Virginia Attorney General Intervenes for Breakaway Anglicans in Property Battle

“The court should not compel persons to give money to a religious institution. Clearly, the overwhelming number of donations to these parishes since 2003 were specifically restricted by donors not to go to either The Episcopal Church or the Diocese of Virginia.”

A month after a Virginia judge ruled against seven congregations leaving The Episcopal Church, the Virginia attorney general filed a brief on behalf of the departing Anglicans citing religious freedom.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s brief, filed on Wednesday with the Fairfax County Circuit Court, argued that the departing congregations should be allowed to keep their personal property and donations they made to the churches they inhabited.

Faith McDonnell, a member of Church of the Apostles, which is one of the seven churches involved in the property controversy, told The Christian Post that she agreed with the attorney general.

“Cuccinelli is very right when he says that this is a religious freedom issue,” said McDonnell.

“There is a violation of religious freedom in taking the funds and/or other property given to the churches by members and other friends that intended them to go to that particular body of believers.”

Last month, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled in favor of the Diocese of Virginia regarding who owned the property of seven Episcopal churches that had decided to break away from TEC over theological differences.

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