem Gambling beginning on July 1, 2013, from practicing their profession. Such exclusion shall include students training and working under the supervision of an individual qualified under section 38-315;

(3) Any person employed by an agency, bureau, or division of the federal government from discharging his or her official duties, except that if such person engages in mental health practice in this state outside the scope of such official duty or represents himself or herself as a licensed mental health practitioner, he or she shall be licensed;

(4) Teaching or the conduct of research related to mental health services or consultation with organizations or institutions if such teaching, research, or consultation does not involve the delivery or supervision of mental health services to individuals or groups of individuals who are themselves, rather than a third party, the intended beneficiaries of such services;

(5) The delivery of mental health services by:

(a) Students, interns, or residents whose activities constitute a part of the course of study for medicine, psychology, nursing, school psychology, social work, clinical social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, or other health care or mental health service professions; or

(b) Individuals seeking to fulfill postgraduate requirements for licensure when those individuals are supervised by a licensed professional consistent with the applicable regulations of the appropriate professional board;

(6) Duly recognized members of the clergy from providing mental health services in the course of their ministerial duties and consistent with the codes of ethics of their profession if they do not represent themselves to be mental health practitioners;

(7) The incidental exchange of advice or support by persons who do not represent themselves as engaging in mental health practice, including participation in self-help groups when the leaders of such groups receive no compensation for their participation and do not represent themselves as mental health practitioners or their services as mental health practice;

(8) Any person providing emergency crisis intervention or referral services or limited services supporting a service plan developed by and delivered under the supervision of a licensed mental health practitioner, licensed physician, or a psychologist licensed to engage in the practice of psychology if such persons are not represented as being licensed mental health practitioners or their services are not represented as mental health practice; or

(9) Staff employed in a program designated by an agency of state government to provide rehabilitation and support services to individuals with mental illness from completing a rehabilitation assessment or preparing, implementing, and evaluating an individual rehabilitation plan.



Law 8:   83-970. Execution; persons permitted.

Besides the Director of Correctional Services and those persons required to be present under the execution protocol, the following persons, and no others, except as provided in section 83-971, may be present at the execution: (1) The member of the clergy in attendance upon the convicted person; (2) no more than three persons selected by the convicted person; (3) no more than three persons representing the victim or victims of the crime; and (4) such other persons, not exceeding six in number, as the director may designate. At least two persons designated by the director shall be professional members of the Nebraska news media.

Law 9:  38-312. License required; exceptions.

No person shall engage in alcohol and drug cing or hold himself or herself out as an alcohol and drug counselor unless he or she is licensed for such purpose pursuant to the Uniform Credentialing Act, except that this section shall not be construed to prevent:

(1) Qualified members of other professions who are credentialed by this state from practice of any alcohol and drug counseling consistent with the scope of practice of their respective professions;

(2) Teaching or the conduct of research related to alcohol and drug counseling with organizations or institutions if such teaching, research, or consultation does not involve the delivery or supervision of alcohol and drug counseling to individuals or groups of individuals who are themselves, rather than a third party, the intended beneficiaries of such services;

(3) The delivery of alcohol and drug counseling by:

(a) Students, interns, or residents whose activities constitute a part of the course of study for medicine, psychology, nursing, school psychology, social work, clinical social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, alcohol and drug counseling, compulsive gambling counseling, or other health care or mental health service professions; or

(b) Individuals seeking to fulfill postgraduate requirements for licensure when those individuals are supervised by a licensed professional consistent with the applicable regulations of the appropriate professional board;

(4) Duly recognized members of the clergy from providing alcohol and drug counseling in the course of their ministerial duties and consistent with the codes of ethics of their profession if they do not represent themselves to be alcohol and drug counselors;

(5) The incidental exchange of advice or support by persons who do not represent themselves as engaging in alcohol and drug counseling, including participation in self-help groups when the leaders of such groups receive no compensation for their participation and do not represent themselves as alcohol and drug counselors or their services as alcohol and drug counseling;

(6) Any person providing emergency crisis intervention or referral services; or

(7) Staff employed in a program designated by an agency of state government to provide rehabilitation and support services to individuals with alcohol or drug disorders from completing a rehabilitation assessment or preparing, implementing, and evaluating an individual rehabilitation plan.

4.  National Laws
List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your national laws.
I searched the U.S. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations website (http://www.ecfr.gov/) in order to find the following statues regarding clergy in the United States.  I have underlined the name of the statue and designated the clergy-relevant part in bold.

Law 1.  551.16   Marriage ceremony in the institution.


