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ICJ No. 6

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May 02 1968
In Re: The appeal of the Uniting Conference for a ruling on the constitutionality of its action in adopting Report No. 17 of the Committee on Christian Social Concerns.

Digest of Case

The action of the Uniting Conference in adopting Report No. 17 of the Committee on Christian Social Concerns is not unconstitutional.

Statement of Facts

The Secretary of the Uniting Conference certified to the Interim Judicial Council that the Uniting Conference had appealed to the Council for an opinion on the constitutionality of one of its acts in the following communication: "This is to certify that at the morning session, May 3, 1968, the Uniting Conference of The United Methodist Church requested the Interim Judicial Council to determine the constitutionality of the action adopting Calendar No. 263 (D.C.A. p. 460) in regard to Article XXV of the Constitution." The Calendar No. 263 is Report No. 17 of the Committee on Christian Social Concerns which authorizes the printing in the Discipline of 1968 a statement entitled "The Rule of Law and the Right of Dissent." JURISDICTION Jurisdiction is based upon the creation of the Interim Judicial Council and the grant of authority given to it by the Uniting Conference (D.C.A. 190-192). ANALYSIS The question to be answered is whether or not the action of the Uniting Conference referred to above is constitutional. The motion referring this matter to the Interim Judicial Council requests a determination of the constitutionality of the action of the Uniting Conference in adopting it "in regard to Article XXV of the Constitution." The Article referred to is Article XXV of the Articles of Religion. An examination of this Article, entitled "Of a Christian Man's Oath," indicates that it is not relevant to the content of the report adopted by the Uniting Conference entitled "The Rule of Law and the Right of Dissent." We therefore assume that the reference is to the paragraph following the Articles of Religion, but not one of them, entitled, "Of the Duty of Christians to the Civil Authority." The note preceding this paragraph states: "This statement seeks to interpret to our churches in foreign lands Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. It is a legislative enactment but is not part of the Constitution. (See Judicial Council Decisions No. 41, 176.)" We find no provision of the Constitution violated by the action.

Decision

It is the decision of the Interim Judicial Council that Report No. 17 of the Committee on Christian Social Concerns, entitled "The Rule of Law and the Right of Dissent" as adopted by the Uniting Conference is not unconstitutional. MURRAY H. LEIFFER Vice President, Interim Judicial Council J. RUSSELL THROCKMORTON Secretary, Interim Judicial Council (Paul R. Ervin, Leon E. Hickman and Samuel W. Witwer were absent.)

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