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Can I be legally restricted from attending church...?
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Can I be legally restricted from attending church...?

if I haven't committed an actual crime? Here's my situation: I had a 2 minute conversation with someone and what I said to them made them upset. It had nothing to do with physical violence or anything; it was absolutely nothing illegal or threatening. But it did make them feel uncomfortable. This person, a female, then conversed with the pastor about the conversation I had with her, and the pastor then contacted me. He told me what I did made this woman upset and uncomfortable. He wanted me to feel apologetic about what I did, but he didn't feel I agreed that it was wrong. However, I DID firmly promise not to say another word on the subject to anyone in the church body, on church grounds or elsewhere, understanding that what I said caused her, and perhaps anyone else who learned about what happened, to feel uneasy. In essence, I made a very firm promise not to do anything remotely similar to what I did, which was have a 2 minute conversation about someone, presenting them information that was not illegal or threatening in any way. I committed absolutely no crime.
During the meeting I had with the pastor, he was upset by my lack of remorse. I felt that what I did was not wrong, though it made a woman mad. And even though I understood and took into account that it made her and my pastor angry and promised not to say anything to this woman again or anyone else in the church, he told me I was not allowed on church grounds until given permission.
So, this situation is obviously open to some interpretation. I understand that if I pursue this subject with this woman, it would be considered harassment and grounds for legal action. But I certainly have committed no crime, and have firmly stated that I will never again speak to or harass this person. My pastor just happens to feel that I'm a threat to his congregation.
Does he have legal grounds to prohibit me from attending church? I am not familiar with law in this area, and I'm not sure who would be legally favored in this situation.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!!


2010-08-26 18:30:39 +0000
No. You cannot, unless you did something that can get you arrested.The church is a non-profit organization that is open to the public. If a church becomes a private organization, then it loses it's tax exempt status. Just because one fool doesn't like what you say, does not give the preacher the right to exclude you. Maybe you should ask the preacher to leave the church.

2010-08-26 17:46:00 +0000
Church grounds are private property, belonging to the church. They can prohibit you from coming on the property. They can have you arrested for trespassing if you do go onto church property.

You don't have to have committed a crime to be excluded from private property. For example, you can't legally enter my house either.

2010-08-26 17:45:53 +0000
He can't prohibit you from going to church but he can prohibit you from going to HIS church. You are free to find another one and attend.

2010-08-26 17:48:14 +0000
You can be barred from church to the same extent that you can bar the pastor from your home. A church is not required by law to be open to all of the world. In fact, the first amendment (in the u.s.) would preclude such a law. Hence, many churches (inlcuding the Mormons) limit attendance to those who are members in good standing. Whether one is in good standing is a church rule, not a rule of law.

2010-08-26 18:01:50 +0000
First of all see a psychologist because there are things in life people don't just blurt out even if they are true, and your having no remorse seems to be the problem here and it's affecting your life and when things affect your life you need to change, and a psychologist will help you change. If you don't change, (and it's not a matter of just not talking to a certain person) then YOU become the problem. There are things you say and do in society (called norms, morals, ethics, etiquette) that you need to have clear and firm control over and seems like you don't know your limits and you need to learn those.

Although the land where a building is considered public, something like a church which includes it's rules, laws, ethics and congregation is off limits to the law and they are governed by their own higher authorities of that particular church. So if your question is "can they ban me from services" or "ban me from entering" then the answer is yes. Making yourself a pest and not listening to them though can cause grief on your part because it could then turn into a public matter and trespassing.

I suggest you see that psychologist and understand throughly the situation you have created and why it should not occur.

2010-08-26 17:45:02 +0000
The church grounds are private property (owned by the church) and as a representative of the church he can bar you from the grounds if he feels he has reason.

2010-08-26 18:05:25 +0000
The Church is private property, just as you can tell the Pastor he can't come to your house you they can tell you that you may no longer attend THAT CHURCH. Yes they have legal rights to do that. You can go find another Church, you aren't restricted from attending Church in general.

2010-08-26 18:08:55 +0000
a pastor that doesn't want you there anymore, sounds like u don't need to go there anyways if he wasn't willing to give you a second chance and forgive you and try to continue to help you. try somewhere else

2010-08-28 08:56:33 +0000
I agree with the other answer that suggests you may want to check in with a therapist. This sounds like you are having trouble letting go of a situation beyond its importance.

You do not have a legal right to be present on private property (which is what all churches are). If you have been told not to come back, you can be arrested for trespassing and harassment.

Break Free Ministries
I'm not sure about the original question definitively. I am struggling through a similar situation. what I do know is a church is not private in the sence that a home is private so that analagy won't hold water. I don't have an open invitation to visitors to come visit my home as churches do. Yet they are not publick in the sense that a park is public. As I said, I am not sure but I believe you can be restricted with cause. When I find drfinitive answers, I will re blog. There is one thing I know for sure. You did not give enough information for someone to recomend you see a shrink. Looks like someone else has their own axe to grind.

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