(a) The Warden may approve the use of institution facilities for an inmate's marriage ceremony. If a marriage ceremony poses a threat to the security or good order of the institution, the Warden may disapprove a marriage ceremony in the institution. The Warden may not delegate the authority to approve or to disapprove a marriage ceremony in the institution below the level of Acting Warden.
(b) Expenses for a marriage ceremony in the institution shall be paid by the inmate, the inmate's intended spouse, the inmate's family, or other appropriate source approved by the Warden. The Warden may not permit appropriated funds to be used for the marriage ceremony, except for those inherent in providing the place and supervision for the event. Upon request of the inmate, Bureau of Prisons or community clergy, or a justice of the peace may be authorized to assist in a marriage ceremony at the institution.
(1) The marriage ceremony may be performed by Bureau of Prisons or community clergy, or by a justice of the peace.
(2) Because of ecclesiastical constraints, Bureau of Prisons chaplains may decline to perform the marriage ceremony. Upon request of the inmate, a Bureau chaplain will assist that inmate in preparing for an approved marriage; for example, by providing, or arranging for an inmate to receive, pre-nuptial marriage counseling.
(c) The Warden shall require that a marriage ceremony at the institution be a private ceremony conducted without media publicity.

Law 2.  540.45   Qualification as special visitor.

Persons in the categories listed in this section may qualify as special visitors rather than as regular visitors. Visits by special visitors ordinarily are for a specific purpose and ordinarily are not of a recurring nature. Except as specified, the conditions of visiting for special visitors are the same as for regular visitors.
(a) Business visitor. Except for pretrial inmates, an inmate is not permitted to engage actively in a business or profession. An inmate who was engaged in a business or profession prior to commitment is expected to assign authority for the operation of such business or profession to a person in the community. Pretrial inmates may be allowed special visitors for the purpose of protecting the pretrial inmate's business interests. In those instances where an inmate has turned over the operation of a business or profession to another person, there still may be an occasion where a decision must be made which will substantially affect the assets or prospects of the business. The Warden accordingly may permit a special business visit in such cases. The Warden may waive the requirement for the existence of an established relationship prior to confinement for visitors approved under this paragraph.
(b) Consular visitors. When it has been determined that an inmate is a citizen of a foreign country, the Warden must permit the consular representative of that country to visit on matters of legitimate business. The Warden may not withhold this privilege even though the inmate is in disciplinary status. The requirement for the existence of an established relationship prior to confinement does not apply to consular visitors.
(c) Representatives of community groups. The Warden may approve visits on a recurring basis to representatives from community groups (for example, civic, volunteer, or religious organizations) who are acting in their official capacity. These visits may be for the purpose of meeting with an individual inmate or with a group of inmates. The requirement for the existence of an established relationship prior to confinement for visitors does not apply to representatives of community groups.
(d) Clergy, former or prospective employers, sponsors, and parole advisors. Visitors in this category ordinarily provide assistance in release planning, counseling, and discussion of family problems. The requirement for the existence of an established relationship prior to confinement for visitors does not apply to visitors in this category.


Law 3.  1645.7   Evaluation of claim


NOTE:  This entire statue is regarding clergy, so relevant parts will not be marked in bold font.

(a) In evaluating a claim for classification in Class 4-D, the board will not consider:

(1) The training or abilities of the registrant for duty as a minister; or

(2) The motive or sincerity of the registrant in serving as a minister.

(b) The board should be careful to ascertain the actual duties and functions of registrants seeking classification in Class 4-D, such classification being appropriate only for leaders of the various religious groups, not granted to members of such groups generally.

(c) Preaching and teaching the principles of one's sect, if performed part-time or half-time, occasionally or irregularly, are insufficient to establish eligiblity for Class 4-D. These activities must be regularly performed and must comprise the registrant's regular calling or full-time profession. The mere fact of some secular employment on the part of a registrant requesting classification in Class 4-D does not in itself make him ineligible for that class

(d) The board should request the registrant to furnish any additional information that it believes will be of assistance in the consideration of the registrant's claim for classification in Class 4-D.

Law 4.  404.1023   Ministers of churches and members of religious orders.


NOTE:  This entire statue is regarding clergy, so relevant parts will not be marked in bold font.
(a) General. If you are a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church, the work you do in the exercise of your ministry is excluded from employment. However, it is treated as self-employment for social security purposes. If you are a member of a religious order who has not taken a vow of poverty, the same rule applies to the work you do in the exercise of your duties required by that order. If you are a member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty, the work you do in the exercise of duties required by the order (the work may be done for the order or for another employer) is covered as employment only if the order or autonomous subdivision of the order to which you belong has filed an effective election of coverage. The election is made under section 3121(r) of the Code. For the rules on self-employment coverage of ministers and members of religious orders who have not taken vows of poverty, see §404.1071.
(b) What is an ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister. The terms ordained, commissioned, or licenseddescribe the procedures followed by recognized churches or church denominations to vest ministerial status upon qualified individuals. If a church or church denomination has an ordination procedure, the commissioning or licensing of a person as a minister may not make him or her a commissioned or licensed minister for purposes of this subpart. Where there is an ordination procedure, the commissioning or licensing must be recognized as having the same effect as ordination and the person must be fully qualified to exercise all of the ecclesiastical duties of the church or church denomination.
(c) When is work by a minister in the exercise of the ministry. (1) A minister is working in the exercise of the ministry when he or she is—
(i) Ministering sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship (other than as described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section); or
(ii) Working in the control, conduct, and maintenance of a religious organization (including an integral agency of a religious organization) under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination.
(2) The following rules are used to decide whether a minister's work is in the exercise of the ministry:
(i) Whether the work is the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions depends on the tenets and practices of the religious body which is his or her church or church denomination.
(ii) Work in the control, conduct, and maintenance relates to directing, managing, or promoting the activities of the religious organization. Any religious organization is considered to be under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination if it is organized and dedicated to carrying out the tenets and principles of a faith according to either the requirements or sanctions governing the creation of institutions of the faith.
The term religious organization has the same meaning and application as is given to the term for income tax purposes under the Code.
(iii) If a minister is working in the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions, the work is in the exercise of the ministry whether or not it is performed for a religious organization. (See paragraph (d)(2) of this section for an exception to this rule.)
 (iv) If a minister is working for an organization which is operated as an integral agency of a religious organization under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination, all work by the minister in the conduct of religious worship, in the ministration of sacerdotal functions, or in the control, conduct, and maintenance of the organization is in the exercise of the ministry.
(v) If a minister, under an assignment or designation by a religious body constituting a church, works for an organization which is neither a religious organization nor operated as an integral agency of a religious organization, all service performed by him or her, even though the service may not involve the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions, is in the exercise of the ministry.
 (vi) If a minister is working for an organization which is neither a religious organization nor operated as an integral agency of a religious organization and the work is not performed under an assignment or designation by ecclesiastical superiors, then only the work done by the minister in the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions is in the exercise of the ministry. (See paragraph (d)(2) of this section for an exception to this rule.)
 (d) When is work by a minister not in the exercise of the ministry. (1) Work performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church which is not in the exercise of the ministry is not excluded from employment.
(2) Work performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church as an employee of the United States, or a State, territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, or a foreign government, or a political subdivision of any of these, is not in the exercise of the ministry, even though the work may involve the ministration of sacerdotal functions or the conduct of religious worship. For example, we consider service performed as a chaplain in the Armed Forces of the United States to be work performed by a commissioned officer and not by a ministerin the exercise of the ministry. Also, service performed by an employee of a State as a chaplain in a State prison is considered to be performed by a civil servant of the State and not by a minister in the exercise of the ministry.
(e) Work in the exercise of duties required by a religious order. Work performed by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties required by the order includes all duties required of the member of the order. The nature or extent of the work is immaterial so long as it is service which the member is directed or required to perform by the member's ecclesiastical superiors.

Law 5:  31.3121(b)(8)-1   Services performed by a minister of a church or a member of a religious order.


NOTE:  This entire statue is regarding clergy, so relevant parts will not be marked in bold font.
(a) In general. Services performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of his ministry, or by a member of a religious order in the exercise of his duties required by such order, are excluded from employment, except that services performed by a member of such an order in the exercise of such duties (whether performed for the order or for another employer) are included in employment if an election of coverage under section 3121(r) and §31.3121(r)-1 is in effect with respect to such order or with respect to the autonomous subdivision thereof to which such member belongs. For provisions relating to the election available to certain ministers and members of religious orders with respect to the extension of the Federal old-age, survivors, and disability insurance system established by title II of the Social Security Act to certain services performed by them, see Part 1 of this chapter (Income Tax Regulations).
(b) Service by a minister in the exercise of his ministry. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, service performed by a minister in the exercise of his ministry includes the ministration of sacerdotal functions and the conduct of religious worship, and the control, conduct, and maintenance of religious organizations (including the religious boards, societies, and other integral agencies of such organizations), under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination. The following rules are applicable in determining whether services performed by aminister are performed in the exercise of his ministry:
(1) Whether service performed by a minister constitutes the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions depends on the tenets and practices of the particular religious body constituting his church or church denomination.
(2) Service performed by a minister in the control, conduct, and maintenance of a religious organization relates to directing, managing, or promoting the activities of such organization. Any religious organization is deemed to be under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination if it is organized and dedicated to carrying out the tenets and principles of a faith in accordance with either the requirements or sanctions governing the creation of institutions of the faith. The term “religious organization” has the same meaning and application as is given to the term for income tax purposes.
(3) (i) If a minister is performing service in the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions, such service is in the exercise of his ministry whether or not it is performed for a religious organization.
(ii) The rule in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section may be illustrated by the following example:
Example. M, a duly ordained minister, is engaged to perform service as chaplain at N University. M devotes his entire time to performing his duties as chaplain which include the conduct of religious worship, offering spiritual counsel to the university students, and teaching a class in religion. M is performing service in the exercise of his ministry.
(4) (i) If a minister is performing service for an organization which is operated as an integral agency, of a religious organization under the authority of a religious body constituting a church or church denomination, all service performed by the minister in the conduct of religious worship, in the ministration of sacerdotal functions, or in the control conduct, and maintenance of such organization (see paragraph (b)(2) of this section) is in the exercise of his ministry.
(ii) The rule in paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section may be illustrated by the following example:
Example. M, a duly ordained minister, is engaged by the N Religious Board to serve as director of one of its departments. He performs no other service. The N Religious Board is an integral agency of O, a religious organization operating under the authority of a religious body constituting a church denomination. M is performing service in the exercise of his ministry.
(5) (i) If a minister, pursuant to an assignment or designation by a religious body constituting his church, performs service for an organization which is neither a religious organization nor operated as an integral agency of a religious organization, all service performed by him, even though such service may not involve the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions, is in the exercise of his ministry.
(ii) The rule in paragraph (b)(5)(i) of this section may be illustrated by the following example:
Example. M, a duly ordained minister, is assigned by X, the religious body constituting his church, to perform advisory service to Y Company in connection with the publication of a book dealing with the history of M's church denomination. Y is neither a religious organization nor operated as an integral agency of a religious organization. M performs no other service for X or Y. M is performing service in the exercise of his ministry.
(c) Service by a minister not in the exercise of his ministry. (1) Section 3121(b)(8)(A) does not except from employment service performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church which is not in the exercise of his ministry.
(2) (i) If a minister is performing service for an organization which is neither a religious organization nor operated as an integral agency of a religious organization and the service is not performed pursuant to an assignment or designation by his ecclesiastical superiors, then only the service performed by him in the conduct of religious worship or the ministration of sacerdotal functions is in the exercise of his ministry. See, however, paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
(ii) The rule in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section may be illustrated by the following example:
Example. M, a duly ordained minister, is engaged by N University to teach history and mathematics. He performs no other service for N although from time to time he performs marriages and conducts funerals for relatives and friends. N University is neither a religious organization nor operated as an integral agency of a religious organization. M is not performing the service for N pursuant to an assignment or designation by his ecclesiastical superiors. The service performed by M for N University is not in the exercise of his ministry. However, service performed by M in performing marriages and conducting funerals is in the exercise of his ministry.
(3) Service performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church as an employee of the United States, or a State, Territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, or a foreign government, or a political subdivision of any of the foregoing, is not considered to be in the exercise of his ministry for purposes of the taxes, even though such service may involve the ministration of sacerdotal function or the conduct of religious worship. Thus, for example, service performed by an individual as a chaplain in the Armed Forces of the United States is considered to be performed by a commissioned officer in his capacity as such, and not by a minister in the exercise of his ministry. Similarly, service performed by an employee of a State as a chaplain in a State prison is considered to be performed by a civil servant of the State and not by a minister in the exercise of his ministry.
(d) Service in the exercise of duties required by a religious order. Service performed by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties required by such order includes all duties required of the member by the order. The nature or extent of such service is immaterial so long as it is a service which he is directed or required to perform by his ecclesiastical superiors.
Law 6.  1645.5 Impartiality.
Boards may not give preferential treatment to one religion or sect over another and no preferential treatment will be given a duly ordained minister over a regular minister.

 

 

Law 7.  1.1402(e)(1)-1   Election by ministers, members of religious orders, and Christian Science practitioners for self-employment coverage.

(a) In general. Any individual who is (1) a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church or a member of a religious order (other than a member of a religious order who has taken a vow of poverty as a member of such order) or (2) a Christian Science practitioner may elect to have the Federal old-age, survivors, and disability insurance system established by title II of the Social Security Act extended to service performed by him in the exercise of his ministry or in the exercise of duties required by such order, or in the exercise of his profession as a Christian Science practitioner, as the case may be. Such an election shall be made by filing a certificate on Form 2031 in the manner provided in paragraph (b) of this section and within the time specified in §1.1402(e)(2)-1. If a minister or member to whom this section has application, or a Christian Science practitioner, makes an election by filing Form 2031 such individual shall, for each taxable year for which the election is effective (see §1.1402(e)(3)-1), be considered as carrying on a trade or business with respect to the performance of service in his capacity as a minister or member, or as a Christian Science practitioner, as the case may be.
(b) Waiver certificate. The certificate on Form 2031 shall be filed in triplicate with the district director of internal revenue for the internal revenue district in which is located the legal residence or principal place of business of the individual who executes the certificate. If such individual has no legal residence or principal place of business in any internal revenue district, the certificate shall be filed with the Director of International Operations, Internal Revenue Service, Washington, DC 20225, or at such other address as is designated in the instructions relating to the certificate. The certificate must be filed within the time prescribed in §1.1402(e)(2)-1. If an individual to whom paragraph (a) of this section has application submits to a district director of internal revenue a dated and signed statement indicating that he desires to have the Federal old-age, survivors, and disability insurance system established by title II of the Social Security Act extended to his services, such statement will be treated as a waiver certificate, if filed within the time specified in §1.1402(e)(2)-1, provided that without unnecessary delay such statement is supplemented by a properly executed Form 2031. An application for a social security account number filed on Form SS-5 or the filing of an income tax return showing an amount representing self-employment income or self-employment tax shall not be construed to constitute an election referred to in §1.1402(e)(1)-1.

Law 8.  1.1402(a)-11   Ministers and members of religious orders.


NOTE:  This entire statue is regarding clergy, so relevant parts will not be marked in bold font.
(a) In general. For each taxable year ending after 1954 in which a minister or member of a religious order is engaged in a trade or business, within the meaning of section 1402(c) and §1.1402(c)-5, with respect to service performed in the exercise of his ministry or in the exercise of duties required by such order, net earnings from self-employment from such trade or business include the gross income derived during the taxable year from any such service, less the deductions attributable to such gross income. For each taxable year ending on or after December 31, 1957, such minister or member of a religious order shall compute his net earnings from self-employment derived from the performance of such service without regard to the exclusions from gross income provided by section 107 (relating to rental value of parsonages) and section 119 (relating to meals and lodging furnished for the convenience of the employer). Thus, a minister who is subject to self-employment tax with respect to his services as a minister will include in the computation of his net earnings from self-employment for a taxable year ending on or after December 31, 1957, the rental value of a home furnished to him as remuneration for services performed in the exercise of his ministry or the rental allowance paid to him as remuneration for such services irrespective of whether such rental value or rental allowance is excluded from gross income by section 107. Similarly, the value of any meals or lodging furnished to a minister or to a member of a religious order in connection with service performed in the exercise of his ministry or as a member of such order will be included in the computation of his net earnings from self-employment for a taxable year ending on or after December 31, 1957, notwithstanding the exclusion of such value from gross income by section 119.
(b) In employ of American employer. If a minister or member of a religious order engaged in a trade or business described in section 1402(c) and §1.1402(c)-5 is a citizen of the United States and performs service, in his capacity as aminister or member of a religious order, as an employee of an American employer, as defined in section 3121(h) and the regulations thereunder in part 31 of this chapter (Employment Tax Regulations), his net earnings from self-employment derived from such service shall be computed as provided in paragraph (a) of this section but without regard to the exclusions from gross income provided in section 911, relating to earned income from sources without the United States, and section 931, relating to income from sources within certain possessions of the United States. Thus, even though all the income of the minister or member for service of the character to which this paragraph is applicable was derived from sources without the United States, or from sources within certain possessions of the United States, and therefore may be excluded from gross income, such income is included in computing net earnings from self-employment.
(c) Minister in a foreign country whose congregation is composed predominantly of citizens of the United States—(1)Taxable years ending after 1956. For any taxable year ending after 1956, a minister of a church, who is engaged in a trade or business within the meaning of section 1402(c) and §1.1402(c)-5, is a citizen of the United States, is performing service in the exercise of his ministry in a foreign country, and has a congregation composed predominantly of United States citizens, shall compute his net earnings from self-employment derived from his services as a minister for such taxable year without regard to the exclusion from gross income provided in section 911, relating to earned income from sources without the United States. For taxable years ending on or after December 31, 1957, such minister shall also disregard sections 107 and 119 in the computation of his net earnings from self-employment. (See paragraph (a) of this section.) For purposes of section 1402(a)(8) and this paragraph a “congregation composed predominantly of citizens of the United States” means a congregation the majority of which throughout the greater portion of its minister's taxable year were United States citizens.
(2) Election for taxable years ending after 1954 and before 1957. (i) A minister described in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph who, for a taxable year ending after 1954 and before 1957, had income from service described in such subparagraph which would have been included in computing net earnings from self-employment if such income had been derived in a taxable year ending after 1956 by an individual who had filed a waiver certificate under section 1402(e), may elect to have section 1402(a)(8) and subparagraph (1) of this paragraph apply to his income from such service for his taxable years ending after 1954 and before 1957. If such minister filed a waiver certificate prior to August 1, 1956, in accordance with §1.1402(e)(1)-1, or he files such a waiver certificate on or before the due date of his return (including any extensions thereof) for his last taxable year ending before 1957, he must make such election on or before the due date of his return (including any extensions thereof) for such taxable year or before April 16, 1957, whichever is the later. If the waiver certificate is not so filed, the minister must make his election on or before the due date of the return (including any extensions thereof) for his first taxable year ending after 1956. Notwithstanding the expiration of the period prescribed by section 1402(e)(2) for filing such waiver, the minister may file a waiver certificate at the time he makes the election. In no event shall an election be valid unless the minister files prior to or at the time of the election a waiver certificate in accordance with §1.1402(e)(1)-1.
(ii) The election shall be made by filing with the district director of internal revenue with whom the waiver certificate, Form 2031, is filed a written statement indicating that, by reason of the Social Security Amendments of 1956, theminister desires to have the Federal old-age, survivors, and disability insurance system established by title II of the Social Security Act extended to his services performed in a foreign country as a minister of a congregation composed predominantly of United States citizens beginning with the first taxable year ending after 1954 and prior to 1957 for which he had income from such services. The statement shall be dated and signed by the minister and shall clearly state that it is an election for retroactive self-employment tax coverage under the Self-Employment Contributions Act of 1954. In addition, the statement shall include the following information:
(a) The name and address of the minister.
(b) His social security account number, if he has one.
(c) That he is a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church.
(d) That he is a citizen of the United States.
(e) That he is performing services in the exercise of his ministry in a foreign country.
(f) That his congregation is composed predominantly of citizens of the United States.
(g)(1) That he has filed a waiver certificate and, if so, where and under what circumstances the certificate was filed and the taxable year for which it is effective; or (2) that he is filing a waiver certificate with his election for retroactive coverage and, if so, the taxable year for which it is effective.
(h) That he has or has not filed income tax returns for his taxable years ending after 1954 and before 1957. If he has filed such returns, he shall state the years for which they were filed and indicate the district director of internal revenue with whom they were filed.
(iii) Notwithstanding section 1402(e)(3), a waiver certificate filed pursuant to §1.1402(e)(1)-1 by a minister making an election under this paragraph shall be effective (regardless of when such certificate is filed) for such minister's first taxable year ending after 1954 in which he had income from service described in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph or for the taxable year of the minister prescribed by section 1402(e)(3), if such taxable year is earlier, and for all succeeding taxable years.
(iv) No interest or penalty shall be assessed or collected for failure to file a return within the time prescribed by law if such failure arises solely by reason of an election made by a minister pursuant to this paragraph or for any underpayment of self-employment income tax arising solely by reason of such election, for the period ending with the date such ministermakes an election pursuant to this paragraph.
(d) Treatment of certain remuneration paid in 1955 and 1956 as wages. For treatment of remuneration paid to an individual for service described in section 3121(b)(8)(A) which was erroneously treated by the organization employing him as employment with-in the meaning of chapter 21 of the Internal Revenue Code, see §1.1402(e)(4)-1.
Law 9.  164.510   Uses and disclosures requiring an opportunity for the individual to agree or to object.
A covered entity may use or disclose protected health information, provided that the individual is informed in advance of the use or disclosure and has the opportunity to agree to or prohibit or restrict the use or disclosure, in accordance with the applicable requirements of this section. The covered entity may orally inform the individual of and obtain the individual's oral agreement or objection to a use or disclosure permitted by this section.
(a) Standard: Use and disclosure for facility directories—(1) Permitted uses and disclosure. Except when an objection is expressed in accordance with paragraphs (a)(2) or (3) of this section, a covered health care provider may:
(i) Use the following protected health information to maintain a directory of individuals in its facility:
(A) The individual's name;
(B) The individual's location in the covered health care provider's facility;
(C) The individual's condition described in general terms that does not communicate specific medical information about the individual; and
(D) The individual's religious affiliation; and
(ii) Use or disclose for directory purposes such information:
(A) To members of the clergy; or
(B) Except for religious affiliation, to other persons who ask for the individual by name.
(2) Opportunity to object. A covered health care provider must inform an individual of the protected health information that it may include in a directory and the persons to whom it may disclose such information (including disclosures to clergy of information regarding religious affiliation) and provide the individual with the opportunity to restrict or prohibit some or all of the uses or disclosures permitted by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
(3) Emergency circumstances. (i) If the opportunity to object to uses or disclosures required by paragraph (a)(2) of this section cannot practicably be provided because of the individual's incapacity or an emergency treatment circumstance, a covered health care provider may use or disclose some or all of the protected health information permitted by paragraph (a)(1) of this section for the facility's directory, if such disclosure is:
(A) Consistent with a prior expressed preference of the individual, if any, that is known to the covered health care provider; and
(B) In the individual's best interest as determined by the covered health care provider, in the exercise of professional judgment.
(ii) The covered health care provider must inform the individual and provide an opportunity to object to uses or disclosures for directory purposes as required by paragraph (a)(2) of this section when it becomes practicable to do so.
(b) Standard: Uses and disclosures for involvement in the individual's care and notification purposes—(1) Permitted uses and disclosures. (i) A covered entity may, in accordance with paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), or (b)(5) of this section, disclose to a family member, other relative, or a close personal friend of the individual, or any other person identified by the individual, the protected health information directly relevant to such person's involvement with the individual's health care or payment related to the individual's health care.
(ii) A covered entity may use or disclose protected health information to notify, or assist in the notification of (including identifying or locating), a family member, a personal representative of the individual, or another person responsible for the care of the individual of the individual's location, general condition, or death. Any such use or disclosure of protected health information for such notification purposes must be in accordance with paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), (b)(4), or (b)(5) of this section, as applicable.
(2) Uses and disclosures with the individual present. If the individual is present for, or otherwise available prior to, a use or disclosure permitted by paragraph (b)(1) of this section and has the capacity to make health care decisions, the covered entity may use or disclose the protected health information if it:
(i) Obtains the individual's agreement;
(ii) Provides the individual with the opportunity to object to the disclosure, and the individual does not express an objection; or
(iii) Reasonably infers from the circumstances, based on the exercise of professional judgment, that the individual does not object to the disclosure.
(3) Limited uses and disclosures when the individual is not present. If the individual is not present, or the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure cannot practicably be provided because of the individual's incapacity or an emergency circumstance, the covered entity may, in the exercise of professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in the best interests of the individual and, if so, disclose only the protected health information that is directly relevant to the person's involvement with the individual's care or payment related to the individual's health care or needed for notification purposes. A covered entity may use professional judgment and its experience with common practice to make reasonable inferences of the individual's best interest in allowing a person to act on behalf of the individual to pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, X-rays, or other similar forms of protected health information.
(4) Uses and disclosures for disaster relief purposes. A covered entity may use or disclose protected health information to a public or private entity authorized by law or by its charter to assist in disaster relief efforts, for the purpose of coordinating with such entities the uses or disclosures permitted by paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. The requirements in paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), or (b)(5) of this section apply to such uses and disclosures to the extent that the covered entity, in the exercise of professional judgment, determines that the requirements do not interfere with the ability to respond to the emergency circumstances.
(5) Uses and disclosures when the individual is deceased. If the individual is deceased, a covered entity may disclose to a family member, or other persons identified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section who were involved in the individual's care or payment for health care prior to the individual's death, protected health information of the individual that is relevant to such person's involvement, unless doing so is inconsistent with any prior expressed preference of the individual that is known to the covered entity.

5.  Pagan Response
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 perform certain functions or receive similar rights as those from other religions?

From everything that I have read thus far, the laws on a national, state, and local area are all generic and do not in any way seem to separate the rules of clergy based upon the particular religion they are representing.  I tried to locate any discriminating laws, but the closest I found was a reference to an ordinance in Scottsbluff, Nebraska (which is on the opposite end of the state) which prohibited “clairvoyance, fortune telling, and divination” (World-Herald News Service).  The city was asked to repeal the law though, so it no longer appears to exist and the ordinance had never lead to any charges being filed.  Clergy are also able to assist with marriages and funerals regardless of their religious organization, and the laws that I previously included here (38-2121) appear to also allow clergy to provide counseling, as long as they do not represent themselves as professionals. There are no specific laws that make any statements about Neo-Pagan clergy, or any other specific religious clergy.  It was a pleasant surprise to see that the laws do not discriminate against Paganism, which makes it much easier to be an active Pagan clergy person. 

6.  Unjust Laws
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 am quite pleased in reviewing the many different clergy laws that I found simply because none of them do appear to be unjust. Living in Nebraska, there is often still a lot of prejudice between groups of people, so to know that there are no legal issues for Pagan clergy at this time makes me very happy.  I do not see any changes that are necessary to these laws at this time, but if I did it would require contact with the legislature and representatives to make that possible.

7.  Affect on Grove, ADF, and Community
How do you see these laws affecting how you serve your Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole?

I see the laws having a positive impact on my Protogove and the community as a whole. The laws provide equal treatment for Christian and Pagan clergy alike, which would allow for a positive community to be established.  These laws would allow for Pagans to have clergy they are comfortable with performing rites for them, from marriage to funerals.  These types of positive changes can definitely lead to growth, development, and a positive experience for the Pagan community.  It also allows for Paganism to be viewed as a “legitimate” religion when often that is not the case in Nebraska. 

8.  Pastoral Counseling
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?

Pastoral counseling is defined as “psychotherapy that uses spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth” (The Counseling Center).  This combination of spirituality and psychology can often be beneficial to people struggling with everything from depression to marital issues.  Traditional counseling is defined as “professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods” (Merriam-Webster).  Nebraska does not require pastoral counselors to be licensed, as long as they do not represent themselves as a professional counselor.  This law is listed in its entirety above (38-2121).  Divination is not explicitly stated in any Nebraska laws, and is freely practiced by many local people without licenses at this time, so I do not believe that divination is categorized as counseling here.





9.  Reporting Laws
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.

Nebraska’s mandatory reporting laws currently state “any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report” (National Conference of State Legislatures).  This statement would include clergy and require that they report any suspected child abuse or neglect.  This makes clergy (and all people) responsible for reporting any abuse they suspect of a child, which is always a very difficult decision to make for people. 
However, Law 28-372 listed above states “When any physician, psychologist, physician assistant, nurse, nursing assistant, other medical, developmental disability, or mental health professional, law enforcement personnel, caregiver or employee of a caregiver, operator or employee of a sheltered workshop, owner, operator, or employee of any facility licensed by the department, or human services professional or paraprofessional not including a member of the clergy has reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or exploitation or observes such adult being subjected to conditions or circumstances which reasonably would result in abuse, neglect, or exploitation, he or she shall report the incident”.  This means that clergy in Nebraska do not have the same responsibility to report on suspected abuse or neglect for adults. I personally find this difference to be very intriguing and I’m curious as to what the reasoning is for this difference. The reporting process in the state of Nebraska is also detailed in 28-372 as follows: “Such report may be made by telephone, with the caller giving his or her name and address, and, if requested by the department, shall be followed by a written report within forty-eight hours. To the extent available the report shall contain: (a) The name, address, and age of the vulnerable adult; (b) the address of the caregiver or caregivers of the vulnerable adult; (c) the nature and extent of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation or the conditions and circumstances which would reasonably be expected to result in such abuse, neglect, or exploitation; (d) any evidence of previous abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation; and (e) any other information which in the opinion of the person making the report may be helpful in establishing the cause of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation and the identity of the perpetrator or perpetrators.”

Works Cited

National Conference of State Legislatures. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting State Statute Overview. May 2014 <http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/child-abuse-and-neglect-reporting-statutes.aspx>.

Nebraska Legislature. Laws. May 2014 <http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/laws.php>.

The Counseling Center. A Definition of Pastoral Counseling. May 2014 <http://www.counselingcenter.org/home/cou/page_117/a_definition_of_pastoral_counseling.html>.

US Government Printing Office. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. May 2014 <http://www.ecfr.gov/>.

World-Herald News Service. "Fortuntelling Law Challenged." Omaha World Herald 29 April 2010.

"Counseling." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 6 May 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counseling>.


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